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

music symphony
Flickr Photo/Jason Burrows (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Calling all Francophiles!

Front Row Center is headed to the Seattle Symphony on Dec. 6 for Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem," which the Symphony calls "a masterpiece of utter serenity".

The Seattle Symphony and Chorale will perform together for this all-French program which will include Olivier Messiaen's "Poèmes pour Mi," and Claude Debussy's "Danses Sacrée et Profane."

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with reading guru Nancy Pearl about a series of reprints of classic children's books, including "The Highly Trained Dogs of Professor Petit," by Carol Ryrie Brink.

Musician Wayne Horvitz.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

When Wayne Horvitz moved to Seattle, he was looking for a quiet place to chill out between road trips.

He never imagined himself in a symphony hall.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks to librarian Nancy Pearl about a favorite "comfort book" -- one that she chooses to read over and over again. This week's recommendation is "Larry's Party," by Carol Shields.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman gets a historically-inspired mystery novel suggestion from book maven Nancy Pearl. "Tabula Rasa," by Ruth Downie, is the latest in a series based on the history of the Romans in the British Isles.

A dancer and stager rehearse Loïe Fuller's 'Lily of the Nile.'
University of Washington/Steve Korn

One of the things that’s so exciting about dance is one of the things that can be most frustrating:

Dance is ephemeral.

It’s live, it’s in the moment, and then, poof, that dance you’ve just seen is a memory.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with librarian Nancy Pearl about a unique way of transmitting history: through poetry of the era. Pearl's reading recommendation this week is a new anthology from Michael Hulse and Simon Rae called "The 20th Century in Poetry."

Jim Woodring won the 2010 Stranger genius award in literature. Woodring is best known for his cartoonish animalish creations. This is a still from Frank in the 3rd Dimension, 2015
Frye Museum

Name the first genius that comes to mind.

Artist Leonardo da Vinci?

What about composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman gets a reading recommendation from librarian Nancy Pearl, who suggests that if you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, you may like "The Murdstone Trilogy: A Novel," by Mal Peet.

Marcie Sillman talks to Jason Andrews, CEO of Spaceflights Industries, about the booming space industry in the Northwest. 

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks to history and book buff Nancy Pearl about a fresh take on Britain's 19th and early 20th century: "Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages," by Phyllis Rose.

Apples on one of the original trees in Piper's Orchard. The orchard was planted more than 100 years ago.
KUOW photo/Marcie Sillman

Seattle's Carkeek Park has a secret.

Hidden in plain sight, on a steep south-facing hillside, just a few hundred yards down a trail from the Environmental Learning Center, you’ll find Piper’s Orchard.

Seattle's Pier 86 grain terminals may be adorned with art some day. Grain silos elsewhere in the world have been a canvas for public art.
Flickr Photo/Bernt Rostad

  You see it everywhere in Seattle.

Hammering Man.

The dance steps on Broadway.

The Fremont Troll.

Seattle mystery author J.A. Jance.
KUOW Photo/Michael Clinard

On a damp gray morning, J.A. Jance sits inside the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Her cheery yellow blazer stands out in all the gloom.

Jance chuckles as she points out a large shelf devoted to her books.

If you read mystery novels, chances are you’ve run across one of them. Jance has published 51 novels, along with novellas and short stories. They’re divided into four distinct series; three are set in Arizona, where Jance grew up.

"Welfare," by Billy Shire. This denim jacket has metal studs, crystal beads and a call bell on the back. The jacket won the 1974 Levis Denim Art contest. In the background, a photo by Sam Haskins.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Tie-dye. Macrame. Fringes and beads.

If you came of age in the 1960s, you’ll recognize these in the signature look of the era.

Maybe you turned your old jeans into a skirt, or embroidered colorful mandalas onto the back of a faded work shirt. In the 1960s and '70s, clothing was as much about personal expression as it was protection against the elements. But did you know you were creating art?

Marcie Sillman talks to book maven Nancy Pearl about an unusual take on the late culinary guru Julia Child's life: a graphic biography from Jessie Hartland called "Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child."

A 'Snowflake' dress waits for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's new version of 'The Nutcracker.'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The winter holidays are months away, but at Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers and crew are working at a fever pitch on the annual production of "The Nutcracker." 

This year’s version is brand new to PNB. Choreographed by the late George Balanchine, it features new sets and costumes by children’s author/illustrator Ian Falconer.

See how these costumes are coming to life:

Contemporary dance production 'Pat Graney: Girl Gods.'
Courtesy of On The Boards/Jenny Peterson

KUOW's Front Row Center is back at it! This time we're headed to On The Boards on October 2 at 8 p.m. for "Pat Graney: Girl Gods."

Join Marcie Sillman for an evening of contemporary dance, then meet up for a great conversation afterwards!

Sillman will be talking with choreographer and local treasure Pat Graney about her artistic process and the back story behind her newest show.

Jason Schmidt and his dad around 1976 at their house on Hayes Street in Eugene, Oregon.
Courtesy of Jason Schmidt

Marcie Sillman gets the week's reading recommendation from librarian Nancy Pearl: "A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me," by Seattleite Jason Schmidt. Pearl says there's usually too much "me" in memoirs, but this one defied her expectations in a good way. 

Read an excerpt from Schmidt's book as part of KUOW's Seattle Stories Project: "I Couldn't Save My Dad From AIDS, So I Saved Myself Instead."

Heidi Cornell and her husband Rick were evacuated three times from their home in the Okanogan area. This is a Google Earth view of Greenacres Road, where they live with their animals.
Google Earth

My husband is telling me to come home.

“It’s close,” he says.

“How close?”

“Within two miles, coming toward us.”

A seedling planted in a burned area of the Klamath National Forest in 2008.
Flickr photo/USFS Region 5

Marcie Sillman speaks with Mike Tupper, deputy assistant director for resources and planning at the Bureau of Land Management, about how conservationists are helping Washington's wild lands recover.

Charles Corey of the University of Washington plays the chromelodeon, one of 57 instruments that composer Harry Partch created for his music.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

The door to room 5 at the University of Washington School of Music is solid wood, nothing to distinguish it from other classrooms.

But inside this cramped space is a collection of unusual instruments, handcrafted to play one man’s music.

The ferry Leschi arrives at the Kirkland dock on Lake Washington in April 1946.
Kirkland Heritage Society, City of Kirkland/Charles Morgan Negative

Marcie Sillman speaks with King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski about his proposal to introduce passenger ferries to carry commuters across Lake Washington.

A view of the sea near Kivalina, Alaska, in May 2014. Normally the ice would have been solid into June.
Suzanne Tennant

President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting president to set foot on U.S. soil north of the Arctic Circle on Wednesday. Marcie Sillman talks to Nadine Fabbi, managing director of the Canadian Studies Center at the University of Washington, about why the Arctic is increasingly important to U.S. foreign policy.

Houseboats on Lake Union in the Eastlake area.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Marcie Sillman speaks with Ken Brettmann, senior water manager for the Army Corps of Engineers' Seattle District, about why Lake Washington and Lake Union have hit record low water levels, what the consequences might be for boaters and floating homes, and what he's doing to fix the problem.

Smoke from wildfires in the Northwest stream in this photo taken from the International Space Station.

Marcie Sillman speaks with Sarah Mirk, online editor for Bitch Media, about what Portlanders are doing in response to Oregon's drought. (Hint: not much.)

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

First-time novelist Elisabeth Egan spent most of her career writing about other people's books as a literary editor for magazines and websites. That provided the fodder for Egan's "A Window Opens," about a literary editor who finds what she thinks might be the job of her dreams.

Nancy Pearl talks with KUOW's Marcie Sillman about the novel and what makes an author's first book great.

Flickr photo/Washington Department of Natural Resources

Marcie Sillman speaks with former wildland firefighter Rob Palmer about his brother Andy Palmer. Andy Palmer died while fighting fires in California in 2008, in what became known as the Dutch Creek Incident.

The Washington drought report for Aug. 26, 2015.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Washington is seeing fire and rain this weekend, as huge wildfires burn in Chelan and Okanogan counties and a major storm bears down on the western part of the state.

“There is a potent, juicy system headed our way,” state climatologist Nick Bond told KUOW's Marcie Sillman.

Composer Wayne Horvitz.
Courtesy of Nica Horvitz

Seattle’s Richard Hugo House is a literary center in a large wood-frame house, just east of Cal Anderson Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The center’s namesake, the late poet Richard Hugo, might be taken aback by the trendy restaurants and modern condo buildings that now vie for space in one of the city’s hippest and most expensive neighborhoods.