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Culture » Culture Features

Light My Fire

Ignite Bend 11 sparks local idea mill

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Ignite events are presentations for the attention inept. A hybrid of TEDx Talks and storytelling events, Ignite invites non-professional speakers to present bite sized stories, five minute in length with 20 PowerPoint slides that rotate automatically every 15 seconds, on the topic of their choice.

It's a simple idea: just share something worth sharing.

Bend is one of more than 120 cities from Corvallis to Hong Kong that hosts Ignite events. Topics range from how-to's—how to buy a new car, how to use a semicolon—to personal stories like a flashmob gone wrong and reflections on skydiving. At one Ignite Portland, a presenter used his time to explain the long-running mystery of why Germans love David Hasselhoff.

"The topics that people come up with are things they are passionate about," said Michelle Roats, one of the event's organizers. "It's a platform to hear ideas."

If a topic is boring, it's over in five minutes. If it's intriguing, audience members can rub elbows with the presenter after the event. Ignite's intention is to inspire the audience but it's also a bit like watching NASCAR, someone could crash and burn at any moment.

"The crowd is so supportive and will cheer you on, there's a lot of positive energy," said Roats. "That being said, not every presentation goes how the speaker wants it to."

Even if presentations don't go exactly to plan, Ignite is a part of the mini-Bend renaissance. Events like TEDxBend, Armchair and other storytelling groups open the floor for anyone and everyone to share ideas. For the 11th bi-annual event in Bend, 10 submissions were chosen by a popular vote. They include the Hot Dog Defense for Marriage Equality and a presentation by City Councilor Jodie Barram. Don't expect Barram to be talking road construction projects or Mirror Pond, she'll be presenting on the words and phrases that mothers use to get their point across.

"As a mom, I'm going to let the audience in on some of the secrets behind WHY we say these things...not just 'because I said so,' " said Barram who had the idea for the presentation after attending the March Ignite event. "Mothers have this multi-faceted personality that can be fun, serious, loving and wield a lot of power when necessary. Whether someone grew up with a June Cleaver or Murphy Brown type mom, there are some common threads that get passed on. I hope to highlight that for the audience."

Speaker Lineup:

Chela Sloper—The Hot Dog Defense for Marriage Equality

Emilie Cortes—Peak Performance

Robert Kieffer—The Life of a Bitcoin: Explaining the Most Controversial Currency Ever Invented

Amy Clark—Seeing Double

Michelle Alvarado—In Search of Giants

Jodie Barram—Word From Your Mother

Kyle D. Will—Fixing the world, one athlete at a time! Transformative Coaching vs. Transactional Coaching

Kilee Johnson—Being Kind

Ed Endsley—Discovery is seeing the same things and thinking differently

Diane Allen—The Rewards of Volunteerism...PRICELESS!

Ignite Bend 11

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 7pm

Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St.

$5 suggested donation.

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