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

Why I row

May 3, 2016
Reporter and rower Marcie Sillman.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

At 5 a.m. on a late winter morning in Seattle, dawn is a distant hope.

But if you peer through the dark, you'll see small white lights pulsing their way along the shores of Lake Union. They mark the bows and sterns of dozens of rowing shells, launched early to take advantage of the smooth morning water.

The University of Washington Men's Rowing team prepares for an early morning practice.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

The early morning water is usually calm in Seattle. That makes it the preferred time for rowers.

It’s beautiful as the sun rises over the water as the University of Washington’s rowing team heads out for practice.

But the peace doesn’t last.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about "Daydreams of Angels," by Heather O'Neill.

Courtesy of Niki Sherey Keenan

Niki Sherey Keenan’s moments of inspiration arrive when most of us are still in bed.

“There might be a sunrise that only lasts five seconds,” she explains. “It would stick with me all day.”

Sherey Keenan recreates these special moments in her dream-like paintings.

Tod Marshall is Washington state's new poet laureate.
Courtesy of Amy Sinisterra Photography

Tod Marshall grew up in the Midwest, but Eastern Washington’s high desert is the place that inspires his poetry.

Marshall, the newly appointed Washington state poet laureate, teaches at Gonzaga University in Spokane. He’s an avid outdoorsman, and he spends much of his free time exploring the nearby vast open spaces.

Linda Hartzell, left, with SCT staff, working on an adaptation of 'High School Musical'
Courtesy of Chris Bennion

Linda Hartzell’s office at the Seattle Children’s Theater is packed with memorabilia. Photos of colleagues, friends and family clamor for space on the credenza behind her desk.

Hartzell’s happy to give details about these mementos, but she pauses when asked about a framed child’s drawing. 

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

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about "The Last Painting of Sara de Vos," a novel by Dominic Smith.  

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

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about Nick Harkaway's novel, "The Gone-Away World."

Sarah Rudinoff at the piano at On The Boards.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Powerhouse.

That’s the best way to describe Seattle performer Sarah Rudinoff.

Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann gestures as he is carried off the field at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., Nov. 18, 1985. Theismann injured his right leg during second quarter action.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about her pick of the week, "The Throwback Special" by Chris Bachelder.

A classic Craftsman in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century when architecture was in its heyday.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Look around almost any Seattle neighborhood and you’ll see them: Modest one-story homes, with large, covered porches and eaves that shield wooden siding from the rain.

They’re Craftsman-style bungalows, and you’ll find hundreds of them here, from Wallingford and Ravenna to Mount Baker and over the bridge in West Seattle.

Paul Kalanithi's 'When Breath Becomes Air'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about her pick of the week, "When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi.

Velocity Dance Center Artistic Director Tonya Lockyer at V2
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Capitol Hill has more artists and arts groups per capita than any almost any other Seattle neighborhood. Now some of those artists have a new place to work, at least temporarily.

Last month city officials announced that the vacant Value Village store in the Pike-Pine corridor would re-open as V2 Arts Space under the management of Velocity Dance Center. 

Open Books, Seattle's only poetry-only bookstore.
Flickr Photo/J Brew (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/3JQB13

The West Coast’s only bookstore devoted exclusively to poetry is up for sale.

John Marshall, co-owner of Seattle’s Open Books, said after 29 years in the business, he’s ready to retire.

He said the time is right for somebody younger with more energy to shepherd the bookstore into the 21st century.

Vyvyn Lazonga, a tattoo artist for 43 years, now dedicates half of her practice to women who have had mastectomies, meaning the removal of one or more breasts. She works in a shop next to Pike Place Market in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Audio Pending...

Thirty years ago, a woman walked into Vyvyn Lazonga’s San Francisco shop and asked the tattoo artist to ink new nipples onto her chest.

The woman had undergone a mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis, and she wanted to recreate a semblance of the breast she’d lost.

That was Lazonga’s first foray into post-mastectomy tattooing. Although she can’t say for certain, Lazonga believes she was the first person in the country to tattoo over mastectomy scars.

Clockwise from top, left: Kaela Jackson (senior, Garfield), Julia Tanner (sophomore, Roosevelt), Kat Pompermayer (sophomore, Northwest), Ferdos al-Haider (freshman, Franklin), Beatriz Souza (senior, Interlake), Eliana Glass (senior, Roosevelt)
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Essentially Ellington, a high school jazz festival in New York City, has released the names of 15 bands that will attend the contest finals in New York in May.

Three local high schools will be at Lincoln Center: Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School, both from Seattle, and Mount Si High School, of Snoqualmie. Those three bands also made the finals in 2015.

Nancy Pearl's pick: 'This Old Man' by Roger Angell.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Marcie Sillman talks with "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl about "This Old Man," by longtime New Yorker fiction editor Roger Angell. Nancy calls it the perfect book for anybody who reads The New Yorker.

Clockwise from top, left: Colby Lamson-Gordon (junior, Lakeside), Susana Davidson (soph., Garfield), Bell Thompson (soph., Garfield), Lauren Martinez (Garfield), Kelly Barr-Clingan (director), Maia Nelson (sophomore, Garfield)
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Kelly Barr Clingan is a woman on a mission.

That mission is music, specifically jazz.

Barr Clingan directs the bands program at Seattle’s Washington Middle School. She also plays trombone in a Mexican band. And she teaches classes for a nonprofit organization called Seattle JazzED.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

When book-loving KUOW listeners are at a loss for what to read next, help is just a phone call away – as long as the call is to "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl.

This week, Nancy and KUOW's Marcie Sillman help a listener in Clinton, Washington who loved the "The Bone Tree" by Greg Iles. 

Nancy's picks include: "Time's Witness" and "Uncivil Seasons" by Michael Malone, "Black Water Rising" and "Pleasantville" by Attica Locke, and Angela Flournoy's debut novel, "The Turner House."

Want Nancy Pearl to help pick your next great read? Call 206.221.3663 and tell us about a book you loved – one you wish you could read again for the first time – and we'll patch you through to Seattle's favorite librarian to see if she can guide you to your next book.

Donald Byrd, choreographer for Spectrum Dance Theater, is demanding a more frank dialogue about race.
Spectrum Dance Theater/Ian Douglas

Spectrum Dance Theater’s Donald Byrd wants to shake up the conversations about race in this country.

“People are cautious,” says Byrd, a choreographer. “Given the times we live in, we can’t be cautious.”

Washington state's fourth poet laureate Tod Marshall.
Gonzaga University

If you want to be Washington State’s poet laureate, you have to apply for the job, the same way you’d apply to be a teacher or a bookkeeper.

Nancy Pearl said you'll learn more than you ever thought possible about mules from this week's reading picks.
Flickr Photo/Greg Westfall (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/sS617i

When KUOW listeners are at a loss for what book to read next, help is just a phone call away – as long as the person picking up the phone is "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl.

This week, Pearl and KUOW's Marcie Sillman help a history buff in Seabeck, Washington who loved Bernard DeVoto's "The Journals of Lewis and Clark."

Pearl recommends "The Oregon Trail" by Rinker Buck and another title by DeVoto, "Across the Wide Missouri."

Want Nancy Pearl to help pick your next great read? Call 206.221.3663 and tell us about a book you loved – one you wish you could read again for the first time – and we'll see if Seattle's favorite librarian can guide you to your next book.

Mermaid
Flickr Photo/AK Rockefeller (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/20rsa5l

When KUOW listeners are at a loss for what book to read next, help is just a phone call away – as long as the person picking up the phone is "Book Lust" author Nancy Pearl.

This week, Pearl and KUOW's Marcie Sillman help a listener in Friday Harbor follow up on Majia Comella's "The Bay of Mermaids."

Pearl recommends Sarah Addison Allen's "Garden Spells" and "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare, plus a little Alice Hoffman for good measure.

The outside of the Francia Russell Center in Bellevue. The Francia Russell Center is part of Pacific Northwest Ballet and will soon have to move because it is in the light rail pathway.
Google Maps

UPDATE: On Monday, Jan. 25, King County Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle ruled against Pacific Northwest Ballet. The judge said Sound Transit may use fair market value for PNB’s eastside school, rather than the replacement value of the facility. The ruling only determines the method of assessment for the property value. A jury may still place a higher value on the school. A court hearing on the issue is set for June.

Pacific Northwest Ballet has performed in a lot of places.

But Friday the dance company will be on a new stage: a King County Superior Court room.

PNB wants a judge to settle a dispute with Sound Transit.

'Inopportune: Stage One' by Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang is leaving Seattle Art Museum's lobby soon.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

For the past eight years, visitors to the downtown Seattle Art Museum have been greeted by nine white Ford Taurus cars that hang from the ceiling of SAM’s expansive main lobby.

“I noticed them before I even walked into the building,” says Zach, a visitor from Maryland. “It’s like cars are exploding, right?”

Elizabeth Austen, Washington state's outgoing poet laureate.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Elizabeth Austen hadn't given much thought to the state poet laureate job until a few years ago.

That changed after several friends urged Austen, a poet and KUOW's literary producer, to seek the post. She found out quickly she could make the position her own.

Jonathan Porretta was the only boy in his dance class in Totowa, New Jersey. Dance was his refuge, where he could shine. He ended up at School of American Ballet in New York City, where he was scouted by Kent Stowell of Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Courtesy Jane D'Annunzio

A dancer stands alone on the stage. He is dressed in black tights only; his bare chest is broad and muscular.

As the bassoonist plays the first plaintive notes of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” the lights come up and the dancer’s body undulates like a stalk of wheat in the wind. Slowly, he lifts his shoulders, and his extended arms drift up like wings of a bird.

Tod Marshall is Washington state's new poet laureate.
Courtesy of Amy Sinisterra Photography

Washington state has a new poet laureate: Tod Marshall, a professor and writer at Gonzaga University.

Marshall is the first in his family to attend college. He says that experience inspired him to try to use culture – poetry in particular – to build bridges between academia and the wider community.

Courtesy ACT Theatre

Ayad Akhtar is one of those guys you'd hate if he wasn't so likeable.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright is an award-winning screenwriter, a critically-acclaimed novelist, an actor and a teacher. And he's only 43 years old.

High Voltage Music co-owner Chris Lomba in his backyard shop in north Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When Chris Lomba and his partners decided to open a music repair shop, they chose a storefront near the corner of Pike and Broadway on the edge of Seattle's Pike/Pine corridor.

"I've always liked the neighborhood," says Lomba. "Throw a rock and you're gonna hit a musician!"

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