As Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown began to fill up with people last night, an excited buzz filtered through the venue.
The eighth Ignite Philly event was set to start just minutes later, and the amount of energy and enthusiasm shared by the more than 200 attendees was already at a high.
It’s something we’ve seen there before. Seven times before.
Just after 7 p.m., emcees Dana Vachon, David Clayton and co-founder of the Philadelphia Ignite branch Geoff Di Masi took the stage to kick off the event and set the mood with their lighthearted, quirky attitudes.
“We’re here to celebrate everything that’s good in Philadelphia,” DiMasi said.
As has become our tradition, we hand out some playful awards below and offer the full set list.
Ignite is the nationwide event that started in 2006 in Seattle, WA and was brought to Philadelphia in 2008, as one of the first branch offs of the original Ignite. Now in its eighth installment, Ignite Philly is a way for local organizations, mostly nonprofits, to get their word out.
Keeping with the Ignite tradition, each of the 12 speakers were given five minutes to present a talk, accompanied by a 20 image slideshow, 15 seconds per slide. The slideshows are designed to be just long enough for the speaker to touch on a topic, but short enough to keep it simple and concise.
The eight women speakers were the most Ignite Philly has ever had, said Vachon.
One by one, speakers took the stage for their five minutes of fame. The first six topics presented included a movement for people to be nicer to each other, an organization encouraging high school students to pursue entrepreneurship,promotion for boating on the tidal Schuylkill River and a boat parade, a group that holds events similar to Ignite Philly, a free hotel for artists to stay while they work, and co-housing space for residents to live as a community.
During an intermission halfway through the presentations, Ignite Philly presented a check for $1,000 to the West Philly HybridX Team, an after school program that teaches high school students how to build hybrid cars and was recently highlighted as an Ignite speaker.
“We want to give back to the community,” Di Masi said. At each Ignite Philly event, almost all of the money collected at the door goes to fund a check given to a former Ignite Philly speaker. This year, EVX Team Director Simon Hauger accepted the check on behalf of the organization.
After the intermission, the next six speakers presented their talks. These included locally sourced dinners to raise money for creative projects, a seed exchange, dinners and events devoted to getting tech savvy women together to share ideas, transforming part of Sansom Street into a pedestrian thoroughfare, a laundry business serviced entirely by bikes, and reinventing the Reading Viaduct into a social space.
At the end of the night, attendees were left teeming with inspiration, and excited about the new projects that were presented.
As always, Technically Philly has some awards to hand out, in addition to sharing the full set list.
Best Overall: “Less Garbage Juice, More With Love Xoxo” by Greg Hoy.
Not only did Hoy’s presentation cause a huge roar from the crowd, but it outlined what should be done to make Sansom Street from Broad Street to 20th Street a pedestrian thoroughfare. Hoy said the streets should be resurfaced with cobblestone, all traffic aside from foot traffic and bikes should be blocked off, and stores should be revitalized and rehabbed. The whole place exploded with cheers when Hoy introduced the idea, and they had a good reason to.
Best Impromptu Presentation: “K-House” by Geoff DiMasi and Alex Hillman of Indi Hall.
The Indy Hall coworking co-founding duo was scheduled to present only hours before their talk because another group dropped out of the event. Cleverly, Di Masi and Hillman outlined their idea of a cohousing space, Technically Philly has told you about, now called K-House (pronounced ‘ka-house!’ mimicking the interjection ‘ka-pow!’) on napkins graciously provided by Johnny Brenda’s. K-House takes the idea of a social living space, and puts it into a solid plan. It would allow residents to interact as a community, and learn common good.
Nicest: “Operation Nice” by Melissa Morris Ivone.
How could anyone disagree with the fact that being nice to people is easy? Ivone gave a list of suggestions for things to do to be nicer to everyone, including bringing baked goods to work, giving blood, and stopping to give someone directions. Now that’s nice.
Best Deal: “Philly Stake” by Theresa Rose and Brett Mapp.
What can $10-$20 get you these days? Dinner made from locally grown ingredients, dessert and free beer. During the dinner, artists make presentations that viewers vote on. The ballots are counted, and the winner receives money funded by the admission price to work on whatever creative project they wish to pursue. Good food and a good cause.
Best Recovery from Worst Introduction: (Nominated by Geoff Di Masi) “Wash Cycle Laundry” by Gabriel Mandujano and Joel Hommes.
As a for-profit business in a predominantly nonprofit event, Wash Cycle Laundry had it tough from the get go, when DiMasi declared that Ignite Philly does not usually like to have for profit organizations give talks. However, The guys of Wash Cycle Laundry totally redeemed themselves when they presented their “green” laundry service. These guys haul around 800 lbs of laundry a day in containers attached to their bikes. They ride through the city, no matter what Mother Nature brings. They service hotels, gyms and University of Pennsylvania students. Not only do they keep their service green by traveling via bike, but their dryers are energy efficient as well.
Full Set List:
1.Melissa Morris Ivone â€“ “Operation Nice”
2. Christian Kunkel â€“ “Startup Corps.”
3. Danielle Redden â€“ “Boating the Tidal Schuylkill”
4. Michelle Bland â€“ “Ig(nerd)nite Philly”
5. Krista Peel and Zak Starter â€“ “Philly Art Hotel”
6. Alex Hillman and Geoff DiMasi â€“ “K-House”
7. Theresa Rose and Brett Mapp â€“ “Philly Stake”
8. Mira Adornetto and Joel Fath â€“ “Garden Variety”
9. Tristin Hightower and Nicole Kline â€“ “Philly Girl Geek Dinners”
10. Greg Hoy â€“ “Less Garbage Juice, More With Love Xoxo”
11. Gabriel Mandujano and Joel Hommes â€“ “Wash Cycle Laundry”
12. Sarah McEneany â€“ “Reading Viaduct”