Passion, Ignition, Blast Off
Ef Rodriguez performs at Ignite Boulder 6. (photo/Andrew Hyde)
“Hipsters generally seem to lack passion,” he explained. “It’s this overriding malaise. They get excited about things, but they just as quickly seem to drop them.”
I thought about it for a second, acknowledging the various hipsters I know and considering my life recently. “I generally seem to lack passion these days,” I finally replied.
“Maybe you’re a hipster, then,” he chided me playfully.
For the week prior to Ignite Boulder 6, I pondered whether or not to go. Sure, it would be entertaining and I’d be supporting friends and seeing people I’d hadn’t seen for quite some time, but I still feel pangs of anger and resentment that my previous topic had been shanghaied from Ignite Boulder 5.
On Monday, it dawned on me that it wasn’t Ignite or the people involved I was angry with. I was angry with myself.
Though a controversial topic, discussing circumcision and the strange beliefs associated was something I was passionate about. Since my topic was thrust asunder, I had lost any passion in my life. My days have been reduced to trying to remain social, playing video games, and studying for the brain melting boredom of the LSAT and GRE. The venerable Andrew Hyde told me before Ignite 5 that I could have a slot in Ignite 6 with a different topic, but every idea that’s cropped up has been one I’m simply not passionate enough to present on.
Attending Ignite 6 last night has once again riled up the urge to present, but after watching the varied entertaining presentations I can’t imagine getting up there without passion.
Ignite 6 opened with a song by Ef Rodriguez (Pug of War), who improves every time he gets on stage. I’ve often been encouraged to try stand-up, but my fear of bombing has always kept me from trying. More than just being a comic, being an opening, warm-up comic is the most daunting position to be in. If you do well, everyone after you benefits; but if you do poorly, everyone after you suffers for it. Ef was brilliant and he proved once again why I completely respect his brand of awesome.
There was one other surprise awaiting those who attended, and that was the stunning and awe inspiring talk by Michael Brown that bookended the night. His presentation Risk and Reward wasn’t humorous or pithy. Instead, he discussed making documentaries in extreme situations. He talked about friends who had died in the process, and people who had given him a new perspective. Unlike other Ignite presentations, the crowd was silent and reverent. I could feel the magic of the moment, and it was not one I had expected.
Ignite Boulder, in previous iterations and, for the most part, in its current incarnation, has been an event designed to entertain and educate, with entertainment generally coming first. But Mike Brown completely changed that landscape. While there have been serious presentations in the past, most have seemed to flop or flounder.
It’s hard to pinpoint what was different with Mike’s talk, but one thing that clearly made a difference was passion. Mike spoke from the heart and was honest. His may not have been the most cohesive presentation or the most lively, but he was easily the most heartfelt and that went much farther than I could’ve predicted. For this, he should be lauded, and I can only hope more people follow in his footsteps.
Mike Brown ‘s Risk and Reward. (photo/Andrew Hyde)
Certainly the first and the last presentation weren’t the only highlights. Dave Burdick‘s Everything I needed to know about journalism I learned from “Ghost Busters” was fantastic. Jen Newell’s Bork Bork Bork: Swedish 101 for Foreigners was excellent. Vanessa Schneider was extremely brave in discussing her DUI in a presentation. There was even the requisite presenter who fell behind and never quite recovered (along with the accompanying inexplicable crowd support pulling her to the finish).
While I didn’t care much for the band, nor was I all that excited that they had a 45 minute intermission for Mountain Standard Time to play, they were pretty good. All in all, Ignite has once again cemented itself as an excellent event worthy of all the praise that can be sent its way.
Now i only I can find my passion again before Ignite Boulder 7…