Ignite Minneapolis 4: Flash fire!
Thursday, May 24 marked the fourth incarnation of Ignite Minneapolis.
But before I say anything else, I’d first like to give a tip o’ the hat to my friend Patrick Kuntz, who founded Ignite Minneapolis. He’s not the spotlight-seeking type. But without his vision and tireless work, none of these events would have happened. So take a bow, Patrick!
Ignite is a national movement that started in Seattle in 2006. The basic idea is to give ordinary people five minutes and 20 PowerPoint slides to talk about whatever is on their mind, in front of a live audience.
I’ve been fortunate to attend three of the past four Ignite Minneapoliseses.
2011 I remember even more vividly, because it was my first time as the event’s “official” photographer. I’ll spare you the synopsis though, and let you see for yourself.
And 2012? Well, I have only one word: “Extraordinary.”
Or maybe “Hilarious.” Or “Thought-provoking,” “Insightful,” “Moving,” “Humbling,” or “Inspiring.” I didn’t think it would be possible to top last year’s event, but Patrick — and the speakers — took this Ignite to a whole new level.
The evening opened with Art Allen, who spoke about “The Beards of the Presidents.” As the founder of the Minnesota Beard-Off — and a pretty follicularly gifted fellow himself — he knows a little something about facial hair.
Normally, facial hair might be a dull (or potentially itchy) topic. But Art’s deadpan delivery and astute socio-political observations had the house in stitches. I wish I remembered the witty commentary that accompanied this slide, though …
Next up was Jeffrey Cobia, whose title slide read, “My Genetic Albatross: Overcoming the Stigma of Anxiety and Other Mental Illnesses.” I didn’t know what to make of the title. Was he about to poke fun at people with anxiety disorders?
Nope. Instead, he launched into an earnest — and very personal — discussion of his own battles with anxiety. He talked about how it has affected his work, his relationships, his ability to enjoy life. I was moved by his courage … and struck by the fact that he didn’t at all seem anxious or nervous on stage.
Then came Aaron Korver, with his charming presentation about “Rebuilding the Old Ford.” His love for his family and his passion for creating a legacy came through in every slide. How cool to think that one day his sons will inherit the old tractor.
Amanda Ingle somehow managed to turn sound exercise-physiology advice into a zombie-preparedness course with her speech, “The True Hunger Games: How to Get in Shape for a Zombie Apocalypse.” I suddenly found myself about 300% more motivated to do squats and lunges.
Oh, and in case there is a zombie apocalypse, follow these tips:
I loved Stephanie Watson’s presentation on “How to Finally Write that Novel You Keep Talking About.”
As a successful author, she knows whereof she speaks. And although her advice was geared toward penning the next Great American Novel, it applied to writers of all stripes and experience levels. In a nutshell: Just write. Don’t worry if your first draft isn’t perfect. Make time to write every day. And then write some more.
By the way: Wearing black clothes, smoking, and drinking aren’t writing. (Papa Hemingway notwithstanding.) I must respectfully disagree with Stephanie on the “looking pained” part, though: I find it’s an integral — and inevitable — part of my process. Plus, it discourages interruptions.
Next came Greg Flanagan, whose presentation exhorted us all to “Make Mistakes.” I happily obliged by shooting this photo, which seemed “artistic” and “original” at the time.
Greg talked about the brain-chemistry changes we experience when we create something new. I especially appreciated his observation that there always has to be a version 1.0. Who cares if there’s an extra eye, or wires dangling out the side? Version 1.1 will be better.
And I took his parting advice to heart: Own Thy C.F. The only thing worse than making a spectacular mistake is trying to deny it or cover it up. If you fail spectacularly, well … at least you tried spectacularly. Own it.
Later came Julio Ojeda-Zapata with a love letter to his coffee press. I’m not a coffee drinker. But after watching his passionate presentation, I’m sorely tempted to join the Dark (Roast) Side.
Then came Rohn Jay Miller, who felt equally passionate about Klout …
… and Jake Nyberg, who brought into sharp focus the things I’d miss if there were no more water …
… and veteran Ignite Minneapolis presenter Ross Phernetton, who talked about “Reverse Psychology vs. Forward Psychology.” I’ll think twice the next time someone asks me to raise my hand — or hands me a ridiculous smiley-face umbrella.
There were a lot more speakers, of course — 20 in all. My apologies to those I didn’t highlight. You were all great! It’s just that I have a lawn that needs mowing, clothes that need folding, and, well, you know … a life. But thank you, each and every one of you, for making Ignite Minneapolis 4 so much fun.
Thanks also to the beautiful Heights Theater …
… and thanks especially to the sponsors. It sounds trite, but it’s true: It would not have happened without you.
Still hungry for more Ignite Minneapolis? Get on the email list to hear about the next event, learn how you can help sponsor Ignite Minneapolis, or view past presentations on YouTube.
Filed under: Attempted humor, Minnesota, On this day in history, Photography | 5 Comments
Tags: Art Allen, Greg Flanagan, Heights Theater, Ignite Minneapolis, Ignite Minneapolis 4, Minnesota Beard-Off, Patrick Kuntz, Rohn Jay Miller, Ross Phernetton, Stephanie Watson, sweetkuni