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You need to believe the race. Card yet. It's a job that has to be done. Laser guns like being fired. Why have a lot of these people otherwise. I was appalled. I like out. Really make. A. Beautiful. Window into the community. This is Outlook with your post. There really Mark. Hello everyone and welcome to Outlook. You know that big pink building downtown that's such an eyesore. Well Mark Marlow is going to make a change. If he has his way. Sisters and crime is brewing a mystery con fab. And pull that accordion from the closet Stella. It's becoming the hippest box all round. You know what this is. It's a little piece of progress. I want to take a little closer look I'm sure you're going to figure out what it is. But if you can't and you need a few hints. Well it's pale pink it's murky maroon
and it's an infamous eyesore. Well it could only be from the Mackay building in downtown Anchorage. Laura bliss is going to take us on a tour with the man who is determined to transform it. The air. In the 1950s it was called the McKinley building and it was the address to have. Back then. Folks are pretty proud of the city's first luxury high rise Anchorage was on the way. Right now I have one that's how land of contrasts happened. But. Not her art and her apartment building. Television there it was in the back. What a difference one big earthquake in a bunch of fizzle deals have made. I feel like that in a contemporary town like Anchorage Alaska having this building sit here for 17 years empty is really kind of an embarrassment. Yet when Mark Marlow looks at the Mackay building he can see beyond the eyesore
to see the opportunity. And unlike all the other developers who've come and gone over the years Marlo is actually getting something done. For starters that putrid pink paint has already been sand blasted off three sides of the building design has been finished. The structural building permit has been issued and much of the foundation work necessary to enhance the building structure so that it's safe again has been accomplished. All the fittings have been enhanced. All of the mats slabs and fittings in the basement of the building have been installed and the sheer walls of structural share walls that come from the basement all the way through the 14 story the building have been built up through the third floor. Marlo's wanted to see something done with the Mackay ever since 1984. And his company had. Electrical contract in a remodel deal that later fell through. So what's so different than all those other filled plants. Well Marlo is sure he's finally found a
way to make the numbers work. In a win win deal with the city. He'll get a 10 year property tax break. To make it worth putting 20 million dollars into the renovation now to step up. And to turn a long range profit. The building is being turned into a hotel. The mechanically Radisson as it will be known is going to have two hundred and twenty hire in rooms. It's also going to stand higher off the ground. The new 15th floor will have four deluxe corporate apartments with loft. OK this area right here this block of concrete is the elevator shaft. The two elevator shafts. And the elevator equipment room will be. On a mezzanine that will be up higher than here and they'll be two openings put into this wall and this will be an elevator lobby when it's finished. And then there will be two apartments one in each corner over there and two apartments one on each corner over here with a stairway right here and right there the potential for a
good return however is not the only reason Marlo is purser fairing. I guess part of my passion is just you know I love living in Alaska and I like the fact that I'm a member of this community and I have the the wherewithal in the the talent to accomplish this task and it needs be done. And so I look to myself to do it. Marlo has already had success with large scale property development the Chester park senior housing cooperative in Muldoon with his first project and is currently working on renovating the Old Ship Creek power plant. That building will house by October of next year a 44 megawatt gross output combined cycle generation the Quitman and the hope is to position the project to provide the electric and thermal energy to Elmendorf Air Force Base. And then there's his new four acre Tower project that's going up on the empty lot next to the old Mackay that's going to be an upscale condo building with most units priced at about $400000 a pop. It will be the
first of what Marlo hopes will be many new developments on this and a downtown inspired by the restoration of the McKinley. For now though he wants to stay focused on finishing this project. He's looking forward to the day when the graffiti is finally replaced with pleasant wallpaper. And went tourist filled the rooms. You know the windows that are here know that each hotel room will have a great view of the city if you're on this side or that you get your view on this. Almost all the obstacles have now been overcome. Only one challenge remain. Over the winter. Marlon has to find a few more investors. Before the rest of the financing deal kicks in. But he's not worried. Nobody get the spirit there. There is much to celebrate we've accomplished much in a small amount of time as compared to the amount of time this building has been setting here. You know as a blight on our skyline. This building will be completely finished within yourself. I don't.
Owe. No doubt a lot of people are anxious to see that building finally finished and something really nice on Fourth Avenue again. Coming up mystery reader alert author Dana Stabenow has this and it's for next year. With everything important we see it in 10 seconds on. The air. And simpler but it's not and that's why we're here. Help you make sense of it all. Because with the news is easy the challenge is determining the time. And the. Last.
Award winning Alaskan author Dana Stabenow is here with me today she's going to talk about a wonderful event that you and your sisters in crime have been organizing for the last couple of years and it's a conference but I want to talk a little bit about you. You set 13 mysteries in locations all across Alaska. Yes and you've been writing full time since since when I mean a sense full time since 1985. Oh my goodness. And how are you generating all these ideas and plots and all of this other kind of stuff. Well as long as people keep misbehaving on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News I'm in business. You know I there are tons of mystery fans out there and I count myself as one of them. About 25 years ago I discovered Agatha Christie and I've never looked back I mean I read all over as an about I don't know hundreds of what is it about the detective
novel. The groups so many of us I think are said it best she said. I think in the character of Lord Peter Wimsey and one of her novels she says that the detective fiction is the purest form of fiction that there is. The guilty are always identified and the evil are always punished. And I think there's something very satisfying in people too satisfying to people in reading detective fiction because things are generally tied up pretty neatly at the end and that so seldom happens in real life. That's true. And for me the extra criteria is that has to be written in such a way that it allows me to go to sleep. You know I always I always read it just before I go to bed I have been through with rolling. Now you've got a whole tell. Tell me a little bit about this Left Coast Crime two thousand and one death below zero which is this wonderful conference that's coming up it's in February of next year so let us know. Actually we actually were approached by the person who began left coast crime in the beginning 11 years ago Barbara Peters the poison pen in Scottsdale Arizona.
Began. Left Coast crime as a way of drawing attention to Western authors. She felt that Western authors were being short changed. And it's grown from a little 200 person conference to anywhere from six to seven hundred fifty person conference and it takes place all over the western United States. It's been in Seattle. It's been in San Diego and it was her brilliant idea to stage it in Anchorage so it's all Barbie. And basically what we're doing is bringing about 100 authors up who are aiming for 500 people were hoping for seven hundred fifty and were going to be sending the authors who come up the ones who wish to participate out into the bush to talk to library gatherings and school kids in schools and whose idea was that I think it's a marvelous mind while this going to go away. This comes from I was born in Anchorage but I was raised and sold over here which is a little town across the bay from Homer and I would've killed for just one writer to walk into my classroom when I was a kid and say hey I'm a writer you can be a writer too. My my teachers they were all good people they push me toward a craft journalism from the moment it was discovered I could
write they wanted to me me to become a journalist. So I never it never occurred to me I could write fiction it never occurred to them either. So I was late getting started and I just know there's lots of little vainest avenues out there that need an author to walk into the room and say hey you can do this too. What are some of the elements that you need to have in order to be productive on a daily basis as a writer you know. It's very lonely work. And I'm sure that you know money is comes on a regular basis now you're Because you've established yourself but certainly most of any. Not easy at the beginning. It's never easy. It's a vicious circle you can't get an agent until you become a published author and you can't become a published author without having an agent. And my I was writing the Great Alaska novel for many years and sent it off to New York many times to many different agents and it came back like you know all the versions came back like little homing pigeons. Basically I don't think I was ready to sell then and I think eventually what happened was that the first book was the book that taught me how to write. And after that I could write and the seminal moment for
me was actually not mysteries it was science fiction. And I wrote a Challenger blew up and I was very angry about the resulting investigation and how it could have been avoided so I sat down and I wrote a story about a space program that worked and that was my first book that sold. And then after that it's been one right after another are you able to support yourself now and I am right as of February calling my right you know I usually Thank you. It's a milestone in every writer's year I'll get the fractions wrong I know but I read somewhere once that of the 50000 writers in America only 500 of them make a living at it. And I'm honored to be among that very small percentage. Let's talk about some of the writers that we're going to you're going to be bringing up. So the purpose is to have them here to interact with people and also to go to the Bush talk about some of them and all of you fans out there just take note. We're going to be able to talk to Michael Connelly is coming he's a New York Times and international best selling author he's in directing his next book tour to come up here for five days he's going to go to Seward
Linsey Davis is coming from Greenwich England to be our British guest of honor she never comes to conferences so this is a huge coup for us and cleaves is coming also from England she's going to go to Gustavus and Juno Ridley Pearson He's also an international bestselling thriller author. He's going somewhere on the Yukon. He wants it to be the more in the bush the better is what he wants he doesn't want to go to a city he wants to get to go there not on a jet. I think where his requirements. So fans but cold out there the mystery and called can actually sit down and talk with oh yeah get to know them you would think because Michael Connelly is an international best seller I'll bet he would be unapproachable. That is so not the case. He's just one of the friendliest nicest smartest guys you're ever going to meet and I have to say that as a whole the mystery writers as a group are terrific people they're smart they're funny they're approachable. This is their one opportunity to interact with fans usually they're locked alone in a room with their computer. So this is their chance to get out and really meet the readers so they enjoy themselves too. And so all of this is going to be happening in February of 2000 and
1 and you've been working two or two long years and two years on as you have and I have a terrific steering committee that's working with me but I'm the one who's been doing a bit of a try on the Lancasters and crime in Alaska sisters and real quickly Sisters in Crime just what are we talking about I mean these are legit people right oh yeah so let's watch it it's actually the national organization was formed by Sara Paretsky to promote the reading of detective fiction by women and where the local chapter of it. We meet yearly Susan that Gail was one of our founding members so Henry was our first president and you're going to be able to contact you and where will you meet the second Tuesday of every month in front of our place at Barnes and Noble and we have wonderful people come talk to us people like Charlene Doris who used to be a coroner tell us you know how to tell if a body is dead or not or something. Well Dana thank you so much for being here and for viewers just around the corner four months away. Thank you. If you want to learn more about Sisters in Crime and the upcoming death below zero mystery contact in February check out their website at.
W w w dot l c c 2000 and Y on dot com. You know every Slavic family mine was polish has at least one accordion player in the family. Mine was Cousin Joni. So when I came to Anchorage I was really relieved to find Marge Ford who could really play passionate poker. And in 25 years she's still playing with as much zest as ever. Thank. You very much. You are the senior center. Oh no my name is maturity. My sister Patty. Really knew my sister joining us this evening. I see. Thanks if you can do that you can appreciate it very much. Here we go we're going to do another one for you now on this one. Let's have a party. Marge corsets Ford practically grew up with an
accordion in her hands. She learned from her dad Edgar search and he learned from his dad. An immigrant from Yugoslavia with 11 kids who played at weddings and whatever else he could. This is out this is my father's musical education. On Sunday mornings grandma would go to church and my father and my grandpa or grandpa go downstairs with the accordion and gravel would tap the wind Kagan and I. He plays music and sip a few in my day I would watch him and learn and Grandma would come home from church and there was no evidence except grandpa just couldn't walk very straight you know. Marge her brother and her sister Patty all play. Patty plays in Marjorie's band the poker chips. But it was Marge who was the family stand out. In our future as a just earlier we recognize it right away. The three of us took place. The premise is like. You know when I played right but she took Mark aside from her lesson and then. Just would. Recognize that. This is this is my first stage accordion This is
my three row melody that my father bought for me. How. It is so well broken and it's now it's now been retired from my lesson in the stuff my students sent him home with his sometimes if he had recording problems in Europe. I am. Comfortable. Going to one for. Four years this is all I use on stage. Although being on stage has become a lot more complicated. Wires OG's big black boxes accordions in one form or another are her passion. Recording is one of the few instruments one of the very few instruments that is totally portable and you don't need any other music musical instruments around you. It provides in the company provides a melody line and it itself contains. That's why it was so popular in all the villages in Europe you go from town to town you're if the tuba player didn't show up you still could go on with the with the wedding. Immigrants brought accordions to America. They were seen a lot on television in the 50s. And then they were stashed as rock and roll took front and center.
People associate accordion with pos strictly And that's from the original European influence. But the accordion is a master in classical music in jazz and in all kinds of tango wonderful dance ballroom dance music but it has its ups and downs like everything. You know it's just the Beatles everything got buried into strictly guitar land. Today people are pulling the Koreans out of the closet as they your it and Irish music and Cajun and Tex-Mex. It is an instrument that you cannot duplicate electronically. You simply can't. You can get this kind of a wheeze that sort of sounds like an accordion but there's not the breathing dynamics of it that make it what it is. There are 22 kinds of accordions all related but played in a different way maybe. Different sounds. This is one of my oldest instruments and it's barely playable. This is Sears Roebuck 19 0 0 2.
You can see it breathes like a dead horse is so heavy is because these are filled with little reed plates that are sealed in place by beeswax. It's a combination of beeswax rosin and all of oil and over time the stuff dries out in the replaced solution of fallout. And when they're loose. It sells like that when they're tight. If it sounds like this. Oh. This accordion was made by the murder of our family out of Cleveland Ohio in the probably the mid 20s to early 30s. So your beautifully hand crafted instruments. Yeah. I wonder if you're too kind of a bass.
I am. People love these because you can take them anywhere and they have they have a simple kind of a sound too and they're there laid out simply. They're called. Concertina and the sailors used to have these of course on board the boat so over the years. People around here connect accordions with Marge Ford. She adopts old ones and teaches people how to use their own. Chuan the. Reason we have started was because my dad lived outside. Nobody else or somebody else to play with. And I started teaching because I wanted people to play you know street with I really did. So she included her students on the stage with her poker chip pan. And they became the button box. By golly you practice a lot harder you know that you're going to be on the stage for 10 months.
You're cranky when people are looking. There's an underground network of diehard Mocha dancers that follow the poker chips wherever they were a year after year the polka dancer is not just the polka dancer they dance everything. You come to one of our dances and you'll see the mixture of music besides which you kill yourself right. So very real because I think it really is. Thank goodness the accordion is here to stay. Long is people like today on. March 4th ready to play. The district. The valleys I. Knew. That this was great I just love the rain or the LNC. Or. You can contact Marge Ford at 5 6 2 0 9 4 2 7 for anything you want to know about the accordion. Coming up next week on out like a primmer on industrial hemp its history and its uses a debate on Prop. 5 the pros and cons.
And a visit to one of averages more interesting historical sites heralds appliance store the Sony This is a 20 something Sony and they are the heaviest sets all the year something massive. They're still having. An effect. I worked on one of the house. It was 36 inches 200. He. And I thought boy if I can place it there I'm just going to. Cover the whole summer. Yeah. Well that's our show for tonight. Thank you for joining us hope you're with us next week for Outlook. I'm Beverly Michaels. Goodnight. If you have questions or comments you would like a copy of tonight's program call KTM area code 9 0 7 5 6 3 7 0 7 0 4 Write us at Outlook k k m Channel Seven thirty eight seventy seven University Drive Anchorage Alaska 9 9 5 0 8 or
e-mail us at this address.
Episode Number
McKay / Polka
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
KAKM Alaska Public Media (Anchorage, Alaska)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/235-988gvq43).
The first segment titled"McKay Makeover" shows interviews with a developer converting a historic pink building damaged in the Alaska earthquake into hotel and his other development projects. The second segment covers the Left Coast Crime Conference comes to Anchorage with mystery author Dana Stabenow who talks about her craft, life and authors coming to conference. The third segment features an interview with accordion musician player on the comeback of accordion music playing and music which features her band the Alaska Button Box Gang and Polka Chips.
Outlook is a magazine featuring segments on local public affairs.
Asset type
Local Communities
Public Affairs
Copyright 1999 Heartbeat Alaska
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Moving Image
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Director: Davis, Richard M.
Executive Producer: Lafournaise, John
Guest: Stabenow, Dana
Host: Michaels-Dubie, Beverly
Interviewee: Marlow, Marc
Interviewee: Ford, Marge
Producer: Michaels-Dubie, Beverly
Producer: Bliss, Laura
Producer: Snifka, Lynne
Producing Organization: KAKM
AAPB Contributor Holdings
KAKM (Alaska Public Media)
Identifier: C-04909 (APTI)
Format: Betacam: SP
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Outlook; 804; McKay / Polka,” 2000-10-21, KAKM Alaska Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 15, 2019,
MLA: “Outlook; 804; McKay / Polka.” 2000-10-21. KAKM Alaska Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 15, 2019. <>.
APA: Outlook; 804; McKay / Polka. Boston, MA: KAKM Alaska Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from