The Great American Read: Author Lesley Kagen shares her picks

As we read, debate and vote on the books of The Great American Read, we’ve had the delightful opportunity to discuss the top picks of several Wisconsin writers.

Lesley Kagen

This week, we meet Lesley Kagen, a multitalented Milwaukee native who began her writing career after many years in several other fields. And we do mean several, as you’ll find out below.

As with Patrick Rothfuss – and, we suspect, many of you! – Kagen had a very hard time choosing one book over another.

“It’s very, very tough to pick just a few of these books, as so many have impacted my life,” she says. “But I gave it a shot!”

Keep reading to learn more about Kagen and her warm, curious stories.

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Week 4 Desserts Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Last week showed off pastry prowess – and flavors that went flop. This week’s episode went from wobbly to wondrous, as bakers were asked to rise to the occasion in the Desserts challenge and tackle Torte Cake, Crème Caramel and a Four-Layer Meringue Dessert.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show,  The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three dessert challenges.

Before we get started: If you have not watched this episode yet, SPOILER ALERT!

And don’t forget to read to the bottom to find out who our six featured Wisconsin bakers are!

All Season 5 contestants pose in front of the tent

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Escape. Create. Celebrate! Quilt Expo Registration Now Open

Tickets are now on sale for the ultimate quilting adventure! Join us Sept. 6-8 in Madison for the 14th-annual Quilt Expo, presented by Wisconsin Public Television with Nancy Zieman Productions.

Quilt Expo is designed to capture and revitalize the creative quilting spirit. The expo features a 10-category quilt contest, vendor mall, stage presentations, informal lectures, sit & sew and hands-on workshops, nationally known celebrity presenters and raffle prizes.

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Week 3 Tarts Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

The Queen of Hearts indeed made some tarts, but our Wisconsin bakers staged a veritable overthrow of her crown as they whisked along with this week’s Great British Baking Show: TARTS! Devoted entirely to topless (gasp) pastry, Paul and Mary’s tent tormented contestants with a Classic French Tarte Tatin, Mary Berry’s (Very Own) British Treacle Tart and a Designer Fruit Tart worthy of a Parisian patisserie window — speaking of overthrows, step aside, Napoleon.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three tart challenges. It was a holiday week in Wisconsin and the nation as we celebrated Independence Day, but our bakers still delivered: through road travel, motor boating and oodles of Aunt Nanette’s noodle salad. Thanks for the fruity fireworks, friends!

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Week 2 Bread Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Last week was all about sweet, sweet cake! But this week’s episode got a little more savory as bakers were asked to rise to the occasion in the bread challenge and tackle Flatbread, an Eight-Strand Plaited Loaf AND 24 Bagels.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show,  The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three bread challenges. This week was a scorcher in Wisconsin, so we’d like to take a minute to recognize our hearty bakers’ determination. Thanks for turning your ovens on, despite the heat!

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Director’s Cut: Jim Theres, “The Hello Girls”

This week on Director’s Cut, it’s our pleasure to welcome the final guest of our 11th season: director Jim Theres, discussing his documentary The Hello Girls.

In a year which has seen some of the best guests and films we’ve ever had on our show, Theres is under serious pressure! But he rises to the challenge, bringing his A game in both his interview and his film.

They were known as the “Hello Girls” – American women fluent in French and English who answered the urgent call for telephone operators needed in France during World War I.

They took oaths to join the U.S. Army Signal Corps, underwent training by AT&T before boarding ships to Europe, heading to war before most of the American doughboys arrived in France, connected 26 million calls and ultimately proved to be a significant factor in winning the war.

And then they were forgotten.

Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with filmmaker Jim Theres.

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The Great American Read: Author Patrick Rothfuss weighs in

Patrick Rothfuss has a long beard and a bemused smile.
Photo: Kyle Cassidy

As we read, debate and vote on the books of The Great American Read, bestselling author – and Wisconsin native – Patrick Rothfuss shares some of his top picks with Airwaves readers.

It wasn’t easy to choose.

“I’m dappled by the impact of a thousand books,” he says. “So many of them struck me so deeply, singling out one feels like I’d be missing the point, which is the cumulative effect they’ve all had on me.”

Keep reading to learn more about Rothfuss and how his love of reading goes well beyond the books he writes.
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Week 1 Cakes Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Season 5 of The Great British Baking Show kicked off with CAKES! In the premiere episode, the 12 new contestants were challenged to bake three delicious creations: Upside Down Cake, Rum Babas and Hidden Design Cake.

For the second year in a row, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge kicked off, too! In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, we asked our Wisconsin bakers to select just one of the three cake types to tackle in our kick-off challenge. More than 90 bakers from across Wisconsin – and one from Brooklyn, NY – took this week’s challenge! Let’s recap the episode and see how our local bakers did.

If you have not watched this episode yet, SPOILER ALERT!

And don’t forget to read to the bottom to find out who our six featured Wisconsin bakers are!

Continue reading Week 1 Cakes Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

What We Watch: Dominique Johnson, Audience Services Specialist

Dominique (Dom) Johnson is an audience services specialist at WPT. One of Dom’s daily tasks includes answering audience questions about Wisconsin Public Broadcasting’s content. One of his favorite things about his job is “hearing about all of the positive effects that our programming has on the lives of our viewers and listeners across the state.” We caught up with Dom to learn more about his top public television picks.

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Director’s Cut: Chasing Bubbles

It’s three guests for the price of one on this week’s Director’s Cut. I really enjoy having multiple guests on the couch at the same time, and this week, viewers get a taste of filmmaking from three different perspectives. The film is called Chasing Bubbles and its director is Topher Cochrane. “Bubbles” is a documentary about a day trader from Chicago who gave up the yuppie lifestyle to buy a sailboat and travel the world.

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