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

KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle's international reputation has been burnished by the city's thriving technology industries, by the hip independent music scene, and even by the ubiquity of Starbucks. But 100 years before latte vendors squatted on every city corner, Seattle was a thriving maritime hub. It still is.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Cauliflower. It's a pretty white vegetable that most of us were served boiled, steamed and frankly, pretty tasteless. But autumn cauliflower has the potential for big flavor, according to former chef and Seattle food writer Sara Dickerman. The trick lies in how you prepare it.

The Seattle Times/Dean Rutz

Eli Hastings remembers his first writing experience.  "My mom had given me a diary," he recalled. Hastings was in elementary school, and he scrawled down a little poem, the kind of insulting ditty that schoolboys hurl at one another on the playground.

ACT - A Contemporary Theatre

After 77 plays, Alan Ayckbourn knows his way around a theater. Ayckbourn has won every possible accolade during his long career, but even a 2006 stroke that left him with limited use of an arm and leg hasn't stopped the prolific writer and director.

There are more than whispers of a deal to end the shutdown today. Both the Senate and the House are working on proposals. Whether or not they will pass, however, is another question. Marcie Sillman talks with Representative Jim McDermott about the politics inside congress. 

Produced by Hannah Burn

Flickr Photo/Ivan Chang

There is no denying it, autumn has arrived with a bang: the rain, the low temperatures, shorter days and everyone huddled inside together creates the perfect germ-spreading storm. While many people are going out to get their flu shots, there are also a variety of natural ways to ward off illness.

We decided to ask an expert, registered dietitian Mary Purdy. Purdy is the host of the podcast Nutrition Nuggets and she joins us to explain how we can keep a healthy immune system.

Harriet Baskas' book "Hidden Treasures: What the Museums Can't or Won't Show You"

Seattle travel writer Harriet Baskas stumbled onto her quest for hidden treasures. More than 20 years ago, Baskas was visiting small museums in the Pacific Northwest. She was interested in the collections they had on display, but the curators she met were just as interested in what they had in the back rooms: treasures they couldn't, or wouldn't, show the public.

AP Photo/Mike Segar

Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Although he and President Obama didn’t shake hands, the two leaders expressed their desire to open a dialogue.

What Is A Geek Girl?

Sep 27, 2013
Flickr Photo/GeekGirlCon

On October 19, downtown Seattle will be invaded by geek girls. That’s when the 3rd annual GeekGirlCon kicks off at the Washington State Convention Center. Maybe you’re wondering, what exactly is a geek girl?  And why does she need her own convention?

Amy Peloff has the answers.  She’s assistant director of the University of Washington’s comparative history of ideas program. She teaches classes in gender, sexuality and women’s studies.  She told Marcie Sillman that defining geek girls is a bit like defining pornography. You may not be able to pin down the specifics, but you know it when you see it.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Studio C is a big rehearsal hall, with the same dimensions as the stage at nearby McCaw Hall where PNB performs. Despite its size, on this afternoon the room feels packed to the gills.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

When you think of kale, do you conjure visions of raw greens, a little tough and chewy?  Sometimes they're hard to eat, but you dutifully swallow them down because you know they're good for you.

Actually, foodwriter and former professional chef Sara Dickerman begs to differ. Dickerman says one way to consume your vitamins and enjoy them at the same time is to think outside the box when it comes to healthy foods. Take kale, for example.

Flickr Photo/Semilla Luz

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Eli Sanders of The Stranger. 

A shooting at the Navy Yard in DC and a fatal stabbing in Seattle's Pioneer Square again raise questions about public safety and mental health care. Seattle's race for mayor sees a new round of polling and endorsements. Plus, Pope Francis says Catholics need to find "a new balance" on issues like abortion and homosexuality.  What stories were you following this week?

It has been 33 years since the United States and Iran had diplomatic relations. Now, after an exchange of letters between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, there is new hope for diplomatic dialogue between the two countries.

Iran is currently under UN and Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear program. It claims it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, but according to the BBC, the United States and its allies suspect Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon. Next week, Rouhani will be in New York for the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.

Dr. Shaul Bakhash is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University. He explains the complexity of diplomacy between the two countries.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage for some workers in SeaTac to $15 an hour could mark a major change in the larger labor movement’s strategy in the US.

Marcie Sillman talks it over with New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse. We also hear from David Rolf, the president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, and Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council.

AP Photo/STR

The United Nations General Assembly opened this week and on the top of the agenda is the crisis in Syria. UN weapons inspectors said that based on their investigation, chemical weapons were definitely used in an August 21 attack of a city on the outskirts of Damascus.

While many officials believe evidence points to Bashar al-Assad's government as being the perpetrator of the attack, Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that the UN and Western officials have incorrectly tied the Syrian government to that attack.

Fred Weir is the Moscow correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, he explains why Russia is still blaming the Syrian rebels for the chemical weapons attack.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

The US Census Bureau released numbers this week looking at poverty rates and wages across the US in 2012. Our local numbers reflect what’s happening around the country: the number of people living in poverty has stagnated and wages have stayed about the same.

At first glance, this may seem like good news, or even non-news. But the census numbers reveal a larger picture of what’s happening in the wake of the recession: that people in low and middle income brackets aren’t really experiencing a recovery.

Jennifer Romich is the director of the West Coast Poverty Center and an associate professor at the UW School of Social Work. She told KUOW's Marcie Sillman the "statistically insignificant" numbers from the Census Bureau paint a concerning picture of many people that are unable to get ahead financially.

AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara

The majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, Hiroshi Yamauchi has died in Japan at the age of 85. The former Nintendo President never watched a Mariners game in person, but he’s credited by many for saving baseball in Seattle when he purchased the team in 1992.

What’s his legacy? And what does his death mean for the Mariners organization moving forward? Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He talked with Marcie Sillman.

From DASSdance's Facebook page.

Artists are inspired by all sorts of things: a song, an image or a story they want to tell. Choreographer Daniel Wilkins and his company, DASSdance, will premier a new work this weekend, “Tale of Ten Green.”

It springs from the story of the Awa people, an indigenous tribe that lives in Brazil’s Amazon River basin. The Awa haven’t had significant contact with the outside world until recently, and according to Wilkins, the experience has been both violent and exploitative.

“Tale of Ten Green” premiers Friday evening at Seattle’s Washington Hall. 

Interfaith Amigos
Flickr Photo/University of Denver

Imam Jamal Rahman, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Pastor Don Mackenzie came together just after the Iraq War began.  They wanted to find a way to discuss politics and faith and to use their religious convictions to forge a path to dialogue and eventually peace.

The Amigos were originally going to be in studio to discuss the subject of compassion and consciousness, but the unfolding events in Syria hijacked our conversation. We talked about whether President Obama’s original proposal to launch a military attack in retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons was the right way forward on this issues.

Flickr Photo/Elvert Barnes

In Canada, Quebec's separatist government has attempted to ban public servants from wearing religious symbols while at work. That includes everything from crosses to face coverings. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer has been following the story. He talks with Marcie Sillman about why the issue has so many people upset. Plus, what Neil Young said to get his music banned from at least one Alberta radio station.

Flickr Photo/Ryan Sitzman

China plans to cut coal consumption in major northern cities including Beijing and Shanghai by 2017 to curb pollution. Could this impact demand for Wyoming coal and proposed (and controversial) coal export terminals in Washington state?  Marcie Sillman talks it over with David Roberts who writes for the Seattle-based environmental magazine, Grist.

Instagram Photo/TheEnsemble

Seattle’s Fringe Festival starts this week. It features local companies and artists, but the festival is also drawing performers from around the world. 

The great recession hit small arts groups hard; the festival was on hiatus for several years after its 2003 season and returned just last year.  How did Seattle’s fringe community fare?  Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson shares some perspective on the health of local companies with Marcie Sillman.

Michael Young at the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

University of Washington students head back to campus next week. While the state Legislature did increase funding for the UW and other state colleges and universities, money is still a problem when it comes to higher education. It factors into everything from course offerings to faculty retention. Those are some of the challenges that face University of Washington President Michael Young. He joins us today.

Cities all over are short on cash. And some are turning to crowdfunding to get public projects off the ground. From a streetcar in Kansas City to a skate spot in Portland, Oregon, sites like Neighbor.ly and Citizinvestor are making it easy for residents to raise money to fund civic projects. Marcie Sillman talks with Rodrigo Davies, a researcher at MIT’s Center for Civic Media about civic crowdfunding and its complications.

Flickr Photo/Ian Fisher

The Seattle City Council is considering a proposal that would bring a free, public toilet to Pioneer Square.

Local development company Urban Visions is offering to purchase the so-called “Portland Loo” for the city, in exchange for being allowed to add three stories to its mixed-use building in the neighborhood.

Fans at a Seattle Seahawks match.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Sunday night at Century Link Field, Seattle Seahawks fans broke the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd noise at a stadium. Then, they broke the record again. The final reading was an ear-splitting 131.9 decibels.

When Money And Love Collide

Sep 16, 2013
Flickr Photo/Jenifer Correa

It's no surprise that money stress doesn't bode well for romance. For many couples, decisions like marriage, divorce or children hinge on the question: Can we afford it? Marcie Sillman talks with UC Santa Barbara economics professor Shelly Lundberg and couples counselor and director of UC Los Angeles' Sexual Health Program Gail Wyatt about how money impacts our love lives.

The United Nations inspectors say they have convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used in a large scale attack in Syria last month. In a report released earlier today the inspectors said the samples they collected from an area of Damascus provided clear and convincing evidence that the nerve agent sarin was used.

The inspectors were not charged with determining who launched the chemical weapons. The news closely follows this weekend’s announcement that Russia and the United States had reached agreement on a framework for Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons program. The United States and its allies say military force is still a possibility if Syria fails to follow through on its agreement. Meanwhile the war in Syria continues.

Borzou Daragahi has been covering events in the Middle East for the Financial Times. He’s based in Cairo. He explains what the reaction in the Middle East has been to the announcement that Syria would give up its chemical weapons.

KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news. President Obama took to primetime to postpone a vote in Congress authorizing a Syrian strike in favor of diplomatic talks.

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn officially kicked off his reelection bid against challenger Ed Murray and big money poured into the campaign against Washington's GMO labeling Initiative 522.

Plus, KING 5 announced big plans for new local programming and a the state Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for light rail to come to Bellevue.

It all happened this week, and we'll talk about it with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and Knute Berger of Crosscut.

Flickr Photo/tiff_seattle

Once again, the entire stadium at Century Link Field will be open for Seattle Sounders FC fans this Friday. The Sounders are hoping to unseat the current top team in the Western Conference: Real Salt Lake.

Forwards Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey will return to Seattle fresh off of their US National Team game against Mexico in World Cup qualifying. Steve Clare, editor of Prost Amerika Soccer,  joins us to explain all that is at stake on Friday and beyond.

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