Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Basil Sideris

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After surviving the war, Basil Sideris decided to visit America for a couple months. This week, he’ll take the Oral Fixation in “Destination America” to talk about why he decided to stay for good.

Basil Sideris is a spirited Greek from Tripoli, who moved to Dallas in 1955, where he went from cleaning tables to becoming a real estate entrepreneur in the city. Basil and his wife, Ann, are devoted residents of the Park Cities area of Dallas. They have two grown sons.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Ghazwan Altaie

Ghazwan Altaie

After receiving a death threat, Ghazwan Altaie fled his home country of Iraq. And this week, the former businessman will take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about why he decided to become a humanitarian in “Destination America.”

Ghazwan Altaie is a humanitarian from Iraq, who works with the Collateral Repair Project, a grassroots effort to bring assistance to refugees and other victims of war. After spending 10 years as a refugee in Jordan, Ghazwan arrived in the United States in January, with his wife and three young children.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Zarni White

Zarni White

Though she grew up in extreme poverty, Zarni White is one of the most humble and cheerful persons you’ll ever meet. And this month, she’ll take the Oral Fixation stage to reveal some insights about growing up in a militarized state in “Destination America.”

Zarni Tun White was born in Shan State, Burma. In 2002, she won a scholarship and later graduated from the Myanmar Institute of Theology. She immigrated to the US in 2007 and started a career as a case worker helping refugee populations in Austin and Dallas. She currently lives in McKinney.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Cecilia Lazcano

 
Cecilia Lazcano

She always dreamed of pursuing higher education. And this month, Cecilia Lazcano will take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about her assimilation into the U.S. to fulfill those dreams in “Destination America.”

Cecilia Lazcano is from Mexico City. She has a master’s degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders from UT Dallas. She is works for the Center for Children and Families at UT Dallas. She loves her family and enjoys working in the community with at-risk children and their families.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Linh Matthews

Linh Matthews


Though she came from a privileged background, Ho Chi Minh’s Communist Army stripped her family of everything it had. This month, the supremely brave Linh Matthews will take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about her escape from Vietnam and a band of Thai pirates during her harrowing journey to the U.S. in “Destination America.”

Linh Matthews is a mother of two young boys. Every 10-13 years she’s lived on a different continent. She’s 100 percent Vietnamese, but considers herself super lucky to have French, American and British cultural influences. She loves to travel, dance and eat, from street food stalls to shi-shi restaurants.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Peter Thiong

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His journey from “Lost Boy of Sudan” to American citizen was a long and hard one, but Peter Thiong’s father taught him from an early age that “beyond hardship is joy.” This month, he’ll take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about the great hardships of his youth in “Destination America.”

Peter M. Thiong, one of the leaders of The Lost Boys of the Sudan, has called North Texas home for 14 years. Peter completed BS/AIM at UT Dallas, an MBA at Texas A&M-Commerce and studies Management and Science at DCCCD. He is a husband, father, homeowner, and employee at UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Francisco Moreno

Photo by Kevin Todora
Photo by Kevin Todora

His family moved to America when he was in elementary school, after his father relocated for work. Since then, Francisco Moreno has learned to adapt to American culture without losing too much of his Mexican heritage in the process. And this month, he’ll take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about how this balance affects the artwork he creates in “Destination America.”

Francisco Moreno was born in Mexico City in 1986, and moved to Arlington, Texas in 1992. In 2012 he graduated from the Masters in Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design with the prestigious Presidential Scholar Tuition award. Moreno’s work has been exhibited in New York City; Providence, Rhode Island; Stowe, Vermont; Concord, Massachusetts; Dallas, Texas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Nicole Stewart

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Oral Fixation’s creator, Nicole Stewart, is no stranger to the stage herself. Next week, she’ll close out the show’s fourth season with a powerful story about the cry for help that helped her overcome an eating disorder in “Happy Camper.”

Nicole Stewart is the creator of Oral Fixation. She spoke at TEDxSMU about the power of sharing your story. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, Modern Loss, and Upworthy. She couldn’t do any of this without her supportive husband Anton, dog Ellie and amazing community of friends.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Melissa Smrekar

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Oral Fixation’s assistant director, Melissa Smrekar, is a humorist, Oral Fixation vet and lover of performing. This month, she’ll give a hilarious account of her most memorable childhood camping trips in “Happy Camper.”

Melissa is a fourth generation Dallasite, who works as a fundraiser by day and moonlights as a writer, editor and improviser by night. Oral Fixation’s assistant director, Melissa loves sundresses, souffles, birthdays and books, and is currently writing a collection of comedic essays. She has been feeling feelings since 1986.

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Our Eyes Are Fixed On: Charles Scudder

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He’s a writer by trade, but even Charles Scudder couldn’t dream up a story like the Goatman that terrorized North Texas residents in the summer of ’69. This month, he’ll take the Oral Fixation stage to talk about finally meeting the “creature” that haunted his youth in “Happy Camper.”

Charles Scudder is a reporter and editor at The Dallas Morning News. He grew up in Colleyville, Texas, and graduated from the Indiana University School of Journalism in 2014. He has won writing awards from the Indiana Collegiate Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, & the Hearst National Writing Championship.

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