P.H.I.L. Talks Debut at Downtown Phoenix's Space 55 on Friday, September 12

Valley residents -- a lot of Valley residents -- have already been talking about this. They've been talking about it at TEDx events everywhere from Scottsdale to Arizona State. They give bi-yearly presentations on it during Ignite Phoenix or Seed Spot Demo Days and meet-ups downtown. They call it innovation or inspiration, hosting a series of short speeches in a grand auditorium that fosters a buzz, swapping ideas on social media and sharing stories through slideshow sets.

A new spin-off of these information events, the P.H.I.L. Talks -- which stands, appropriately, for Phoenicians Have Ideas Live -- takes the stage on Friday, September 12, at eclectic downtown performance venue Space 55.

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Moderated by Tim Eigo, the interactive info-night is comprised of 10 presentations courtesy of neighbors, intellectuals, and self-proclaimed social media gurus. It's "stuff worth saying": global-based thought with local implications, designed to answer questions and spark insight into human relationships, the dangers within one's own kitchen, and a variety of how-tos.

"P.H.I.L. was an idea. An idea about ideas," event organizer Ron Foligno says. "We kept having so many and hearing so many of them that we knew we had to put them somewhere. But where do you put ideas? An idea jar?

"Arizona is not known as a breeding ground for bold, cutting-edge thinkers, and we think it's high time that the rest of the world knows Arizona isn't some sweat-box full of coyotes and questionable politics. We got ideas, too," he says.

The inaugural event is interactive, with a modest goal: change the way people think. About their local lives, about their state itself -- or just to spawn outside-the-box thinking, period.

While certain presentation models are focused on creating tangible businesses from ideas, like Seed Spot, or sharing stories of triumph like Ignite Phoenix, Foligno says this event truly is an opportunity to get onstage and share in front of an audience: think more theater, less lecture.

"We're the people's slideshow show. We don't ask for credentials and degrees and verifications. If you got a good idea and it sounds like you could talk about it in public without fainting, we'll give you a shot," Foligno says. "We're not about just telling stories and entertaining you. If people's minds aren't blown into tiny smithereens by the end of it, then we haven't done our jobs. When's the last time you saw a TEDx blow people's minds into tiny smithereens? Or even moderately-sized smithereens?

"Society is saying it's time . . . to recognize the inherent expertise in everybody," he continues. "Our mainstream news media examples seem to believe the answers are to stick a microphone in anybody's face and just ask them. So that's what P.H.I.L. talks has done. We've got your microphone -- step on up and speak your mind. Anybody."

The conversation begins at 8 p.m. Friday, September 12, at Space 55, 636 East Pierce Street in Downtown Phoenix. General admission tickets are $10 online or at the door. Call 602-663-4032 or visit for details and tickets.

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Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard