Theme: “Happy Camper”
Storyteller: Ken Bethea
Oral Fixation’s very own rockstar, Ken Bethea, took the stage with an inspiring story about going from “the copy man” to a bona fide rock star in less than three years. In peeling back the curtain of how he formed the Old 97’s, Ken reminded the audience that, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Theme: “Happy Camper”
Storyteller: Melissa Smrekar
With her signature sarcasm and sass, veteran storyteller Melissa Smrekar returned to the Oral Fixation stage with an uproarious tale of her complicated relationship with The Great Outdoors that left the audience buckling over in laughter. In telling the story of a mandatory eighth grade camping trip, Melissa revealed how she arrived at one of her life mantras: that it’s really liberating to say no to shit you hate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”