Ignite Phoenix 15: What We Liked, Learned, and Can't Stop Thinking About

Categories: Events, Reviews

Mr. Anathema Photography/Ignite Phoenix
Friday night's crowd was a near-mirror image of the scene at Ignite Phoenix 14, held earlier this year in April.

Ignite Phoenix 15, the latest installment in the biannual lecture series, took to the stage at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night, as 18 Valley residents shared stories in front of what has come to be an expectedly packed house. The two-hour production allots speakers five minutes and 20 slides each, and the rules end there.

Past Ignite nights have played host to an array of topics: stories of spending 24 hours in a Walmart, rundowns of badass female role models, and conversations titled "The Art of Talking to Strangers."

Friday night was no exception, bouncing from space exploration to yeast to bow ties to ninjas in under 40 minutes -- and that was just the first half. Some gave us pause, while others prompted follow-up conversations on car rides homes. Here are five of our favorites.

See also: 5 Must-Attend Lectures in Metro Phoenix this October

Best Use of Social Media
Twitter is a place to connect with community, both in the broad scheme and small spectrum. From co-workers to city leaders to celebrities, nearly everyone who's anyone is on Twitter. Through retweets and replies we make and maintain connections with followers and friends alike. These kinds of interactions are viewed not only as legitimate conversations, but opportunities. Even Ignite Phoenix encourages audience members to Tweet and Instagram during lectures, while it's commonplace for presenters to update their feeds from backstage. Kelly Haskins is one of those presenters, whose own engagement on social media with a group of NASA nerds found her in a seat at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on the eve of a real-life launch. Her community-driven story helped kick off a night of otherworldly inspiration. "My online community got my closer to my dreams," she said. And to the stars.

Janessa Hilliard
Aaron Kimberlin discusses the bow ties on Phoenix celebrities Steve Nash (left) and Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World at Ignite Phoenix 15.
Best How-To Demonstration
Aaron Kimberlin can tie a bow tie -- properly, and, dare we say, dapperly -- in 15 seconds. Seriously, we saw it. Dressed in the hipster uniform of double-cuffed dark denim jeans, a vest, and Vans, Kimberlin led us through the motions, showed us slides of the tie's different varieties (with adorable animal-inspired monikers like "bat wing" and "butterfly"), and proved that gone are the days of belonging solely to Groucho Marx or Teddy Roosevelt. Bow ties have now been re-appropriated, adorning bearded twenty-somethings who wear them on bike rides and use them to catch missed swigs of craft beer. Kimberlin refrained from relying on the stereotypical too heavily. Instead, his presentation aimed for a feeling of the grandiose like the tie itself, comparing the types of bow tie wearers to the greater Phoenix community, and giving a shout out to the local suppliers of old -- Hanny's, to be exact -- which elicits a certain feeling of sophistication and style, then and now.

Location Info


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General


40 N. 1st St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault