Confession of a Recipient

35th and 38th Mayor’s Arts Award

Confession of a Recipient

Last evening I received my second Mayor’s Arts Award. Allow a moment of confession, just to help the editor in me get back to sleep.  You see I woke up at 2 a.m. bothered.  I prepared a speech expecting a five-six minute read time.  Excited to share a bit of WHO I am and WHAT I do. However, twenty minutes prior to the event I was told I would be the first person up, please keep it to a sharp 3 minutes. 

As I type a “Breaking News” alert on BBC Radio announces that Prince Philip, 96, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, is retiring from public service.  Perhaps I should take some pointers from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His speeches were known to be short and to the point. In Canada one time he said, “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.” Short. Sweet.

For completely personal reasons, which this whole website is up for completely personal reasons, I need to post my complete speech.  RED is what was removed to accommodate the schedule.  -SPL

 

Thank you Mayor Linville and the Bellingham Arts Commission for awarding “Bellingham Art Beat” the Mayor’s Arts Award, it is a great honor.

I am the producer of the program. Boosie, the host, couldn’t be here tonight.  She sends her thanks.  She is on assignment on a sandy beach off the coast of Cuba. Poor girl. 

I’d like to also extend a special thank you to the many dedicated listeners to the program and the 60 plus guests who have appeared on “Bellingham Art Beat “over the last two seasons, especially three previous guests who are also receiving awards tonight, Mary Gillilan, Fredrick Dent and Lisa Spicer. A town is only as great as its’ people.  The people of Bellingham are extraordinary!

I’m in the story collecting and sharing business. I particularly love biographies. It is my belief that testimonies have a sort of power.  A person’s story when shared can alert a listener to the possibilities toward their own solution.

I’m mesmerized at the properties of storytelling in general, whether shared around a campfire, read in a book, presented on stage, or projected in IMAX.  Telling a story is human.  Our society has punishments for people who tell false stories with intent to harm. We value words, tales, history and truth, even embellished truth.

Pic capture from the BTV interview played at the ceremony, credit Janet Oakley

Stories are all around us.  In 2010 I went looking for my own story.  After my dissolved 21 year marriage, I moved to Bellingham to be closer to my family.  But that is not where my story starts.

Born in Seattle, and raised in the sleepy and slightly odd truck stop town of Federal Way.  A town that, at the time, had the distinct problem of too many trees and not enough strip malls. 

As I shared in my BTV interview, I discovered television broadcasting and field production in my junior year of high school.  It was my first career love. I worked in field and studio production for about four years, then a decade later I returned to a related field of cable commercial insertion.

Moving to Bellingham I landed a job with the beloved KVOS TV, up there on Ellis.  Since the sale of KVOS in 2012, I have worked at a variety of temporary jobs doing what I can to stay in Bellingham.

When I first moved here I asked my brother what is the best way to learn the town and meet new people, he said “Volunteer.”  I tried volunteering at a few places before I found a perfect fit as a radio producer and host broadcasting on KMRE 102.3 Spark Radio in 2011-2015.  In 2016 I decided to offer a fresh radio program for air at the new station KZAX 94.9 Make.Shift Radio. 

Handmade award cup by local potter Ann Marie Cooper

Producing my radio program reminds me of my television days.  Radio and television are cousins.  This work keeps me connected to the original passion.  I do it for free.  I simply love it, and I will continue to do it until it stops being fun. 

By this summer Bellingham Art Beat will rotate on a total of three stations in the Northwest, online and over the airwaves. 

Often people approach me with an idea for a radio program.  You can see the fever in their eyes!  There are many good ideas out there, but most things “good” take time to make.

People think this is easy to do.  It’s not easy.  It’s [Radio] a craft as much as any art form, and it takes time to learn.  It takes time to research a guest, compile questions that will spur stimulating conversation for the audience.  It takes time to edit the work.  I’m talking, for example, editing 30 minutes of an interview down to ten.  That persons story needs to be represented well.  Their words respected.  Bellingham Art Beat is a half-hour weekly radio show; each show takes at least four hours to produce, so that is about 16-20 hours a month volunteered.

 

If there is one common denominator with the artists I have interviewed over the years it’s perseverance.  They fight for their idea, roll up their sleeves and work to make their business, class, band, play, collaboration, project a reality.

I’d like to close with the reading of a poem that came to me at the right time, and seeded hope in my heart when it was very tender.   And I’d like to read this as a “Thank You” to the guests who have shared their story with me, and allowed me to share it with you, the listeners.

 

The Journey

-Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

-Thank you.

DNA Part Five: How Do You Identify?

This morning I’m reviewing my results from 23andMe.  I’m feeling frustrated and exhausted. Starting to wonder if I am an alien baby thrown from a space ship as it was circling the sun.  The results came back on Thanksgiving 2014, but the closest relative located is a third cousin; we have four segments in common and potentially share the same great-great grandparent.  Do I get a C- in DNA testing results?

dna-shared-between-relatives

I found a list of “Famous Adoptees” (see bottom of page).  It is comforting to know I am not the only one looking for family.  My mood is changing regarding this search.  Anticipating drama, I’m thinking it might be better to withdraw.

My haplogroup is U5a1a1, found primarily in modern day Ireland.  They are a pretty quiet group on the post boards. “Hi everyone! I’m also a U5a1a1.  My family’s primarily from Ireland.”—out. To connect and share stories with my third, fourth, fifth cousins requires family names to share and compare.

Good News

A DNA blogger recommended a site call GEDmatch.  A handy benefit of 23andMe is that the results can be downloaded and added to other DNA sites like GEDMatch.  Another close cousin was found using this public site.  He is a genealogy buff living in Brazil of Jewish/Brazilian descent.  He sent me the proof of our cousin-hood in this format:

Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 700 SNPs
Mismatch-bunching Limit = 350 SNPs
Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 7.0 cM

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
9 4564022 13535786 17.0 2509

Largest segment = 17.0 cM
Total of segments > 7 cM = 17.0 cM
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 4.9

 His findings came with a warm note, “this is wonderful, we felt embraced by you dear cousin!” It is encouraging to connect with him, with anyone, honestly.

Here is how two sets of DNA look using a visual comparison option from GEDMatch.  Each bar is one of my strands atop another participant.  Color means a match, black is no match. Imagine each bar like a hair comb with “teeth”, solid horizontal color equals 100% match for that section, or “tooth”, and so on.  This graph compares our ancestral connections.

DNA M070444_M533447_E9A186
GEDMatch
How Do You Identify?

I’m going to take a leap here and say that the “race” question is irrelevant.  In my home I was raised by second and third generation German/Swedish and Irish/French parents.  However, my test shows no German, Sweden or French in my DNA.  My mother’s mid-western cooking, dinner at the table, and Lutheran ethics influenced me more than anything.  So what am I?  Here is what I believe TFN: Family culture, the style in which children are nurtured, forms our cultural identities.

10-gates-450
Henry Louis Gates Jr is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is also an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder.

I’ve been watching the PBS program “Finding Your Roots” hosted by Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr.  Many of the African-American guests discover a surprisingly large amount of European ancestry.  Gates himself discovers that he is 50% European!  He shares that he was raised in a typical African-American home.  He doesn’t “feel” Northern European.  So is he?  Only he can answer that.

FAMOUS ADOPTEES

Here is a list I found of well known people who are also adopted:

Kate Adie (journalist)

Edward Albee (playwright)

Maya Angelou (poet and author)

John J. Audubon (naturalist)

Michael Bay (director)

Tallulah Bankhead (actress)

Layne Beachley (surfer)

Lynda Bellingham (actress)

Ingrid Bergman (actress)

Andy Berlin (co-founder of ad agency Berlin Camerson & Partners)

James Best (actor)

Les Brown (motivational speaker)

Surya Bonaly (professional skater)

Richard Burton (actor)

Senator Robert Byrd

Augustus Caesar (emporer of Rome)

Truman Capote (author)

Harry Caray (baseball broadcaster)

Peter Carruthers (professional skater)

Kitty Carruthers (professional skater)

Kristin Chenoweth (actress)

Eric Clapton (singer)

President Bill Clinton

Lynette Cole (Miss USA 2000)

Nat King Cole (singer)

Gary Coleman (actor)

Daunte Culpepper (professional football)

Rachel Crow (X Factor contestant)

Faith Daniels (TV news personality)

Ted Danson (actor, adopted child and adoptive father)

Tommy Davidson (comedian)

Toby Dawson (professional skier)

Eric Dickerson (professional football)

Bo Diddley (musician)

Carl Theodore Dreyer (filmmaker)

Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle)

Clarissa Pinkola Estes (poet)

President Gerald Ford

Jamie Foxx (singer, actor)

Scott Fujita (professional football)

Tim Green (professional football)

Jonathon Gilbert (actor)

Melissa Gilbert (actress)

Newt Gingrich (politician)

Faith Hill (singer)

Scott Hamilton (professional skater)

John Hancock (U.S. Founding Father)

Debbie Harry (singer)

Reese Hoffa (Olympic shot putter)

Jesse Jackson (politician)

Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple)

Eartha Kitt (singer, actress)

Matthew Laborteaux (actor)

Patrick Laborteaux (actor)

John Lennon (singer)

Representative Jim Lightfoot

Allan “apl.de.ap” Pineda Lindo, jr. (singer, member of Black Eyed Peas)

Art Linkletter (TV personality)

Ray Liotta (actor)

Charlotte Lopez (actress and Miss Teen USA 1993)

Greg Louganis (Olympic Gold Medal Diver)

Malcolm X (human rights activist)

Lee Majors (actor)

Nelson Mandela (human rights activist)

Nimmy March (actress)

James MacArthur (actor)

Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels (musician)

Frances McDormand (actress)

Tim McGraw (singer)

Sarah McLachlan (singer)

James Michener (author)

Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino’s Pizza, owner of Detroit Tigers)

Lucy Maud Montgomery (author)

Marilyn Monroe (actress)

Moses (biblical leader)

Mother Teresa (humanitarian)

Alonzo Mourning (professional basketball)

Dan O’Brien (Olympic gold medalist, decathalon)

Hugh O’Connor (actor)

Michael Oher (professional football, story inspired The Blind Side)

Jim Palmer (professional baseball)

Aaron Parchem (Olympic figure skater)

Lorraine Pascale (model, author and chef)

Dana Plato (actress)

Edgar Allen Poe (author)

Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi (TV personality)

Priscilla Presley (actress)

Michael Reagan (President Reagan’s son)

First Lady Nancy Reagan

Nicole Richie (TV personality)

Wilson Riles (educator)

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

Victoria Rowell (actress)

Buffy Sainte-Marie (singer)

Paull Shin (state senator)

Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy’s, children’s advocate)

Leo Tolstoy (author)

Dr. Ruth Westheimer (media personality, sex therapist)

Mayor Anthony Williams (Washington, D.C. politician)

Jett Williams (singer)

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