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

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.

Seattle’s historic Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute has new leadership, and a new mission.

The new nonprofit group calls itself LANGSTON. Its mission is to oversee all cultural programming at the Central Area landmark.


Dennis Coleman, artistic director of the Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Marcie Sillman talks with Dennis Coleman about his long career with the Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus. Coleman is the outgoing artistic director for both choruses. His final performances at the helm are June 24 and 25 at McCaw Hall.

The Seattle Chinese Girls Drill Team at the Seafair Parade in 1952. The drill team got started in 1952.
Flicker photo of 2011 Chinatown Parade by Chung Ng, photo courtesy of Ng

Erin Josue was just 2-years-old when her grandmother took her to her first Seattle Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team practice.

“I started on her back,” Josue says. “I just kept coming after that.”

Dennis Coleman, artistic director of the Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Marcie Sillman talks with Dennis Coleman, artistic director of the Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus, about the mass shooting in Orlando. Coleman is retiring this year and he talks about how the Orlando shooting is reflected in the music of his final shows at the podium on June 24 and 25.

Seattle pastry chef Kevin Moulder creates magic in his tiny Eastlake kitchen.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Some people make art in a sun-filled studio.

Kevin Moulder creates his masterpieces in a hot, noisy kitchen.

Moulder is a pastry chef. For the past decade, he’s turned out hundreds of cakes, each one unique: cube-shaped structures decorated in vibrantly colored layers of thick sugar paste called fondant; traditional round layer cakes iced in graduated shades of blue; even a cougar sculpted in cake.

KUOW photo, Marcie Sillman

Summer at the Seattle Art Museum usually means a blockbuster exhibition, designed to encourage visitors from all walks of life.

KUOW photo, Bond Huberman

Growing up, Valerie Curtis-Newton knew how it felt to be the only African-American in the room.

“There’s a picture of a club in high school. It’s me and a bunch of white girls. There’s this picture of the softball team; me and the white girls!” She pauses. “I’ve spent a lot of time being the only one in environments that are largely white.”

Decades later, she says that’s still a common situation.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about Katie Roiphe's "The Violet Hour."

Jody Kuehner, left, without her makeup, and Jody Kuehner as Cherdonna, right, with her makeup.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

The woman with the dirty-blonde pixie cut sits before a mirror.

Plastic bags with jars of yellow foundation and purple and blue glitters sit in front of her. Nine makeup brushes are lined up, waiting to be deployed.


Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about the novel "Imagine Me Gone" by Adam Haslett.

Francisco Hernandez poses with his beaded Virgin of Guadalupe in his White Center apartment
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Francisco Hernandez ushers guests into the tiny living room of his modest White Center apartment.

He shows off what looks like a large, colorful painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Close up, you can see it’s not a painting; Hernandez has rendered the Virgin in thousands of tiny glass beads.


Terry Crane, artistic director of Seattle's Acrobatic Conundrum.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Snoqualmie native Terry Crane has always been a climber.

“There are pictures of me climbing fences when I was two,” he laughs.

But Crane didn’t find his climbing bliss until he was 19. That’s when the circus rolled into Oberlin, Ohio, where Crane was a student at Oberlin College.

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