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I don't wonder about the private lives of people on the radio, so even though I am an occasional "All Things Considered" listener, I had no idea that host Ari Shapiro was from Fargo. Nor did I know that he is gay, occasionally sings in a band called Pink Martini and does cabaret shows with my secret boyfriend, Alan Cumming.

In his memoir, "The Best Strangers in the World," Shapiro tells these stories and many more — how he broke into journalism (Nina Totenberg was a great help), became an international correspondent, and fell into performing, which felt so exciting "I was sure that I would deliver an electric shock to anyone I touched."

He's reported from war zones and covered the White House, but he was so wide-eyed at flying on Air Force One that he saved the napkins. (They read "Aboard the Presidential Aircraft.") His stories about people whose lives have been upended by war are moving; his self-deprecating anecdotes (such as the time he accidentally crashed an Oval Office meeting with President Obama) are charming.

Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune.

Ari Shapiro

Where: Westminster Town Hall Forum, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Av. S., Mpls.

When: Noon, March 28. Free.