Sound Effect

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Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme.

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Ken Bosma/Flickr

 

This week on Sound Effect, we dream big. We bring you stories from people who dared to dream, and take a look at their successes, failures, and their respective roads ahead.

Charlie And The Rays

We meet the musicians of a local band that just released their first record. While some members of the band are too young to patronize the establishments they perform in, that hasn't stopped them from having big hopes for the future.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

 

 

The founding members of the folk-indie rock band, Charlie and the Rays, are just getting started pursuing their dream. They hope for the day when they’re able to quit their jobs in the service industry and earn a living playing music.

 

But, when you press them a bit more, their hopes for the future are actually quite big.

 

“I want to be a rock star, and just being able to express myself in music.” said 19-year-old Rebecca Stobbee, one of the band’s vocalists.

City of Soap Lake

 

Soap Lake, in Central Washington, is a small town with a really big dream. It’s home to about 1,600 people, and its economy has seen better days. A lot of small towns in that situation might respond by trying to lure a big-box store or coming up with a snappy tourist slogan. But those ambitions are far too puny for Soap Lake.

 

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

For a long time, Melissa Rice's big dream was dance. She wanted to be a ballerina ever since she saw "The Nutcracker" at four years old. In high school, she danced three hours a day at the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

“And it got to the point where my friends who were continuing on seriously were stopping their high school studies so they could dance full time," Rice says.

However, as Rice was deciding whether she wanted to drop out of high school and take her dancing to the next level, she took an astronomy class.

How A 58-Cent Bargain-Bin Sweater Became These Pickers' Crown Jewel

1 hour ago
Heritage Auction

Sean and Ricki McEvoy are professional pickers. They run an online shop called Roselyn VTG Trading Co. and they stock their inventory by scouring thrift stores all over the country looking for vintage clothing to resell.

Courtesy of Richard Berger

 

In 1968, Richard Berger was in his 20s and in medical school in Philadelphia.  It was his lifelong calling to help people — to be a doctor. But, even though he was an honor student, medical school just wasn’t what he thought it would be.

 

“What I found was a lot of authoritarian behaviors and rote memorization. I went, ‘This is so not what I envisioned.’ Here I was with this dream of what my life is going to be about and it’s like crashing into a wall at 100 miles an hour,” Berger said, thinking back to that time.

Allie Ferguson / KPLU

Tacoma arborist Mik Miazio loves trees. He has loved them since he was a kid growing up in New Jersey.

"I remember climbing my first tree when I was a kid. As soon as I was able to, I would jump right in there and disappear. I’m in my own world right there," Miazio said.

It was this love that led Miazio to discover the tallest tree in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. He noticed the giant Douglas Fir poking out of the canopy when he moved to Tacoma three years ago.

"Navigation (compas regle)" by mikou07kougou is licensed by CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2b7cG2c

This week on Sound Effect, we get lost. We bring you stories from people told to move on and from folks who are actually disorientated.

Goodbye, Gabe

We say, "See you later" to Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer, who is heading down to California for a year-long journalism fellowship. KPLU's Jennifer Wing will take the reins as Sound Effect's interim host while Gabe is away.

Welcome Home; Now Leave

Editor's Note: This post, which contains recollections of the civil rights movement, uses a particular racial slur that some might find upsetting. Just a heads up.

We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being told to move on. Maybe it was a school bully, or perhaps it was a job you really wanted but didn’t get. For Marion West and her husband, Ray West, it was when they bought a house.

KPLU jazz host Dick Stein is someone who could get lost on a treadmill. His wife, the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot, on the other hand, can pretty much find her way out of anything.

Stein credits her with being a human GPS — always following her directions. Which is why after 30 years of being together, Stein is always amazed at the fear and terror DeGroot expresses when nearing one peaceful little city: Normandy Park, Washington.

Why Do We Get Lost?

Aug 20, 2016
Richard Yeh / WNYC

We’ve all probably experienced that unsettling feeling of not knowing where you are —that moment when you make a wrong turn, go down an unfamiliar street and then you are officially lost. It turns out there are millions of specific cells in our brain that control how we navigate to a new place.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

For people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, there is a lot of loss. As memory begins to fade, and reliance on others for daily needs increases, a person loses a sense of self and independence.

 

Parker Miles Blohm

A while back, Seattle writer Melanie McFarland reached a point where when she logged on to Facebook and realized that most of the people she was "friends" with, she wasn't all that close to. So she poured a glass of wine, turned on some quiet music, and one by one, "unfriended" the people that she couldn't tell you what was going on in their life, and they couldn't tell you what was going on in hers. She wanted to narrow it down to friends she could talk to and rely on, and who could rely on her. 

CAROL GUZY / WASHINGTON POST

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of crossing the divide.

First, a look at the divide between secular and Christian artists in Seattle's alternative music scene. Music writer Kathleen Tarrant explains how mega-church Mars Hill blurred that divide by opening a popular all-ages venue in Seattle. But she says the crossover culture didn't last for long.

Mars Hill Church Seattle / Flickr

When music writer Kathleen Tarrant moved to Seattle, she noticed a divide between two groups in the Northwest. On the one hand, you had secular alternative kids who grew up rebelling against the church and other establishments, all set to grunge and indie music. On the other hand, there were young Christians who grew up drawn to the same alternative music, but also to religious faith. In the 1990s, these two groups began to commingle with artists like Dave Bazan and Damien Jurado, faithful Christians who also played alternative music.

Andrew Becraft / Flickr

The South has its Civil War battlefields. The Northeast has colonial-era sites. But what do history nerds in the Northwest have? We have Lewis and Clark.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out in 1804 to chart their way across a great divide, the unmapped North American continent.

Credit Steven Depolo via Flickr

Editor's note: this audio contains a few censored choice words.

We all have our weaknesses. And we all have those moments where we just lose it. For former "Sound Effect" senior producer Arwen Nicks, one of her weaknesses was the need for an affordable and promptly delivered sandwich, and she lost it when the establishment she wanted it from told her no. 

Courtesy Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives

In the early 1900s, Seattle was a major stop for the vaudeville circuit, with the performances held in the city's finest downtown theaters. If you were an African-American during that time, your best chance of seeing one of these shows was from up in the balcony (an area then often referred to as the peanut gallery), if you were allowed to buy a ticket at all. And if you were a black musician who wanted to perform at a club in Seattle, you were entirely out of luck. The local music union at the time only allowed white performers to take the stage. 

Nate Stevens

What happens when you confront the gulf between life and death and, somewhat to your surprise, you choose life?

That’s what Nate Stevens faced one day on a stretch of road in Indonesia. Stevens was not the world-traveler type, but the Seattleite made the trip in part to get out of his comfort zone. That included summoning the courage to climb aboard what was the main mode of transportation in the area he was visiting: an electric scooter.

thephotographymuse via Creative Commons / Flickr

Today on Sound Effect we look back at looking back as we explore the theme of nostalgia.

Skate King has been torn down and soon there will be a Harley Davidson dealership in that lot but the ghosts of athlete's foot past and the penchant for flared pants and disco dancing on wheels lives on in our hearts and minds. Gabriel Spitzer took a spin at the rink before the lights went down for good.

CBS Television

In the decade leading up to World War II, “The Original Amateur Hour” was one of the most, if not the most popular radio programs in the country, showcasing unknown talent in a competition. The host and creator of the show was a man named Edward Bowes, known to his listening audience as Major Bowes. How did it all start? Well, he built it from the ground up - literally.

Nick Morrison

We all get a free pass for the things we did in the 1970s, right? Well, we certainly think so.

In the 1970s, KPLU's Nick Morrison had a stint as a manager of a downtown Seattle strip club. And as it turns out, it was actually a lot like any other workplace.

Despite having no previous experience in management or adult theater, Nick quickly learned things many of us learn when put in charge of a group of employees. He had to make schedules, make sure people showed up to work on time, and hear the excuses from his employees when they didn't show up.

Art Skool Damage

 

Kathleen Wilson grew up loving gossip. Wilson would spend nights with Confidential magazine and later in her life ended up writing the column, "It’s My Party" for The Stranger.

Wilson tells Sound Effect senior producer, Arwen Nicks about what it was like to write a gossip column in a smaller and slower Seattle. And why she decided to leave gossip (mostly) for good.

 

An Almost Obsolete Profession: The Film Cutter

Aug 6, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Gabriel Spitzer talks with Andy Pratt about the inevitable demise of his business, Deluxe Archive Solutions.

Pratt has worked for decades as a film cutter, with a hand in a few movies you may have heard of: "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones" and "Dirty Harry," among many others.

DAS is one of the last big negative-cutting houses in the country, but with the industry almost completely digital now, it won't be long before Pratt's passion and livelihood are obsolete.

Former Seattle writer Charles D’Ambrosio reads from his recently released essay collection, "Loitering." In the piece D’Ambrosio is assigned an to write about modular "Fleetwood" homes and he explores the textures, smells and emotions of being inside a freshly manufactured prefab home. 

But D'Ambriosio gets caught up in how generic all of the "newness" is, and how detached it is from memory and nostalgia. Here he reads an excerpt from his essay, "American Newness," for KPLU's Sound Effect. 

Cecil Stoughton White House Photographs / National Archives, via Wikimedia Commons

 

We get all tangled up in family dynamics on this edition Sound Effect with stories of “Family Business.”

We begin in Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington, where Dave Marsh is the third generation to run this roadside attraction. His grandfather founded the store, which now contains taxidermy, vintage carny memorabilia, a (purportedly) real human tapeworm in a jar and, of course, Jake the Alligator Man.

Julie Randolph-Habecker

Julie Randolph-Habecker followed her father's footsteps into the field of science. He was a pathologist, diagnosing patients from behind the microscope. She became a research pathologist, exploring what was behind the disease. However, when her dad fell ill with lung cancer, that meant understanding too much about what was killing him.

Julie remembers looking through a microscope at her father's cancer cells. "Everywhere I looked there were cancer cells. And they all looked bizarre and evil. I knew immediately when I looked at that slide, it was horrible."

How Hollow Earth Radio Grew Out Of One Family's Attic And Into A Community

Jul 30, 2016
Connie Jones Ostrowski

Hollow Earth Radio was founded in the bedrooms of Amber Kai Morgan and her husband Garrett Kelly almost ten years ago. They've since moved the operation to a little storefront in the Central District, but until now it’s only existed as a streaming station online. That’s about to change.

pee vee / Flickr

When Jena Lopez’s child started showing signs of having a non-traditional gender identity during the preschool years, she wasn’t sure what to do. Can a 3- or 4-year-old really know that she’s a different gender from her biological sex? And Jena knew the outlook for transgender kids was grim: Research has shown they tend to have high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Courtesy Logan Hofkamp

Many teens, if not most, have fantasies of ditching their mom and dad and just parenting themselves.

In fact, there is a legal way to do that. At age 16, Logan Hofkamp became an "emancipated youth," which is, as he puts it, like "divorcing your parents and becoming your own legal guardian."

He tells us why he's glad he did it, but he also reflects what he may have missed out on. 

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