Philly's First Ignite was a Smash

At the risk of exposing my provincial roots, and now that the videos are up, I’d like to throw out some props to Philadelphia for last Wednesday’s Ignite. I attended with a bit of trepidation and didn’t know quite what to expect but I was really blown away. While Boston has MIT, SF has Berkeley and Seattle has, well, Starbucks, Philadelphia proved it had a really fantastic mix of arts and socially oriented projects / talks that were uniquely Philadelphian.

Without a hint of Philly’s perennial shoulder chip, the mood in Johnny Brenda’s was two parts giddy, one part sweaty as we listened to talks from Philly Bike Share, the 100K House, Art and Poetry from UArts, Fab@Home, Etsy, The Food Trust, Indy Hall Worksharing, Jeff Stockbridge and his wonderful photographs from inside abandoned industrial era homes, No Carrier talking about Chip Music, Blake Jennelle’s talk about Philly as a vibrant locale for startups, an oddly prescriptive but delightful talk from Rick Banister about “establishing your personal aesthetic”, and too many others to list… It was absolutely not what I expected and thoroughly wonderful. Attendance was over 300 and probably 50 or more were turned away from the perfectly gritty Fishtown venue. I was turned away too, but I’m pretty resourceful.

UArts is a real force in Philadelphia’s emergent arts scene and it made a significant contribution to the evening both in participation and attendance (as an aside, they also provide space for Make:Philly’s monthly meetings).

Thanks to Geoff DiMasi, Alex Gilbert, Vanja Buvac and Far McKon for putting it all together. Bravo Zulu.

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