Hot dudes sporting cosplay gear, acrobatic "flow ninjas" leaping over fences, bookworms obsessing over Jane Austen tomes, and hipster haberdashers looking decidedly snazzy. So is this the bizarre cast of characters you'll find starring in one of the fall television season's newest shows? Negatory. Instead, it's just a small sample of the wide array of subject matter that will be delved into during Ignite Phoenix No. 15 next month.
The organizers of the ongoing locally focused discussion series officially announced late last week which presentations would fill the 18 slots at the event, which is happening on Friday, October 18, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. And, as with essentially every other Ignite Phoenix that's occurred since its debut in 2009, the lineup is equal parts eclectic, unusual, and interesting.
After eyeballing the official list of presentations that will be made at Ignite Phoenix No. 15, which was posted on Friday afternoon, there's arguably a little something for pretty much everyone. Tech-oriented topics like NASA, foodie interests, geek obsessions, and art-oriented subjects will all be featured during bite-size symposiums lasting no more than five minutes apiece.
Given the short timespan of each, the speakers are generally energetic and the mood can be a little manic as they breezily and enthusiastically dish on their passions and obsessions in life like beekeeping, swing dancing, or mural painting.
What else will presenters be talking about? A complete rundown of Ignite Phoenix No. 15's presenters follows.
Muraling Helps Valley Arts and Business Thrive: Local painter Isaac Caruso has created impressive-looking murals around the Valley -- including the flowers adorning Roosevelt Row's monOrchid and sea creatures on the canal walls of the Scottsdale Waterfront -- and will discuss how such public art pieces spruce up urban blight, give small businesses a unique flair, and benefit the creative scene.
Confessions of An All-Night Dancer: Valley swing king Henry Dotson provides an "insider's perspective" on being a social dancer and how stepping across many a parquet dance floor can be a joyful, creative, and transforming experience.
700 Horses: A Vintage American Race Car Is Rebuilt and Raced By It's Original '70s Crew: Self-described "car guy [and] geek dad" Shon Burton was a part of a team of motorheads that resurrected and restored a classic hot rod back into tip-top shape for a competition at the famed Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
Let's Just Say I'm "Germ-Aware": If you're the type who regularly slathers on heaping blobs of anti-bacterial goo, you'll probably enjoy David Sinuk's discussion about the multitude of microbial organisms that are lurking throughout this big, wide world of ours, especially in bathrooms, restaurants, or other public spaces.
How to Freak Out My Mom and Other Things Learned from Traveling Around the World to Sleep with Strangers: Liesl Pimentel spent three weeks couch-surfing throughout Australia and got to see interesting sights, visit exotic lands, and um...interact with many amazing people via her travels, all of which will be described during a five-minute-long yarn that she swears will stay PG-13.
The Secret Confessions Men Tell Hitchhikers: Speaking of adventure found while traveling, Valley resident John Wake thumbed it across America from Miami to Phoenix in the 1980s and heard many fascinating tales along the way from those giving him a lift. His presentation, which we expect might be a bit like Taxicab Confessions meets The Hitchhiker, will recall some of the more memorable ones.
Pride and Prejudice -- The Art of Argument According to Jane Austen: Katherine Cowley, an adjunct English professor over at Mesa Community College, is an admitted "Jane Austen junkie" and will take an engaging look at the rhetorical standards and tenets that can be gleaned from the author's beloved (and occasionally humorous) treatise on Regency-era etiquette, social norms, and romance.
Kickstart My Heart: How Dudes, Cosplay, and Calendars Changed Me: Graphic designer Anabel Martinez has a major yen for geek culture, especially when it comes to cosplay. As such, she's currently putting out the Kickstarter-funded Men vs. Cosplay calendar and will focus her presentation on her die-hard advocacy for dressing up as one of your favorite fictional characters -- even if you're a dude -- and having major fun while doing so.
Katelyn, Caitlin, Kaitlyn, and Shaniqua -- The Real Difference Among the Four, and How That Dichotomy Came to Be: What's in a name? Alena Chang, who was given the moniker Hye-Soo at birth, will explore the questions and issues of the name-making process that some parents go through when determining what to call their bundles of joy, as well as the issues behind her own name change.
Flow Ninjas Parkour -- Bringing the Art of Movement to the Valley: Hal Cohen runs the Valley-based nonprofit collective that instructs teens and 20-somethings in busting a move via the gracefully funky movement art of parkour, whereby practitioners use often-acrobatic maneuvers to leap over, across, and around urban obstacles in lithe fashion. Expect his presentation to be eye-catching to say the least.
Bow Tie - Its History and Its Future: Aaron Kimberlin of Dapper+Dash fame is renowned for his love of vintage clothing, particularly when it comes to bow ties. So it comes as no surprise that his contribution to Ignite Phoenix No. 15 will cover the old-timey origins of the dandy accessory and its role in men's fashion.
DREAMer -- An Undocumented American Presenter: Local college student Bibi Vazquez has faced an uphill battle in her pursuit of a higher education. As an undocumented immigrant who came to Arizona at eight months old, she's had to go through much rigmarole and drama, but thanks to both the DREAM Act and her dogged determination, the 20-year-old has been able to attend college classes and will tell the tumultuous tale of her journey.
Beekeeping for a Day: When Amy Oyler's home-schooled daughter became curious about the oft-complex world of apis mellifera (a.k.a. the common honeybee), the two took a field trip to a local apiary to discover what its like wrangling the buzzing insects. It was a sweet experience, which the elder Oyler will delve into during her five minutes onstage.
How Twitter Got Me Invited To A NASA Launch: Kelly Haskins -- a local science geek, "spacetweep," and longtime NASA aficionado -- will gush about how she was one of 24 lucky people year who got the chance last year to tour Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hobnob with astronauts and mission scientists, and witness the actual launching of the Van Allen Radiation Belt Storm Probes thanks to the agency's "NASA Social" outreach program.
Baring It All - My Experience As A Nude Art Model: Dropping trou to pose in the buff for art classes is one of those occupations that probably requires a certain amount of chutzpah and loads of self-confidence to boot. Sara Santiago has an abundance of both and will chat about the experience working as a life model over the past year when she takes to the stage at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts for Ignite Phoenix, albeit with her clothes on.
How to Build and Enjoy a Wood Fired Pizza Oven: Want to dine on tasty Pizzeria Bianco-style round pie without spending an afternoon waiting in line? Then be sure to pay close attention to Clay Richardson's talk on how he constructed a DIY oven similar to the one used at famed downtown restaurant using locally sourced materials, elbow grease, and his own ingenuity.
My Summer Turing Yeast Slime Into the Best Tasting Bread: So what did you do for your summertime vacay this year? Elizabeth Soares spent the hot months inside of a microbiology laboratory at Phoenix College analyzing yeast and attempting to figure out how it yields certain types of delicious bread. And she's eager to share the results of her work.
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PIE - The Secret Weapon of a Cross-Country Bicycle Tour: Completing a triptych of food-related talks will be this presentation by social activist, cycling devotee, and pie-lover Nicole Underwood concerning the 3,400-mile two-wheeled trek she went on across the U.S. and the different variations of the dessert she encountered along the way.
Like we said, it's a fairly assorted collection of topics. And if any of it piques your interest, tickets for Ignite Phoenix No. 15 will be available online starting at 10 a.m. this Saturday. We recommend haste, since things tend to sell out quickly.
Ignite Phoenix #15 takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 18, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is $15.