Speakers Forum | KUOW News and Information

Speakers Forum

Thursday, 11:00 p.m. - midnight on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

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Photo courtesy of Jose Guadalupe Martinez

The largest march in Seattle history took place on Saturday, January 21. Listen here to the speeches you may have missed at the Seattle Womxn’s March, because over 100,000 demonstrators can’t fit in Judkins Park.

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Some people say that sports and politics don’t mix. Sports and politics writer Dave Zirin and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett got together recently to test that theory. Mix it up they did. The two had a lot to talk about, and not just concerning sports.

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Dr. Sylvia Tara has struggled with weight issues for much of her life. After gaining a substantial amount of weight following the birth of her children, she committed herself to finding a way to lose the pounds and keep them off. That decision led her to an exploration of what exactly fat is, how it may harm us and how it actually helps us survive. 

Larry Hubbel, Joni Balter, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at Seattle University
Courtesy of Sophie Egan

Back in 2005 Seattle announced a 10-year plan to end homelessness. That plan failed.

The One Night Count of unsheltered homeless people in King County made in 2006 totaled 1,946. That total increased to 4,505 in 2016.

What to do? Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray and San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee grapple with that question on a daily basis. Both are keenly aware of the reality of homelessness, and serious about finding solutions. 

Benjamin Hunter at Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Courtesy of Seattle Colleges

For his 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:

"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time.”

Jessica Bennett at Town Hall Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Author Jessica Bennett and a group of fellow female professionals were facing man’s world issues, like male colleagues taking credit for their ideas and work. The women started a monthly meeting to share stories and look for solutions. Their gatherings explored workplace discrimination and social research on how to combat it. 

White House 2014 World AIDS Day
Flickr Photo/Ted Eytan (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/2hT2Rem

Author David France faced the fear and reality of AIDS first hand as a gay man, an investigative reporter and a New Yorker. He was there when word of the illness spread through the gay community and was largely ignored by politicians, religious figures and the press.

He writes about that dark history and how a small group of activists forged a way out in “How To Survive A Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS.”

KUOW Photo: Lisa Wang

Last year KUOW teamed up with Seattle Asian Art Museum, Pratidhwani, South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) and Tasveer to launch the Storywallahs series. Theses events provide a stage for storytelling on a theme.

This time around the stories concern first days: What was it like to arrive in the United States for the first time? This gathering of reflections will surprise and inspire you.

Flickr Photo: Marilylle Soveran

The writer Henry Fielding defined a rogue as a rich man without charity. Merriam-Webster describes a dishonest, worthless or mischievous person. This year, Seattle stage rogues Jean Sherrard, Paul Dorpat, Khanh Doan and Kurt Beattie shared their talents for the annual “Short Stories Live: A Rogue’s Christmas.”

Richard Ziman, Pilar O’Connell and Bhama Roget in Wayne Rawley’s “Christmastown”
Courtesy of Chris Bennion

When it comes to favorite things, Sandbox Radio should be high on any radio theatre lover’s list. The troupe brings talent and infectious enthusiasm to their one-night-only shows. This winter holiday episode, with musical help from the Cascadia Big Band, features the following performances:

  • "Christmastown” adapted from the stage play by Wayne Rawley
  • "Festival Of Lights - A Presentation" by Juliet Waller Pruzan
  • "King John's Christmas" by A. A. Milne, adapted by Richard Ziman

Senator Bernie Sanders at University Temple United Methodist Church
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

It may come as no surprise to you to hear that Bernie Sanders is not done. He was on the post-campaign trail last week, with a stop in Seattle to promote his new book, “Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In.”

Even after a bruising election season and outcome, Sanders says the majority of Americans agree with his vision of progress. He challenges us to “think big” about progressive change.

Marcie Sillman and Virginia Wright at SAM on Dec. 1, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Seattle’s reputation as a vibrant, progressive, culturally relevant city is the product of decades of vision and growth. Many Seattleites participated in building that progress, but no one has done more to develop the arts culture of this city than Virginia Wright. Over the last 60 years of her adult life, Wright has helped transform what was once a cultural outlier into a world-class art destination.

Phillip Deng at Ignite Seattle 31
Photo courtesy of Randy Stewart

The Ignite series brings locals together to share ideas, inspirations and understanding in a rapid-fire, accessible format. The program was invented here, and you’re invited.

Ignite Seattle 31 took place on November 17 at Town Hall Seattle. Sonya Harris recorded the talks. Scott Berkun was the emcee. 

Poet Rachel Zucker
Courtesy of Rachel Zucker

Several years ago, poet Rachel Zucker was asked to write a lecture about poetry. That process led her, in part, to question what it is that poets do — and why.

She recently presented that lecture, “The Poetics of Wrongness,” as part of the Seattle Arts & Lectures Poetry Series.

Photo of Melissa Ponder

Ampersand Magazine is a production of Forterra, a Seattle-based conservation and community-building organization. Ampersand Live is a gathering of poets, artists and storytellers keen on preserving and celebrating the fragile bond between society and nature in the Pacific Northwest. 

Activist Ralph Nader
Flickr Photo/Sage Ross (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/5ryFHB

In this talk, activist Ralph Nader focuses on why we fail to make political progress, even when a majority of citizens passionately support an issue. He argues that left-right coalitions focused on Congress are one key to breaking gridlock in Washington, D.C. He calls on Seattleites especially to gear their tech savvy towards political participation.

People take part in a 'Black Lives Matter' demonstration.
Flickr Photo/Joe Brusky (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/pscnno

You may have heard the term “white fragility.” Dr. Robin DiAngelo coined the expression to describe the defensive positions white people often take when confronted with the facts of racism.

This talk details the realities of our racist society today and points towards possible remedies.

Poet Lucia Perillo
Courtesy of James Rudy

The accolade "local treasure" is not easily awarded. Poet Lucia Perillo earned that and many other awards, including a MacArthur Genius Grant. 

Perillo died in Olympia on October 16 at the age of 58. She had lived with multiple sclerosis since her diagnosis in 1988.

UW Professor Megan Ming Francis at Kane Hall on October 12, 2016.`
Courtesy of Emile Pitre

As we come to the end of a very long presidential election cycle, what can we do to remedy our legacy of racial injustice and move forward? University of Washington professor Megan Ming Francis searches for answers to that question in her talk “Race and Violence in American Politics.”

Maria Semple at Town Hall Seattle
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

If you don’t already love Maria Semple’s Seattle-brewed writing, her new work may pull you in. Just one day in the life of protagonist Eleanor Flood will likely leave you wanting more.

(Clockwise from top left) Claire Miccio and baby John, Kris 'Sonics Guy' Brannon, Maliah Washington, Jessica Salvador, Lance Forshay and Andrew Scudder, and Paul Constantine.
KUOW Photos/John O'Brien

A question arose this election season, as it does periodically: How well do U.S. citizens and candidates for public office understand and value the contents of the Constitution of the United States?

Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik
Wikimedia Photo/Kathleen King (CC BY-SA 3.0) http://bit.ly/2miDSmR

The concept of "parenting" has only been around since the 1960s. Child development researcher Alison Gopnik believes our modern views on child raising do a disservice to children’s ability to thrive.

Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at University of California, Berkeley, where she directs the Gopnik Cognitive Development Lab. Her new book is “The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children.”

She spoke at Town Hall Seattle on October 3. Sonya Harris recorded her talk.

Sandbox Radio actors Mik Kuhlman, Rebecca Olson, Keith Dahlgren and Eric Ray Anderson.
Courtesy of John Ulman

Sandbox Radio is back on Speakers Forum! Our presentation of their latest work, "Gold Rush,"  includes the following performances: 

Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Flickr Photo/Jean-Marc (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ggWBMX

From Romulus and Remus to its infamous fall, the once “small, ordinary” town of Rome came to define empire and change the world forever. British scholar, television host and author Mary Beard has made mining the history of that empire her central work.

Beard is a classics professor at Cambridge and the author of “SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.” 

Alaina Caldwell, Gerald Elliott, Jodi White, Alissa Wehrman, Eula Scott Bynoe, Matthew Brasco and Jasmine Jackson.
KUOW Photo/Brie Ripley

It’s all over the news and social media: A person of color is shot and killed by police, there’s a protest, and an investigation, then another shooting. What does this seemingly endless cycle say about racism in America? 

This summer, Speakers Forum recorded an event called “Black Lives in America: Healing and Moving Forward.” It was hosted by the crew at HellaBlackHellaSeattle, a podcast focused on creating community for people of color in Seattle. 

Courtesy of Seattle University/Yosef Chaim Kalinko

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is known for his record-setting feats in the NBA and as a best-selling author and cultural critic. His new book is “Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality beyond Black and White.”

He spoke with journalist Art Thiel on September 8 at Seattle University. Jennie Cecil Moore recorded their talk.

Labor journalist Sarah Jaffe
Courtesy of Julieta Salgado

When it comes to the future of good jobs and a contented workforce in the United States, the outlook is tenuous at best. Workers left in the wake of off-shoring, financial crises and game-changing robotic technology developments know that all too well.

Journalist Sarah Jaffe says community movements are a key to better outcomes. “For the people taking part in them it is not a question of left or right, but of the powerless against the powerful.”

Writer Charles Mudede at Smoke Farm.
Courtesy of Jason Evans

The 8th Smoke Farm Symposium featured talks by professor Tanya Erzen, writer and filmmaker Charles Mudede, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Ken Williford and historian and MacArthur Fellow Mott Greene.

Topics included prison reform by Erzen, global migration and citizenship by Mudede, the search for microscopic life on Mars by Williford and science history by Greene.

Zaki Barak Hamid, Sam Reed, Matthew Manweller, Ross Reynolds, Diane Tebelius and Slade Gordon.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

He came. He saw. He won the nomination. What does Donald Trump’s unique form of Republicanism mean for the party faithful in our state?

KUOW and Humanities Washington invited a panel of GOP standard bearers to discuss that and other long-range questions as this election cycle draws to a close. Is Trumpism a blip on the radar for the party of Lincoln, or the way of the future?

Listen to the panel discussion below.

Grizzly sow and cubs near Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone National Park.
Flickr Photo/Yellowstone National Park (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/sTZsC2

In 1972 a young man named Harry Walker was killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. The subsequent wrongful death trial focused on whether the National Park Service had done enough to prevent human interaction with bears.

The story puzzled and fascinated former park ranger Jordan Fisher Smith. In it he found myriad questions of what it means to manage nature.

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