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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
October 21, 2019
Listen to This Week's Show

Taking Risks at the Olympics and the Red Carpet

I’ve recently been preparing for a conversation with figure skater Adam Rippon about his new memoir “Beautiful On The Outside” for the Wisconsin Book Festival. I am so inspired by Adam’s journey to the Olympics and the major ups and downs of his career. At one point, he was on top of the world. He became the first skater to ever win two consecutive World Junior championships. He had his eyes on the 2014 Olympics but failed to qualify after a disastrous performance at nationals. At the old (in skating years) age of 24, it seemed that he missed his chance of ever achieving his Olympic dreams. Adam never gave up and I think we know how the story ends. If you don’t, I highly recommend his book. If you do, I still highly recommend it.

One thing that surprised me about Adam is that his initial inspiration to ice skate was from a Christmas cookie tin. He loved this picture of a woman ice skating with a long coat and furry muff. He built an image in his head of becoming this skating muff woman, but reality hit him and he ended up falling on the ice and hated every minute of it. I’m so interested in the way Adam constructs an identity for himself through the clothes and costumes he wears. We delve into this subject in this week’s repeated show, "If Your Clothes Could Talk." Before coming out in 2015, Adam would dress in baggier and unassuming clothes and overcompensate for his sexuality by dressing like a skater (just like I did). But after coming out, his style felt more free and more authentically himself. For his free skate performance at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, he wore a sheer blue shirt covered in streams of blue crystals. It looked like he was a blue jay in flight, finally free.

The other memorable style moment from Adam Rippon that I can’t stop thinking about is the Moschino leather harness tuxedo he wore to the Oscars. Some people loved it, some people hated it, but what mattered is that people were talking about it. It was a big fashion risk that, in my opinion, paid off. I think we all should take risks when it comes to our style every once and awhile. Then again, not all of us can pull off a harness tuxedo like Adam Rippon.


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Finding Yourself By Finding Your Style

The many Angelo styles
Choosing what to put on your body is more than just taking something off a hanger and praying it fits. When you get dressed in the morning, you’re constructing an identity. That’s complicated, as producer Angelo Bautista discovered.
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An Interview With Susan Orlean At The National Writers Series

Anne Strainchamps and Susan Orlean at the National Writers Series
Anne recently interviewed author Susan Orlean on stage at the National Writers Series in Traverse City, Michigan.
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Preserving J. Dilla's Legacy With A Beat

Ma Dukes and J Dilla
James Dewitt Yancey – also known as J Dilla — was a hip hop super-producer and pioneering beat-maker. J Dilla died at just 32 years old, and worked right up until the end, making music and creating beats from his hospital bed. His mother was there for every bit of it.
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When Should An Author Call It Quits?

British writer Martin Amis is 68 years old. He’s written 14 novels, hundreds of essays, memoirs, even a screen play. But he has strong feelings about writers who work past their prime. So he feels the clock ticking — is it time to pack it in? When will he know?
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The People Power Of Happiness

Social scientists are finding that generating happiness in your life may have less to do with an arbitrary number — like your bank account or how many Instagram followers you have — and more to do with how well you connect with the people around you.
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