Ignite Phoenix 12: Bronies, Winos, and Kickass Role Models (In Five Minutes or Less)

Ignite Phoenix 12 sparked many a follow-up conversation on Friday night at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. An ensemble of 18 presenters each had five minutes to present his/her passions, frustrations, talents, and triumphs to a live audience.

Locals lectured about everything from Sunshine, Shade and Green Architecture to Human Bodies as Canvases for Art. An intermission and an after-party were held so that Phoenix creatives could mix and mingle between drinks, food trucks, and musical performances.

And though each presentation was special in its own way (note: you can watch them all at the Ignite Phoenix Youtube page), we'll give you the rundown on five of our favorites.

Valley of the Sunflowers

5. Sean D. Sweat explored the history, success, and future of Valley of the Sunflowers. He discussed the various impacts the project has made on the community by making the neighborhood more aesthetically pleasing (and thus more walkable); by raising discussion about sustainability; and by encouraging citizens to raise their voice about any ideas they might have to better the downtown Phoenix (seriously, he doesn't care how outlandish you might think they are).

Bungholes, Barrels and Backbreaking Work -- A Wino's Journey

4. Libbie Miller talked about her love of wine and her mission to understand it fully. After tasting a glass of Dos Cabezas Toscano, the young wine connoisseur ventured to the Dos Cabezas Wineworks to learn the ins and outs of wine production. Making friends with the owners Todd and Kelly Bostock, Libbie volunteered her time harvesting, pressing, and, of course, tasting the wine she so greatly enjoyed. 

She ended her story with two morals: Firstly, if you truly love something, pursue it, learn it, know it; and secondly, if you find yourself at a local restaurant and don't see an Arizona wine on the wine list, ask them why.

The Dying: Not Just Patients, But Teachers

3. Danielle Zeder discussed the life lessons learned as a hospice care nurse. She explained that though people may find her other career as a trauma nurse more gruesome and exciting, it's her work with hospice patients that she carries away the most wisdom. In her lecture, she encouraged everyone to volunteer some time with hospice patients and bestows some of the teachings she's been given, including:
- Learn and move on
- Ask yourself, "Will this really matter?"
- Stay in the moment
- Forgive
- Help one another
- Birth and death are guaranteed, the in between part is up to you

Discovering Blues Recordings as Historical and Cultural Literature

2. Michael Broyles discussed the meaning of old blues lyrics as literature that reflects the times and trials of the artists who sang them. He took the audience on a lyrical tour of late blues artists as they expressed love, death, sexuality, violence, spirituality, slavery, racism, poverty, and natural disasters. 

Broyles finished his tour by bringing the audience to his present-day realization of how these recorded words (combined with a heavy does of whiskey and cigarettes) can be therapeutic to those experiencing their own personal blues.

Women with Swords (or Blasters, or Stakes)

1. Janna Knapp explored the harder side of the Disney princess scenario (because girls aren't always princesses and society is often cannibalistic. Case and point: junior high). Using badass female role models including She Ra, Buffy, Buck Rogers, and Princess Leia, Knapp explained why exposing boys to powerful women at a young age encourages gender equality. And as a rule of thumb for both sexes, she said, be sure about what you want in life, because often times you'll be going into it alone.

If you missed out on Ignite Phoenix 12, don't worry. Ignite Phoenix 13 is scheduled for October 26 (same place, same time) and they're already open for submissions. So if you have a knowledge to share or inspiration to spread, check out their website for more details and a look back on previous speakers.

And if you need a quicker fix, Ignite Phoenix After Hours 3 (the more 'adult' version of the speaker series) is all set for July 27 at Axis-Radius in Scottsdale. Check out the After Hours website for future information and ticket sales.

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Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson