TEDx Houston 2010 (11/365)

by Christine · 0 comments

in Events,Featured

It was a huge honor for me to have the opportunity to photograph the afternoon sessions of TEDx Houston 2010, and what an incredible event it was! Curated by the team of Culture Pilot, TEDx is a unique event – as the speakers are not paid, the audience is selected so that it is the best possible audience for the presenters. People had to apply to attend. I think that lead to a very interesting dynamic among the audience and the presenters.

Opening the afternoon sessions was Two Star Symphony, Houston’s most unusual music ensemble. Performing in quartet and octet configurations, Two Star compose and perform all-original music across a wide variety of genres. Each member of Two Star Symphony brings a unique background and set of musical influences to their writing, creating an original and distinctive style. After sharing details on how they work together, they performed well received pieces, including a score to a silent film where they were behind the screen for the performance.

The next presenter was Rick Pal of Air Generate. Rick is an award-winning entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and President of AirGenerate, the former Master Franchisee for Liberty Tax Service in Greater Houston Area, and held several product management positions at Commerce One, Webify Solutions, Navis, and Iconixx. He was also a co-founder of iBlitz.com that was incubated by Garage Ventures and IBM in 2000. He spoke about talked about the Indian concept of ‘Jugaad‘ – creating what we need from what we have. This helps prevent waste and is helpful to the environment.

Mark Johnson, is an entrepreneur and a teacher. As the founder of Hometta.com, he conceived a new delivery system for modern housing, introducing modernism to the stock house plan market, and introducing local construction to a modern housing market dominated by prefab. This concept was recently recognized by TreeHugger, which awarded Hometta their Best of Green 2010 Award for Best Architecture Idea. He shared the concept of building with quality products and to fit within the neighborhood where you are building, making you & your family happy instead of trying to impress strangers. He shared the point that your children won’t reminisce when they are adults about the cooktop or granite countertops, but more about the memories of the comfort of home. He suggested a ‘Slow Home’ movement should take place like the ‘Slow Food’ movement has across the globe.

Chef Monica Pope, is the owner of t’afia and Beaver’s in Houston, 2009’s Best Chef at the Houston Culinary Awards, 2007 James Beard Award Nominee for Best Chef: Southwest. She is the only Texas woman to ever be named a Top 10 Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine (1996), and she has continuously received national praise from top critical publications including Travel & Leisure, which hailed her “one of the most ingenious restaurateurs around.” Her latest venture, t’afia is a restaurant that celebrates all things local, is home to the weekly Midtown Farmers Market (which Pope helped found). Monica Pope recently appeared in Season 2 of Bravo TV’s competitive cooking hit, Top Chef Masters. She shared the concept of how important it is to share stories as you eat around the table with your family.

Gracie Cavnar is the President & CEO Recipe for Success Foundation. She believes that you can do anything you put your mind to, and she’s spent a lifetime proving it. Once Gracie learned about the widespread epidemic of childhood obesity, she adjusted her energies to obesity prevention through nutrition education. She spent years researching best practices around the world before launching Recipe for Success Foundation (RFS) in 2005. After just five years on the ground, RFS is the largest initiative of its kind in the country and has attracted attention from many activists, the White House and national press.

I had to share the photo above because not only is it a photo of Gracie, but it also includes Sharon in the photograph behind her. Sharon was one of my 2009 wedding clients and is such an energetic & inspiring person. I was so happy to see her up on the big screen!

Dominic Walsh – Dancer / Choreographer, lead the second half of the afternoon sessions. He joined Houston Ballet in 1989, was promoted to Principal Dancer by 1996 and danced there until 2004. During his years at the ballet, he danced around the globe, receiving praise from national and international critics. Dominic has also danced the contemporary repertoire and has had many ballets created for him. In 2002, he formed Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, a Houston-based contemporary ballet company. He shared how when people come in and are willing to experience the beauty of dance, they can be surprised at just how it speaks to them.

David Crossley is president and founder of Houston Tomorrow, where his focus is on urban growth issues as they relate to quality of life. He shared the predictions of how Houston will grow over the next 20-40 years, and how we will lose greenspace and the concerns that will cause. He also shared theories of how the city could grow smartly, so that people could live in communities where they could walk to everything they need, from green spaces like parks to community farms.

Mat Johnson is a novelist who sometimes writes other things. He is the author of the novels Drop, and Hunting in Harlem, the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot, and the comic books Incognegro and Dark Rain. He shared how he went from being a novelist to a comic book writer.

Dr. David Eagleman is a Neuroscientist and Author, who holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the Baylor College of Medicine. His areas of scientific expertise include time perception, vision, synesthesia, and the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system. He directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action, and is the Founder and Director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. Dr. Eagleman has written several neuroscience books; he has also written an internationally bestselling book of literary fiction, Sum, which was named a Best Book of 2009 by Barnes and Noble, New Scientist, and the Chicago Tribune. Dr. Eagleman has written for the New York Times, Discover Magazine, Slate, and New Scientist, and he appears regularly on National Public Radio to discuss both science and literature.

His presentation on how certainty is absurd, as the universe is so vast that exploring it would take millions of years, and therefore we can’t really know so many different things. When it comes to religion, he shared the term “Possibilian” which he coined while speaking on NPR. Asked whether he was an atheist or a religious person on a National Public Radio interview in February, 2009, he replied “I call myself a Possibilian: I’m open to…ideas that we don’t have any way of testing right now.” It resonated with many in the crowd.

The volunteers did an INCREDIBLE job of putting on TEDx Houston. They day ran smoothly, on time, and was well received by everyone there. Fantastic work! Congratulations again to the team at Culture Pilot, featured below, on doing such a great job spearheading the event. It was wonderful!

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