8:00am - On Saturday, November 14th 2015, Rogers Arena hosted the sixth annual TedxVancouver conference for a sold-out crowd of Vancouver Idealists, Explorers, Divergents, Socializers and Lovers. This related to the overall theme of this year’s talks, ID, and the bringing together of the designated five Vancouver tribes. Inside the ‘conversation concourse’ were coffee line-ups, a continental breakfast, ‘Portmanteau’ which was a set up of speakers through suitcases and a rotating lineup of awesome DJs, a Fashion Pop-Up with 30 local designers as well as display booths by Vancity Buzz, My Green Space, Microsoft, TapSnap and Texture by Next Issue among others. There were a few glitches due to the new venue, but overall the venue was a definite upgrade. The wait and lineup outside was probably the biggest hiccup, delaying the conference 30 minutes, but what an impressive stage!
Representing Never Radio, I was there nice and early to take in the scene and grab a morning pick-me-up from conference sponsors Matchstick Coffee. Luckily, media members, speakers and presenters had their own entrance away from the long snaking line so I was fortunate enough to be escorted straight in. I eagerly took my seat at the front on one of the leather couches adorned with Ted red throw blankets to combat the freezing ice an inch below us. I could actually reach down and touch the icy face-off circle, which was a cool touch (*wink).
9:30am – The event started with an appropriate performance by Smokey Valley and then host Riaz Meghji took the stage. I was not familiar with Riaz, but by the sounds of things I am in the minority. The host of Breakfast Television Vancouver was on point all day and kept spirits up, even performing double duty interviewing two of the guests. The conference would not have been as good without Riaz and I’m not just saying that because I was seated next to his wife and parents.
Some Highlights from the Talks:
Sam Sullivan – This gentleman really knows the history of British Columbia, which along with Washington, Oregon and California, used to be known as just Columbia, whilst Vancouver was the capital, not this Vancouver though… so much info from him, check out his site for more.
Prevail – If you read our interview with Prevail from before the show, you knew he would come out and smash the stage. Rocking a vibrant blue double-breasted suit and pink socks, he ended his talk delivering a stirring poem he wrote for the occasion that showed off his lyrical skill, wordplay, wit, and performance ability.
Esther Honig – A girl who, unintentionally, might have the most photoshopped face in history due to a social experiment she undertook. How ironic and funny that this would be the case for someone so undeniably, naturally, beautiful.
Chin Injeti – I had the pleasure of interviewing Chin the day prior and that interview will be up on Never Radio shortly, but it was known amongst the other speakers already that he would be one to watch with many coming out from the back to sit and watch his talk. He did not disappoint, giving his story in a musically aided and unique way that showed just how effortlessly talented he is and how music emanates from his being. Chin garnered the first standing ovation of the day.
Marina Adshade – Billed as a sex economist, how could this talk not be engaging? She did not disappoint with a witty presentation on female sexuality, and debunking the ridiculous notion from yesteryear that men have sex for pleasure and women have sex for financial stability. This was definitely one of the most engaging talks.
Scott Jones – The funniest talk of the day was Scott, having gone through open-heart surgery in the past year, giving the audience his Bucket Fuck-It List. “Tipping at Starbucks…Fuck-it, not doing that anymore!”
Mohamed Fahmy – Considering the timing due to the horrible tragedy in Paris prior to to this event, Fahmy discussing his views on journalists, ISIS, intervention and the role of Canadians in these events, was mesmerizing.
Ivan Coyote – I am firmly on-board for gender-neutral washrooms after hearing this powerful and moving talk, another standing ovation (on a related note, TedxVancouver made sure they got gender neutral bathrooms at Rogers for the event).
Kaitlyn Bristowe – Kaitlyn is so open and honest about things, admitting she initially went on The Bachelor to promote her brand and that the show provides a counselor for the Bachelorette to help deal with the mental stress of it all. Her fiancé Shawn was seated close by me, cheering her on throughout and giving her a one-man standing ovation at the end. The romance is clearly still alive.
John Herdman – Closing the show, the Canadian Women’s Soccer coach did not disappoint. “Just be good!” he yelled at the audience during a motivating and inspiring speech that was equal parts funny, endearing, moving, self-deprecating, and empowering, before walking out to the last standing ovation of the day. This New Zealander was so passionate about Canada and the national anthem I would immediately offer him dual-citizenship.
6:30pm - Throughout the day, TedxVancouver was a raging success and a feather in the cap of Vancouver. There were 23 speakers, a wonderful host, dance performances, and engaging discussions all over the place. This volunteer run organization put on such an amazing show. It was an incredible 10.5 hour day and I cannot wait for next year to do it all over again! Thanks for having us TedxVancouver!