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Sound Focus

The Mind of a Clown, a Storyteller's Crash Landing and Movie Reviews

Megan Sukys/Dave Beck
01/30/2009

The art of clowning is more than floppy shoes and pie gags. Today, Bob Washburn reveals how his clowning skills have helped him in business, in romance, and while fighting a paralyzing illness. We also hear what a professional storyteller learned after surviving Flight 1549.

At 2:05 p.m. – The Mind of a Clown

The art of clowning is more than floppy shoes and pie gags. It's about understanding human nature and the power of the imagination. Bob Washburn is the owner of Seattle's Clowns Unlimited. Today, Bob tells Jeremy Richards how his clowning skills have helped him in business, in romance, and during a bout with a paralyzing illness — when clowning became purely a state of mind.

At 2:20 p.m. – Surviving Flight 1549

On Thursday January 15, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 crash–landed in the Hudson River. Screenwriter and passenger David Sontag was on board — although he hadn't planned on being on that particular flight until hours before. On that fated afternoon, Songag returning home from his brother's funeral. He heard bangs, saw smoke, and then minutes later was soaked by the icy Hudson. From North Carolina Public Radio, Dick Gordon talks with David Sontag about surviving the flight, and how he sees the experience through the eyes of a screenwriter.

At 2:40 p.m. – How Robots Teach Us to Be Human

For years, it was taboo for Japanese to talk about the atom bombs that hit Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Then Godzilla came along. He was made a monster by a nuclear explosion. And the path of destruction he left gave Japanese filmgoers a way to talk about the explosions that destroyed huge swaths of their country. Brooks Peck loves that science fiction gives people a frame to talk about some of humanity's toughest issues. He's a curator at Seattle's Science Fiction Museum. And of the many science fiction movies and TV shows he's seen, his favorites are the ones that make him consider some of the hardest questions around what it means to be human. He talks with Jeannie Yandel about the 1951 film "The Day The Earth Stood Still," the 1991 film "Terminator 2," and the television series "Battlestar Galactica."

At 2:50 p.m. – Tokara Japanese Confectionery

In Japan, there is a centuries old tradition of making sweets called wagashi. Natural, seasonal ingredients like plants and grains are crafted into little, edible works of art. Japanese wagashi makers must practice their craft for years before they can use their skills publicly. Chika Togashi grew up in Japan. When she started learning wagashi at the age of 25, nobody believed she'd take it seriously. But now she runs her own Japanese confectionery in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood. In this archived conversation, she tells Jeannie Yandel what it took to get there.

Related Event

EMP|SFM in partnership with SIFF will present the fourth annual Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Film Festival Saturday, February 7, 2009 at the Seattle Cinerama Theater. 10 short films will screen in the first session 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and 10 short films will screen in the second session 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.. An awards ceremony follows the second session.

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