Marcie Sillman | KUOW News and Information

Marcie Sillman

Arts and Culture Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 1985

Marcie Sillman arrived at KUOW in 1985 to produce the station's daily public affairs program, Seattle After Noon. One year later, she became the local voice of All Things Considered, NPR's flagship afternoon news magazine. After five years holding down the drive-time microphone, a new opportunity arose. Along with Dave Beck and Steve Scher, Marcie helped create Weekday, a daily, two-hour forum for newsmakers, artists and thinkers.

The new century brought new challenges. Marcie and Dave Beck created The Beat, Seattle's only broadcast program to focus specifically on arts and culture. In 2002, after more than 15 years as a daily host, Marcie decided to become a full-time cultural reporter. During her career, more than 100 of her stories have been heard on NPR's newsmagazines, as well as on The Voice of America. In 2005, she became KUOW's first special projects reporter. In this role, she produced in-depth audio portraits and documentary series about life and culture in the Puget Sound Region.

In September, 2013, Marcie was part of the team that created The Record, a daily news magazine focused on the issues and culture of the Puget Sound region. After two years as Senior Host of the program, Marcie returned to full-time cultural reporting.

Ways to Connect

Seattle police approach man on the street, part of the group show, We are still here, at Gallery4Culture.
Delino Olebar, courtesy Creative Justice Project

Gentrification and housing affordability are hot topics in Seattle right now.

They affect everyone, but typically politicians or media-savvy types dominate the public debate.

A ribbon of resistance by Ellen Sollod.
www.sollodstudio.com

After the November election, many people started wearing safety pins on their lapels.

It’s a visible sign of their support for people who might feel threatened by the Trump administration.

In Lucia Neare's world, a horse can deliver balloons via rowboat
Photo by Michael Doucett

When Seattle artist Lucia Neare heard who won the election last month, she was despondent. 

Neare walked out of her home in the Central District and across the street to a traffic circle. There, she unleashed a full-throttled howl of despair into the night.

KUOW's Marcie Sillman with book hugger Nancy Pearl.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Nancy Pearl tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman about Ian McEwan's newest book, "Nutshell." You may be familiar with McEwan's novel "Atonement," which was transformed into an award-winning film. 

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

In 2012, the City of Seattle and the federal government agreed to implement sweeping reforms of the city’s police department.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Award winning short story writer Nina Allan has just published her first novel. Although bookstores and libraries may file it in the science fiction/fantasy section, librarian Nancy Pearl tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman that Allan's book "The Race" is best described as experimental fiction.

Artist Sara Porkalob in her Queen Anne apartment
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Jose Abaoag has an eclectic resume.

KUOW's Marcie Sillman with book hugger Nancy Pearl.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Terry McDonnell spent his career as an editor at an assortment of national magazines, and he's got the dirt of the writers he worked with. Nancy Pearl  tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman you'll find some great stories in McDonnell's essay collection, "The Accidental Life."

Singers Taylor Raven, right and Jorelle Williams rehearse for the upcoming Seattle Opera production of "As One"
GENEVIEVE HATHAWAY, COURTESY SEATTLE OPERA

When Aidan Lang took over the helm of Seattle Opera two years ago, he faced the same challenge as every other nonprofit arts group in the city:

How to make both his organization and its art form relevant in the digital age.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Most of the time, Nancy Pearl loves a good literary thriller. But sometimes, she just likes to chill out with a page turner. Today she tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman about a new writer she's just discovered named Becky Masterman, author of a series featuring a retired FBI agent. The book is called "Rage Against the Dying."

Black Lives Matter national co-founder Patrisse Khan Cullors
photo by Inye Wokoma, courtesy Intiman Theatre

In September 2014, Patrisse Khan-Cullors was still bowled over by the recent police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown's death pushed Khan-Cullors and two fellow activists to start the Black Lives Matter grassroots movement. Khan-Cullors herself is credited with conceiving #blacklivesmatter.

Nancy Pearl.
Flickr Photo/KCTS 9

October is prime time to stay inside with a book. Nancy Pearl tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman about a novel that should keep readers happy: "After the Parade," by Lori Ostlund.

Musician Yirim Seck.
YouTube

Seattle musician Yirim Seck straddles two cultures. It’s been a tricky balancing act.

Seck’s father is Senegalese; his mother is from Arkansas. They met and fell in love in New York, then moved to Seattle.


Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Some books are page turners; other require a little more concentration. Nancy Pearl tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman that Carol Black's novel "Orphans of the Carnival" is not an easy read, but the effort pays off in the end.

The Seattle International Film Festival's director and chief curator, Carl Spence, is stepping down after more than 20 years with SIFF.

Spence joined the organization in 1994 as an assistant to the festival founders.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl about "Avid Reader" — a title after the book hugger's own heart. It's a memoir by Robert Gottlieb, who worked as editor-in-chief at the publishing houses Simon and Schuster and Alfred A. Knopf before landing at the New Yorker magazine.

Some of the artists represented in "30 Americans" pose beneath a neon artwork created by Glenn Ligon.
Courtesy Tacoma Art Museum

The traveling exhibition "30 Americans" has finally arrived at the Tacoma Art Museum after four years of planning.

"30 Americans" actually features the work of 31 African-American artists, primarily drawn from the private collection of Florida art patrons Mera and Don Rubell.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's corps de ballet dancers in George Balanchine's 'Nutcracker.'
Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet/Angela Sterling

Rock stars have back up bands.

Most Broadway musicals have a chorus.

The ballet version of these supporting artists is the corps de ballet; "corps" is French for body.

Banda Vagas entertains the audience in Seattle's South Park Duwamish River Festival.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Only a whisper of a breeze drifts off the water on this scorching August afternoon, but temperatures in the 90s don’t wilt the South Park crowd.

Older couples, young parents with their children, even gum-cracking teenagers wait patiently in the shade for the main musical attraction of this year’s Duwamish River Festival: Banda Vagos, a Mexican big band that performs a traditional style of music known as banda.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about “She Poured Out Her Heart,” by Jean Thompson.

Shiyogi Kawabata, 88, worked on a wooden chain (below) while interned at Minidoka, a Japanese internment camp in Idaho.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

At 88, Shiyoji Kawabata remembers the harsh conditions he and his family endured in the Minidoka Relocation Center during World War II.

Ticks. Coyotes. Scorpions. Black widow spiders.

Seattle’s Frye Art Museum has named a new director. Joseph Rosa will become the Frye Museum’s new leader this fall.

Rosa currently directs the University of  Michigan Museum of Art, where he has worked since 2010. He replaces outgoing director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about "The Last Samurai" by Helen DeWitt.

The inaugural 2015 Seattle Art Fair in the CenturyLink Field Exhibition Center.
Courtesy Seattle Art Fair

The Seattle Art Fair was the brainchild of billionaire Paul Allen, an avid art collector. He'd attended similar fairs in other parts of the world.


Workers ready Slo-mo-shun IV for public viewing.
Courtesy Paul Dorpat

Jon Osterberg remembers the first time he saw a hydroplane, more than 50 years ago.


The 1936 Olympic team crewed the wooden Husky Clipper, which now hangs in a place of honor above the the crew dining hall.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

Marcie Sillman speaks with Judy Willman, daughter of Joe Rantz, about how finding "swing" with the 1936 University of Washington rowing team changed her father's life. The nine boys on that legendary team beat staggering odds to win gold in the Berlin Olympics.

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee clowns around during a Seattle Opera rehearsal for Rossini's 'The Wicked Adventures of Count Ory.'
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Lawrence Brownlee thinks of himself as a regular Joe.

He grew up in a solid, working class household in Youngstown, Ohio, the fourth of six children.

Brownlee's dad worked at General Motors’ Lordstown assembly plant. The family was involved in their church. They were salt of the earth Midwesterners.

Philipp Mergener, 13, as the lead in the Village Theatre production of the hit musical 'Billy Elliot.'
Courtesy of Village Theatre/Mark Kitaoka

The hit musical, “Billy Elliot,” tells the story of a British coal miner’s son who dreams of being a ballet dancer.

Billy has to keep that dream secret from from his family and most of his friends, or risk their ridicule. Thirteen-year-old Seattle resident Philipp Mergener can relate.


University of Washington conservators Kate Leonard, left, and Judith Johnson in the UW's Conservation Center at Suzzallo Library. Conservators repair and protect 10 thousand rare books, manuscripts, maps and other paper items every year.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

In the land of Microsoft and Amazon, a non-digital book almost seems like an anachronism. Why bother with paper and ink when you can download the latest thriller?

Millions of Seattle area residents do just that, at least when it comes to local libraries. The King County Library System reports patrons checked out more than 3 million digital items (including films and music) in 2015, giving KCLS the largest digital circulation in North America.

Varsha Raghavan, backstage at Cafe Nordo in Seattle's Pioneer Square
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Varsha Raghavan defies the tech-bro stereotype.

For one thing, as a woman, technically she’s not a bro. And while Raghavan works as an Amazon programmer, she isn’t obsessed with all things computer.

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