SEATTLE, Wash. — Acclaimed Seattle author, poet and screenwriter Sherman Alexie will appear on a special two-part edition of “True Colors” on KCTS and KOMO in February. Part one of the KCTS broadcasts will air on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. and repeated on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2:30 p.m. Part two will air on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and repeated Saturday, Feb. 13, at 2:30 p.m. KOMO broadcast times are Sundays at noon, Feb. 7 and 14, for both parts one and two.
In addition, the KCTS broadcasts, hosted by “True Colors” Executive Producer Enrique Cerna and Vivian Phillips, will be shown in central Washington on KYVE in Yakima, KCTS’ sister station, on Wednesday, Feb. 10 (part one), and Wednesday, Feb. 17 (part two) at 6 p.m.
In part one, Alexie, a Washington State University alumnus, will discuss his first venture into the movie-making business. Alexie wrote and directed “Smoke Signals,” the first commercially successful movie produced, written, directed by and starring Native Americans. Produced by Shadow-Catcher Entertainment in Seattle and filmed in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, not far from the Spokane Indian Reservation where Alexie — a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian — was reared, “Smoke Signals” premiered in New York and Los Angeles on June 25, 1998, and garnered top honors at the Sundance International Film Festival in Utah. The film was adapted from “What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” first published as a short story in Alexie’s 1993 book, “The Long Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.”
The Feb. 3 program also will feature an interview with Alexie’s undergraduate literature teacher and mentor, Alex Kuo, who holds joint appointments in the English and Comparative American Cultures departments at Washington State University. “I wasn’t a writer until I walked into Kuo’s class,” Alexie says. “He told me to be one. He taught me about being a professional.”
Alexie will talk about how he became a writer, his life on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and how he views the status of Native Americans in America in part two of “True Colors” on Feb. 10. The 31-year-old Washington State University honors graduate in American studies is the author of 10 books, including collections of short stories and poetry, and two novels.
Kuo, a WSU faculty member since 1979, is the author of a new novel, “Chinese Opera,” which narrates the story of two American musicians’ experiences set against the political spring of Beijing in 1989. Kuo was the recipient of a 1991 National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship and taught American literature at a Beijing university in 1989 and was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Changchun, China, from 1991-92. He spent the 1997-98 academic year as the Lingnan Visiting Scholar in American Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University and the Hong Kong-America Center.