Ignite Phoenix #12 – Compelling community commentary, on the quick

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Ignite Phoenix #12Wow, what an incredible event! Last Friday’s Ignite Phoenix #12 was my first Ignite show, but it will certainly not be my last. This was the most amazing mix of comedy, drama, creativity, community, social commentary and social media technology that I have ever seen, and as someone who has dabbled in community event coordination I was inspired, impressed and even envious at the expertise in which this entertaining event was executed. Bravo Ignite! Bravo Phoenix!

Ignite PhoenixIgnite Phoenix showcases 18 local individuals (out of dozens of submissions) who are passionate about a particular topic and who have the courage to stand in front of a crowd of 1000 people and give a 5-minute / 20 – slide presentation about their hobby, profession, experiences, projects or pretty much whatever it is that excites them about life. The object is to fire up the local community with their creativity and get the crowd’s brain synapses firing, just like Ignite’s very cool logo represents. The fun and amazing thing is – it works!

The evening began with a brief introduction to the event by Ignite founder and team leader, Jeff Moriarty, who gave his own insightful 5-minute presentation on Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” and how it related to the speakers who would follow him on the stage. He then tossed-off the mike with a high-five to the first event presenter, Tiffany Brown, who spoke on the topic of vampires and their evolution from monsters to boyfriends and how we all, “just want to get bit.”

Amy Edgell at Ignite Phoenix #12Every five minutes the floor was passed to the next presenter with a completely new topic, on subjects ranging from the Blues recording history, by Michael Broyles; to the dangers of plastics, presented by Amy Edgell (the hottest biotechnology expert you will ever meet); to “Wires” and how they literally and metaphorically connect our lives, presented by Carl Jimenez. [Click HERE to see the full line-up of presenters at the 5/4/2012 show.]

The Ignite event has been inspiring the Phoenix community since 2008 and this Friday’s show was a milestone when Maisha Christian became their 200thspeaker with her rousing presentation on, “Why You Should Marry for Love. And Food. And Love of Food.” Maisha made a good case for why marrying someone “with the common love of food is good insurance.”

The event is broken into two parts (with 9 presenters in each) with a 30 minute intermission in between and the fun didn’t stop during the break as Ignite incorporated the latest social media technology into the show with projected #ignitephx Tweets on the venue walls and the stage screen where you could see real-time commentary about the event in a very effective format that resembled a flying word-cloud of Tweets. If you are more into “real-world” socializing, Ignite had that too with a fun before & after party atmosphere where you could eat, drink and mingle with other attendees and the presenters.

Jonathan Simon at Ignite Phoenix #12After the intermission and before the second round of presenters, three audience members are selected to try their hand at presenting in what the organizers call “Ignite Slide Show Karaoke.” The contestants are shown six previously-unseen slides in which they must ad-lib a presentation. The slides were crazy and unexpected, and the results of the commentary were hilarious. Each contestant won a bag of goodies from Bookmans and it was an excellent warm-up to the second round of presenters.

In addition to the vampire obsession topic, the Nerdiverse was well represented in the Friday show with several genre-themed presentations, including local geek oracle and Nerdvana friend Jonathan Simon (Lightning Octopus), who gave a great 5-minute talk regarding his adventures “Hanging Out With Hackers, Trekkies, Steampunkers, and Monsterologists.” Jana Knapp spoke eloquently on the reasons why “Women with Swords (or Blasters, or Stakes)” are better role models for girls than the Disney Princesses, and artist Mark Greenawalt presented his work with using human bodies as canvases for art. There was even an unexpected presentation on “Bronies” (male fans of the My Little Pony cartoon who have their own meet-up groups), presented by Joseph Plate.

Ignite Phoenix was an incredible experience and is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in their local community, or for just a great evening of unique entertainment. The next Ignite Phoenix (#13) event is on October 26, 2012 (and you’ll want to get your tickets early.) If you think you have something to say and would like to participate in the next event, the Ignite team is already taking submissions. Other Ignite events coming-up include Ignite Phoenix – After Hours (the unrated version of Ignite, July 29, 2012) and Ignite Food (Date: TBD).

You can see past Ignite Phoenix videos on their YouTube Channel and the organizers promised that the recent show’s videos should be available within the next week. You can also follow Ignite on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

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