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Ann "Brown Sugar" Wolfe is an 8-time
champion boxer who now owns her own gym. When Ann was young, her mother died of
uterine cancer and then, just 11 months later, her father was killed in
a drug deal gone bad. Without parental guidance, Ann went down the path
of drugs and ended up in prison herself. Her brother later was killed
by a police officer during a burglary. And, for a period, Ann was
homeless with her 2 daughters. It was when Ann discovered boxing that
she was finally able to turn her life around.
||Jorge Antonio Renaud
Antonio grew up in a poor family of migrant workers who
followed the crops all over Texas. As a teenager he got into drugs and
then turned to burglaries and robberies. By age 20 he was in prison.
Through 3 different sentences, he spent a total of 26 years
incarcerated. While inside he discovered poetry as a way to express
himself, and also wrote a guide for families with inmates.
Khotan is the host of Idea Lounge on KOOP 91.7 FM, an
interview show dedicated to exploring "ideas, beliefs, strategies,
skills, and resources that help shape a fulfilled life." Khotan was
born in Iran but fled at the age of 13. Shortly after she left, her
father was executed, her mother was imprisoned and their home was razed
to the ground. Khotan is also the winner of the prestigious Gracie Award for
her interview with Dr.
Ebadi, an Iranian Muslim woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize.
is the founder of DiscoverHope Fund, a non-profit
organization providing microloans to poor women in Peru, which help
these women start and grow businesses. The women have an almost 100%
payback rate, and thanks to the loans, the lives of their families and
communities are dramatically improved.
In 2003, Carolyn's 15-year-old
Ortralla, was shot and killed by her boyfriend in the hallway of Reagan
High School in Austin. Carolyn herself had experienced domestic abuse
and had tried to warn her daughter of the signs, to no avail. Carolyn
now runs the Ortralla LuWone Mosley Foundation, dedicated to
preventing teen violence and helping teens choose healthy
A scientist and engineer who worked in the
field of high explosives, Hurst is best known for his investigation of
the Cameron Todd Willingham death penalty case. He was the first
investigator to dispute that Willingham had burned down his home and
killed his three daughters, and others have since called it into doubt
as well. Willingham was executed but Hurst's testimony has saved a
number of other death row inmates.
When Nicole when 28
pregnant, she discovered she had a cancerous mass in her neck, which
was immediately removed. Further testing showed Stage 4 lung cancer,
despite not being a smoker, and further spreading to her brain and
lymph nodes. Her son Schoen, delivered by C-section at just 32 weeks in
July, is healthy. Nicole began chemotherapy immediately after his birth
and also had the brain tumor removed. Mama and baby are both doing
||Nerd Nite Austin
Some Inner Views topics are intense and emotional. This is not one of
those. If you are extremely passionate on a niche or
non-mainstream topic and want to share it with others, then Austin's Nerd Nite is
for you. Nerd Nite's Nerd Bosses Dan Rumney, JC Dwyer and Lewis
Weil joined me in the studio to talk about all things nerd,
including a lengthy discussion about exactly what (or who) a nerd
first-ever guest on Inner Views, so, to celebrate Inner Views' 5th
anniversary (this month), he came on the show again. Why
my husband Tom Mahnke, you ask? Besides being a born storyteller, he
has quite an extraordinary story to share: At age 19, Tom was attacked
by a serial killer.
Rachel's 2-year-old daughter Malia has a rare brain
disorder called lissencephaly that developed in utero and means that
her cerebral cortex is unusually thick and lacks folds, leading to
multiple neurological impairments. Rachel
is putting on a benefit in Austin on Saturday, October 16 to raise
funds for treatment and research. Jimmy LaFave, Susanna Choffel and
other musicians will be performing.
Bistro is an old-world restaurant in Pflugerville, TX serving
German, Czech, Russian, Hungarian and French food, lovingly and
painstakingly prepared by sisters Anni Zovek and Piroska Althauser.
While the restaurant won "Best Schnitzel" in this year's Austin Chronicle Restaurant Poll, Anna's story of
how she came to the United States from Hungary is the real "wow." Tune
in to Inner Views to hear their stories of the fascist takeover during
WWII, forced relocation in the middle of the night, political
imprisonment and, ultimately, escape.
is a private investigator with her own firm, She Spies Private Eye,
Inc. She specializes in child custody and infidelity cases. She
also handles criminal investigations, missing persons and background
investigations. What sets her and her team apart is their creative
approach to getting the information they need . . . always within the
law, of course. She shared some amazing stories using
unconventional investigative approaches.
||Arthur Mills, Jr.
Empty Lot Next Door is the true story of a
haunting that Art Mills experienced as a child while living in South
Austin. There was a vacant lot with a big hole next door to his
family's home. When he jumps in one day, nothing happens. But
thereafter, a ghost he named Candle Face visits him while he's awake
and in his dreams at night. Don't believe in ghosts? You may want to
listen before you decide for sure . . .
In 2005, Rob Hodges and his then-girlfriend (now wife) Kate were in
Guatemala, on a chicken bus heading to a lake town for a few days of
relaxation. When the bus pulled off the main highway and began
navigating winding hairpin-turn roads, they knew something was wrong.
It turns out they were in the middle of an insurgency over sacred Mayan
land. Rob is a freelance travel writer; more details about this story
and other adventures can be found at http://robhodges.com.
has struggled with weight most of
her life, reaching 420 pounds by age 21. When she was diagnosed with
Type 2 Diabetes as an adult, her blood sugar, blood pressure and
cholesterol were out of control. She was on 13 medications and had
tried every diet, but nothing seemed to help. She developed arthritis,
nerve damage, and a series of infections. When she developed a calf
infection that her doctor said might require amputation, Natala decided
to try "food as medicine" on the recommendation of a friend. She began
to eat a whole-foods plant-based diet and, within 3 weeks, was no
longer needing to take insulin. Six months later she was off all of her
medications. Eighteen months later and she has lost over 150 pounds.
Her vital signs are all normal and the arthritis, nerve damage and
infections have gone away. Her blog is VeganHope.
defining moments in Steve's life were two near
death experiences that took place 3 months apart. First
he was kidnapped in Caracas, Venezuela, held at gunpoint and driven
around the country for hours. He finally escaped. The second was when
he contracted meningitis, also in Venezuela. After
arriving back in the U.S., he was told he had just hours to live. We
hear these stories and how they changed him.
Lizzie has a syndrome so rare, it doesn't even have a
name, and only 2 others in the world have it. No matter what or how
much she eats, Lizzie can not keep weight on. At age 21, she weighs
lbs and has zero body fat. She has written a book that just came out: Lizzie
Love is a versatile singer songwriter, performing
dance, jazz, blues, World, roots rock and more. Born as Arnold Elzy,
she performed from a young age but always knew inside that she was
different. She made the transition to LZ Love
and, while she has
nothing to hide, most people don't know she was born a man. Some of the
songs on her latest album, Mysterious, are about being transsexual.
||Tish Morgan Mata
Beginning at age 9, Tish used drugs and alcohol and made
her first suicide attempt. She continued to use drugs and would descend
into suicidal depressions for many years. She was diagnosed as bipolar
and spent time in mental hospitals. She ultimately discovered Recovery
International, which has helped
her tremendously and she is
now off almost all medications and feeling better than ever.
As a pole dancer,
Pantera travels all over the world
performing and giving workshops. She has won titles (who knew such
things were awarded for pole dancing?) and she's got a pole dancing
DVD. Oh, and did I mention she is covered neck to calf in tattoos?
talks candidly about starting as a stripper and things like wardrobe
malfunctions. You can watch a video of her
||Charles S. Herrman
As a philosopher
and behavioral theorist, Charles has
written hundreds of essays and contributed to a variety of disciplines,
including law, sociology and psychology. All this despite having
autism, bipolar disorder, dyslexia and Asperger's Syndrome. He has made
learning about his illnesses a major focus, which he says has enabled
him to manage them as well as he does.
||The Final Buntier!
Veggie Dog Contest time again! Last year we
interviewed Mike Litt, the founder of Austin's Veggie
Dog Contest and
some of the contest winners. Well, another year and veggie dog contest
have gone by, so I brought them back on the show. Mike Litt joined me
along with co-organizer Chris Ledesma, doubles winners Zach Dilworth
& Russ Cullen, and video contest winner, Deneice O'Connor. You can
watch the winning video here.
Lola is the owner of the Cajun restaurant Nubian Queen Lola's in Austin.
She feeds the homeless every Sunday, and did so even while she and her
6 children were homeless for 3 years, living in the restaurant during
that time. She basically sacrificed everything in order to be able to
open the restaurant (including having a home), something she's wanted
to own since she was a child.
2008, Russell decided to get rid of all his possessions, fly to Austin
where he knew no one and get by trading his artwork for food &
lodging for a year. He called it Absolute
Zero Project. Additionally, he set 4 specific goals to
complete before he could return home to Boston: have a gallery showing,
perform live, give a $100 tip and pay for his own flight home. Did he
succeed in trading his art for necessities? Did he accomplish
all of his goals? Listen in to find out.
up, CJ was tormented relentlessly by her father about her weight
because she didn't measure up to his particular ideal of beauty. She
ran away at age 15 and ultimately became a plus-sized model with a
major modeling firm. She now has her own business, Power Pinc, whose
goal is to help women love themselves and their bodies as they are and
take charge of their own style.
is a popular drag queen who performs all over Austin,
including her recent gig after Sandra Bernhard during PRIDE week. She
raises money for charity through her performances, and is known for her
impersonations, including Barbra Streisand, Cher, Dolly Parton, Celine
Dion and more.
May 12, Lacy Coleman was on Inner Views talking about
the stroke she had at age 25 and how Austin Speech Labs helped her get
her life back. David Little has also been through Austin
programs after his stroke at age 40. His stroke occurred while he was
driving and left him paralyzed on one side of his body and unable to
speak much. A lawyer, David is now practicing law again thanks to the
therapy he received.
||Austin Chronicle Adult
May 20, the Austin
had its annual Adult Spelling Bee at Threadgill's.
Geoff Thevenot, 4-time spelling bee champion (though
not this year) and word announcer Erika Allbright (cool job!) were both
on. In an odd twist of fate, host Abigail Mahnke
attended the spelling bee as "research" for the show and ended up
taking 4th place in the bee. By the way: Geoff Thevenot was
on Inner Views in 2006
after placing 2nd in the U.S.
||Melanie Typaldos, owner of Caplin
heard of or seen a capybara? It's the world's largest rodent and it
comes from parts of South America. Melanie Typaldos is the owner of
Caplin Rous the capybara, who lives here in Austin. What possesses
someone to own a capybara? What are capybaras like? These questions and
many more will be answered.
age 25, Lacy had a
stroke that left her right side paralyzed and unable to speak. After 3
months of hospital therapy, she was far from recovered, but had to quit
because she had no insurance and had run out of money. Enter Austin
Labs, a non-profit speech
therapy center offering drastically
reduced or free services to stroke survivors. Lacy spent 6 months in
their programs - she recovered her speech and reading and was able to
re-enroll in college.
the same time
that Paul started volunteering for the Red
also losing his sight. Now legally blind, he volunteers full time for
transportation to get there. Despite being someone in need himself, he
spends his days helping others.
||Stephen MacMillan Moser
know him as the
Style Avatar of the Austin
Chronicle. His bout with cancer
is public as was his arrest last
year on arson charges for setting his roommate's car on fire (which he
did do). But you may not have known about his history of drug use or
that his father committed suicide. Stephen holds pretty much nothing
back in this honest and compelling interview.
know Bijoy for any number of reasons—he
Austin and he's the author of
the amazing book, The
Human Fabric. I
interviewed Bijoy about his book back in 2005: listen here.
He's coming back on Inner Views to
talk about something completely different: What happens when you
actually grow up with loving parents, lead a charmed life, living in
exciting places and attend a top-notch university? Oddly enough, such a
life can create its own challenges when you have nothing to bump up
against, nothing that forces you to figure out who you are or who you
are not. Bijoy is a fantastic and engaging speaker, and a terrific
founder of Hearts
Hooves, a non-profit
organization dedicated to providing
interactions with animals that lead to healing smiles and joy. When
Veronique got breast cancer, she benefited greatly from her
interactions with Toby, a miniature horse, which gave her the idea to
help others heal from their own challenges through animals.
Quirk is the
manager, producer and interpreter for the Tuvan throat singing
Raised in Milwaukee, Sean's passion for Tuvan music developed to the
point where he got a Fulbright Fellowship to study the music in Tuva,
decided to live there permanently, married a Tuvan woman, had some
Tuvan babies, and now devotes his life to promoting Tuvan throat
singing touring around the world. Listen
to a sample of Alash's Tuvan throat singing. Sean can also throat
a clip of him from our
2008, I interviewed Debbie
when she participated in the Texas
Safari, probably the most
grueling canoe race in the world. Well,
she's back at it again, only this time she paddled 466
miles with a group from San Saba, Texas to the Texas coast over the
course of 18 days.
is one of those
people who appears to be cursed. He was arrested at age 17 for illegal
posession of a firearm, a crime he
did not commit. Then he went to prison again for possession of
counterfeit currency. And while he did have counterfeit currency, it
had been given to him when he won at craps and he didn't use it. Then
he fathered a child after having sex with the mother only
once—and he had used protection. Despite all he's been
Saxx is optimistic, good-natured and enjoying his life.
Best Documentary at
beaten into a brain-damaging coma by
outside a bar, Mark Hogancamp built a 1/6th scale World War II-era town
backyard. Mark populated the town he dubbed Marwencol
with dolls representing his friends and family and created life-like
photographs detailing the town's many relationships and dramas. Playing
in the town and photographing the action helped Mark to recover his
hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds from the attack.
Through his homemade therapy, Mark was able to begin the long journey
back into the "real world", both physically and emotionally - something
he continues to struggle with today.
Documentary Film: When I Rise
I Rise is
a gifted black music student at the University of
Conrad—who is thrust into a civil rights storm that changes
forever. In 1957 Conrad is cast in an opera to co-star with a white
male classmate, fueling a racist backlash from members of the Texas
legislature. When Conrad is pulled from the cast, the incident
escalates to national news, prompting unexpected support from pop
superstar Harry Belafonte. This small-town girl, whose spirit stem from
her roots in East Texas, struggles against the odds and ultimately
ascends to the heights of international opera. When
is an inspirational journey toward finding forgiveness within oneself.
||Austin Facial Hair Club
members of the Austin
Facial Hair Club have some
seriously bushy beards and moustaches.
They say, "We are here to support the choice of not shaving, and to
celebrate the many styles that can come out of selective shaving." They
just competed in the 4th annual Misprint Magazine Beard and Moustache
Competition on February 19. We'll learn how they did and what all the
hair is about.
March 2009, Robert
possession of 277
marijuana plants in his home in Taylor and was placed in jail for 5
months without bail. It turned out he was innocent and, in the
meantime, he lost his home, his pets and his business. Almost a year
later, he is still trying to put his life back together.
grew up in a dysfunctional
family with alcholic parents who divorced when she was 7 years old. At
one point, her
family was so poor that her stepfather chose to pick food out of
grocery store trash bins rather than find a job to feed the family. Her
mother has been married 5 times and her real father is currently
missing. Marlayna somehow managed to transcend all this - she's the
first college graduate in her family, a professional writer and yoga
instructor, and she has written 2 books.
is an ultrarunner. This past
he completed the Trans Europe Footrace, a 2,800-mile race over 64 days!
(That's an average of 44 miles/day.) And this is just one of several
multi-day races that Russell has competed in. Despite swearing he would
do anything this crazy again, he's already signed up for the next Trans
Europe Footrace—which takes place in 2012. Russell is the
of Running Across Countries.
Seth was born with severe cleft
and lip palate and told he would never speak. Seven surgeries later,
did he learn to speak, but he became a champion debater in high school.
He went on to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton, earned masters
degrees from Oxford and the London School of Economics, and got a law
degree from Yale.
Mikaya wrote a memoir, My
Sweet Wild Dance, about growing
up with parents
seemed to wish she didn't exist, boys and men who constantly used her
as a physical object for their own pleasure, the struggle to realize
she was a lesbian, and ultimately a journey of self-acceptance and
Alan, who wishes to remain anonymous, smoked
crystal meth for 5 years and actually kept his life under control
during that time. He
switched over to injecting meth and then his life went to hell. After
getting fired from a couple of jobs, he checked himself into rehab and
has been clean since last July. He speaks candidly of what meth is
like, how it affected him and what it feels like to be clean.
1992, at age 34,
Glenna had a brain
aneurysm. Two surgeries were performed to remove infected parts of her
brain. After that, she spent months with therapists
relearning some of the basic skills of life, such as reading, cooking,
driving and even making the bed.