Tag: oriental theatre

Community, bravery and vulnerability all take stage at Ignite Denver!

Three out of four people have public speaking anxiety, and we’re sure that you already know it’s the #1 phobia, outranking fear of death. Yet, somehow, Ignite Denver has managed to draw in over 325 individuals to step onto our stage and share their unique perspectives on hundreds of topics.

Why is this?  

It could be the opportunity itself. Ignite Denver gives you a stage and an audience of roughly 300 people. You get five minutes to talk about whatever sparks your passion. You get to share your story, educate people, and bring to light issues that you believe deserve greater attention.

It could be our audience. We have one of the most supportive, engaged audiences around town. New people show up every time a new show is put on, and we have countless people who have been attending our shows for years. As a speaker, you really couldn’t ask for a better group of people to serve as your crowd of fans. By and large, our audience is respectful, fun, and smart. They like to be challenged and entertained. And they’re there for our speakers!

It could be the sense of community that magically evolves around each show. Our speakers develop fast friendships, and it’s amazing to see the bonding that happens every time we get a new line-up of participants. Each group is totally unique, but similarly, quick to support each other on levels that would surprise outsiders. Even if people disagree with the ideas being presented by other speakers, they’re respectful and open-minded, and willing to offer quality feedback. That’s one of the coolest universal truths about Ignite Denver – everyone wants to see everyone else in the group succeed beyond measure.

OR! It could be our fabulous committee of volunteers. If you don’t know John Wilker, Shawna Urbanski, Ethan Crawford, Maddison Hogan, Jared Ewy or Kat Atwell, you should take a second to reach out to them. It’s highly possible one of us is writing this RIGHT NOW. Not to brag, but we’re pretty great, and we are, hands down, the biggest advocates of our speakers. Our job is to make people feel supported, get excited, and trust that we’ll do everything we can to make their experience unforgettable.

If you haven’t been to Ignite Denver before, we invite you to join us on November 1st for Ignite Denver 30. You can see for yourself why we take so much pride in the show we’ve created, and the community that continues to build. And if you’ve been to our previous shows, we definitely look forward to seeing you again!

Tuesday Two! Love for our Ignite Denver MCs

The Spark presenters at Ignite Denver are the reason so many people come out to the events, time after time. However, we also have talented and thoughtful MCs like Jared Ewy and Kat Atwell who start our evenings off right and keep the proceedings rolling along all night.

Come see Kat on Thursday, June 11th (that’s the day after tomorrow!! Buy tickets!) as she leads us through another fantastic Ignite Denver. Make sure to bring your appetite for good food and good music, as we’ll have Biker Jim’s Dogs serving up tasty grub before/during the show and Kotorino serving up gorgeous tunes at the afterparty!

And here’s Jared opening up Ignite Denver #17!

See you Thursday at the Oriental Theater!!

ID19 – Thank you, Denver!

One week has passed since Ignite Denver 19 and we still haven’t recovered from the incredible night we all had.


First off, a huge thank you to all of our presenters – your Sparks were amazing! Thanks also to everyone who voted for these great talks. Denver sure knows how to pick ’em. We’d like to thank the Oriental Theater for hosting us again. It’s like our little home away from home. But in a theater.

And a HUGE thanks to everyone in the Denver metro area who sold out this show and made their way out in a crazy snowstorm to pack the house! We created Ignite Denver for you, and we couldn’t – and wouldn’t want to – do it without you.

We began the event with the lovely Kat Atwell, our new emcee. Fresh off her Spark “How To Raise A Fucking Lady” at Ignite Denver 18, she brought the same touch of class to this event as our host. Kat guided us through inspiring travel talks by Stephanie Vail and Pete Winterscheidt, and led us through life-changing presentations by Geina Horton, Michael Kilcoyne, Angela Daniels, and Laurie Seymour. Katie Bessert showed us the data behind hiring nicer people, and Blake Harris explained how we can avoid the lawsuit lottery.

Ignite Denver 19 speakers Macy Matarazzo implored us to stop dating jerks (and showed us how to do so), and Shana Cordon walked us through the valley of our fears. Katie Mason dreamed about cuddling with cockroaches, talked about what dreams mean, and then rapped about it. Mike Sales then concluded the event by describing his life since his ultralight accident and then walked off stage to prove his point that “where focus goes, energy flows.” We all stood in tribute.

Mike Sales

Special thanks also to Andy Nicolai for being available last-minute and melting faces with his guitar at the afterparty!

This brief overview does absolutely no justice to the power and humanity and hilarity of being in the room. Please join us for Ignite Denver 20 on June 11th, 2015. (Buy your ticket now! We sold out last time!) We will have a new lineup of Sparks (submit your Spark here!) and a new special musical guest to play the afterparty. More details to come! But for now, we need a nap. Thanks again, Denver. We love you.

Hugs and High Fives,

Your Ignite Denver Committee & Volunteers

ID19 SparkPlug – Michael Kilcoyne

As we get close to Ignite Denver #19, we put out the call to our presenters to solicit pre-event blog posts to promote their Spark. With that in mind, we bring you: SparkPlugs!

Wish Me Luck

My first time ever speaking to a large, public audience was a total disaster. I forgot everything.

I was at the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT, for a summer program that my mom put me in, and it was a cool idea — a weird hybrid between college-level classes and high-school level class-trips and the occasional party.

And I had a ridiculous crush on this German girl in my acting class. I was impressed by the gumption I showed speaking with her initially — she had a rare confidence that you typically don’t see in teenagers. She was worldly, intelligent and absolutely beautiful. I felt like a pauper talking to her, just begging for some attention.

My master plan: Take a leading part in one of the scenes in the acting class I was in, absolutely kill it and seduce her with my acting chops.

Then, a week or so later, the reality: I’m standing in front of a hundred or so individuals in the audience, stammering, umming, and staring off into space, because I’d forgotten all of my lines. I wasn’t prepared. Not even close.

I just filled that dark, mysterious void with uhhhhhhhhhhh, until my director tried to help me fill it in, and ended up skipping about a third of the play.

Total. Fucking. Fail.

I think you can imagine how it turned out: The German girl ended up taking a liking to some tone-deaf, guitar-strumming hippie.

These People Are Way Cooler Than Me

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago – driven by a fit of rare confidence in myself, I decided to tackle something that I’ve been intrigued by for years, but never truly pursued: public speaking. I was staring at an application for Ignite Denver 19, a speaking event that would cease taking submissions in less than 24 hours. I threw together an idea, submitted it, and bam! One week later I got an email telling me that I’d been accepted to be one of twelve speakers performing a quick, five minute talk.

When I first heard about it, I’d wrongly assumed it would be TEDx on a much smaller stage, and wondered why they had accepted me — someone with little to no speaking credentials, discussing a topic that I had minimal expertise and wherewithal to speak about, presenting in a format that I was totally unfamiliar with.

Then, I got to meet everyone, hear their gut-wrenching, scintillating and absolutely absurd (and often hilarious) stories, and I found out something very, very quickly:

Holy shit, these people are way cooler than me.

Like the incredible story of a guy who overcame an injury that left him paralyzed from the waist-down. Just listening to the run-through of that crushed me. Or the woman who, for years, failed to find love, constantly met jerks and then through self-discovery found a way to make herself feel happy. It was genuinely one of the funniest things I’ve witnessed in a while. I hope they hand out diapers in the auditorium.

And then there’s the brilliant soul who left her hometown to go abroad and travel the world for two-and-a-half years. A few months ago, I traveled by myself for just a few days before I met up with a friend, and it almost derailed my entire life. I envy her. That takes courage.

I’m Honored

To have been selected, to be granted the opportunity to speak in front of an audience of a few-hundred folks and to be alive and well to witness such an incredible event.

It will be awe-inspiring and thought-provoking. People will cry. People will piss themselves laughing. And they’ll fall in love. And they’ll hold their breath. And they’ll get really, really mad.

They’ll feel all these feels.

And I’m just happy to be part of it. And it occurst to me: I guess I must be kind of cool, too.

Wish me luck.

 Come see Michael Kilcoyne give his Spark 5 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Lifetomorrow at the Oriental Theater in Denver!

ID19 SparkPlug – Katie Mason

As we get close to Ignite Denver #19, we put out the call to our presenters to solicit pre-event blog posts to promote their Spark. With that in mind, we bring you: SparkPlugs!

Never in a million years did I think I would get on stage to talk about cockroaches.

A friend basically dared me to submit a spark for Ignite Denver. I wanted to talk about dreams since they are foundational in how I relate to myself and the world around me. I thought I should do what any experienced dreamer would do when presenting on dreams: ask for a dream to guide the content of my talk. I have a little ritual where I ask out loud for a dream before I go to bed and then trust I get the dream I need. I should have known that I wasn’t going to get some uplifting dream image. No, that would be too easy! I was given the type of dream we would all rather avoid.

So I did what most of us do when we have an uncomfortable dream, I tried to ignore it and even pretend I didn’t want to do this talk after all. But I live for dream exploration! Who was I to back down from this image?

I started diving into this work after some lucid dreams in my early 20’s. I even moved to Denver, twelve years ago, because of a dream. I went to graduate school to study Jungian Psychology. Carl Jung provides the perfect balance for dreamwork: an analytical, theoretical approach to dreams, paired with the wisdom of indigenous dreaming cultures. I’ve taken his teachings, added my own flare and am happy to be working as a psychotherapist helping others use dreams to create healing and transformation.

Once you understand your own dream language and actively listen to your dreams, you enter into a whole new relationship with the world. Inevitably, more synchronicities occur and the interplay between waking life and dreaming becomes palpable. And that is fascinating!

Dreams will change your life, if you are willing to give them a chance. I challenge you to pay attention to your dreams, write them down, and more importantly, learn to listen to any dream that shows up. I will happily give you a taste of the transformative power of dreamwork at Ignite Denver, even if it means cuddling with cockroaches.

Happy dreaming!

 Come see Katie Mason give her Spark Cuddling with Cockroaches: The Transformative Power of Dreamwork” on Thursday, February 26th 2015 at the Oriental Theater in Denver.


ID19 SparkPlug – Macy Matarazzo

As we get close to Ignite Denver #19, we put out the call to our presenters to solicit pre-event blog posts to promote their Spark. With that in mind, we bring you: SparkPlugs!

Valentine’s Day Lied to Me.

When I was single, I wasn’t bothered by Valentine’s Day. After all, Valentine’s Day is lame, stupid and NOT environmentally friendly. It is a made up Hallmark Holiday full of LIES and tacky stuff that means NOTHING. Seriously, no matter how much LOVE there is on THAT day…in two weeks every sad, red, fluffy monkey holding a satin heart will be in a Goodwill with a bunch of other carnival prizes, or worse—ALONE. A cheap synthetic stuffed monkey who can’t even cry about his fate is now ALONE proving that VALENTINE’S day is stupid and a crock of lies.

Fuzzy Monkey

I say GOOD! Now at least some other entity, although polyester at HEART, knows the pain of the LIES of this holiday and the pain of being ALONE.

It just pissed me off.

The embarrassing truth IS, I was LYING to MYSELF.

I wanted to BELIEVE that I was BEYOND this bogus hoopla!

BUT instead, I secretly FANTASIZED about my own cheesy Valentine’s DAY moment, where my dreamy love muffin would show up at my doorstep with a pink Care Bear, a box of Snoopy chocolates from Walgreen’s, and a Mylar balloon with a Persian kitten on it…. Then after he gives it to me, we both make eye contact and EXPLODE in LAUGHTER making fun of all the kitschy ridiculous tchotchkes. And in the snorting giggles the Valentine’s dream bears FRUIT…in this moment, I FEEL SO ADORED and EXCITED THAT SOMEONE GETS ME, for me, because corny and cheesy stuff IS REALLY hilarious and he knows this about me.

THIS vision was true for me each Valentine’s Day that I endured as a SINGLE person, and there were MANY. WHAT I KNEW WAS… I was tired of LYING to myself about the importance of having a partner in my LIFE. SO I FINALLY I decided to COMMIT to doing what EVER it takes to find love. Through commitment, an OPEN MIND, CREATIVITY, meditation, PLAYFULNESS and SUPPORT… it WORKED. He showed up.

What I know NOW is that having a blissful and meaningful relationship is about experiencing those moments of HONEST connection, laughter, support and LOVE for each other. AND for me, LOVING PARTNERSHIP is the foundation of a HAPPY LIFE. So whether you are FOR or AGAINST Valentine’s Day it is a DAY that can HEIGHTEN the pain of being single but also AWAKEN you to YOUR HEARTS desires.

If you recognize that A LOVING RELATIONSHIP is what you want. KNOW YOU can have it, it is NOT outside of you but IN YOU…all you need to do is LEAN into BIG Happy LOVE.

This post was adapted from one of Macy’s newsletters that she recently sent to her mailing list – sign up at https://www.bighappylove.com. Big Happy Love offers a radical, new approach to happiness by clearing the way for women over 40 to  find and keep the love they want.

Come see Macy Matarazzo give her Spark Wake Up and Smell the Loser: Stop Dating Jerks!” on Thursday, February 26th 2015 at the Oriental Theater in Denver.

Friday Five! Five Sparks About Dating

Here we are on Valentine’s Day Eve 2015 and love is in the air. Or not. We don’t know.

While your romantic life is out of the scope of what we here at Ignite Denver are responsible for, we can share the wisdom of past presenters who have put themselves out there to explain their views on dating and relationships.

Watch these videos and then bring a date to Ignite Denver #19 on Thursday, February 26th. Or come single and meet someone there! Or resist the pressure from society and your mom to pair up and just show up, eat, drink, and watch some cool people get up onstage.

Whatever you do, buy your tickets now and take advantage of early bird pricing while it lasts!

Tim Davids: Internet Dating for Dummies

Krista Jurczenia: Cupcakes and Dating – A Comparative Study

Kelly Tidd: Bitches Love Candles and Other Courtship Fallacies

An Bui: How to Pick Up Chicks – Tips From a Totally Hetero Woman

Nora Burns: Dating, Recruiting & Zha Zha Zuu

ID19 SparkPlug – Geina Horton

As we get close to Ignite Denver #19, we put out the call to our presenters to solicit pre-event blog posts to promote their Spark. With that in mind, we bring you: SparkPlugs!

So the votes are in, and I’m going to be speaking at Ignite Denver #19. I’ve been thinking about what I want to tell the audience for months now. I’ve been listening to TED talks and podcasts, talking aloud to myself in the car, practicing and trying out what I want to say on February 26th. People in the other cars must assume I’m on a speaker phone when they glance over to see me talking in a very animated and dynamic fashion!

In the confines of my mind, however, I keep quietly asking myself “How in the fuck am I going to tell this crazy 30-year career-path story to a couple hundred people in five minutes?”

I wonder: Do I want to inspire them to grow up and be who they want to be? Or remind them to listen to their inner child and never grow up and become who that inner child knows they should be? I’m making myself crazy trying to figure out how to channel my message to the audience. Mostly I’m stressing about the slides at this point though. The FUCKING SLIDES. Oh, and no note cards! The slides have to help me REMEMBER the story that I want to tell. I did not know I couldn’t use note cards during the show!!! Crap. I can do this. I got this. But I hope the audience will be kind when I fuck up.

I tell myself that I will not curse. And, I will not tell you out loud on stage that a professional wrestler Bobby the Brain Henan once called me the “C” word when I messed up on stage…oh, wait, sorry: “in the RING”. I was the first female ring announcer for the WWF in 1984. And even though it was short lived, it makes me think of my life as a series of matches. The kind of matches that I BELIEVED I could win.

You might be wondering “How on earth did she get tied up with this shit?” Well, in 1979 at 19 years old I became a DJ, and when the WWF bandwagon carnival rolled into Denver in 1984, I was a local radio “personality” who was invited by the local concert promoter to don a white tux, get in the ring, and read the stats about each wrestler’s height, weight, etc. I found the WWF repulsive, but I got paid $100 to get in the ring in front of 10,000 people at McNichols Sports Arena and be the MC for this really weird shit.

Geina and Andre in the ring

But that’s just one teeny weeny story from this crazy career path that I’ve chosen.

Now, I need to figure out how to fit the REST of the story into a five minute presentation, with 20 slides and no swearing. I also have to pack for a trip to Hawaii, help my family get my 89 year old Dad checked into a senior center that he doesn’t want to go to, AND prepare my 2014 taxes for my appointment on March 7.

But the IRS can wait. I have a story to tell and I need to start writing.

Come see Geina Horton give her Spark Hulk Hogan Was My Career Counselor” on Thursday, February 26th 2015 at the Oriental Theater in Denver.


ID19 SparkPlug – Laurie Seymour

As we get close to Ignite Denver #19, we put out the call to our presenters to solicit pre-event blog posts to promote their Spark. With that in mind, we bring you: SparkPlugs!

The outside world is a world of opinions. Growing up you are told how you should feel and what you should think.  To the degree that you live life from the outside-in, the foundation of what you feel, do and say is dictated by the outside world.  Do the answers you get from the outside world feel soul satisfying?

If you live your life from the outside-in, your willingness to conform or desire to please interrupts your ability to connect with your inner wisdom.  Over time this becomes a self-defeating pattern. It becomes easier to conform than to act in alignment with what you feel is true. If you want to feel connected with your own life, eventually you must redirect your attention to the source of wisdom inside of you.

The outside world is a mirror, reflecting your intentions, your beliefs and your attitudes. Is there disharmony in your environment?  Is the interruption to the flow outside or within? The directionality of your perspective takes you either to judgment or to truth. Looking from outside in you see judgment.  The world of opinion is unreliable. The truth is unavailable.

When you slow down and get quiet, you know what is true, don’t you?  When you interact with your environment from the inside out you build a sense of trust in your inner resources. You must make the inner journey to build that relationship. Your perspective changes. Your own experience becomes your guide to living life.

Wouldn’t you rather live from the inside-out?

Come see Laurie Seymour give her Spark Start living ‘Inside-Out’ instead of ‘Outside-In’” on Thursday, February 26th 2015 at the Oriental Theater in Denver.

New Year, New Ignite Denver, New Sparks

Photo: Kia Ruiz
Naomi Kamla, addressing your inner sticky
Ignite Denver 15
Photo: Kia Ruiz

It’s a new year, Igniteers, and we’re excited to have another geektastic Ignite Denver on the horizon! That’s right; Thursday, February 20th at the Oriental, knowledge will be dropped. Did you make a resolution to try new things or to put yourself out there more? Perhaps you literally made a resolution to do more public speaking? If that’s the case, my friend, then I think you need to pitch a spark. We’re having an informational meeting this coming Monday, January 6th in Shift Workspaces at 6 pm so that you can find out more about the process and how to write a compelling pitch (we call them sparks because of the whole fire motif). In fact, here’s the whole freaking schedule for our workshoppes, those wonderful information sessions where we try to give you as much information as humanly possible to help you create the best Ignite presentation ever. Jan. 6 – Creating a Compelling Pitch/Spark Jan. 20 – Presenting at Ignite Feb. 3 – Creating a Great Presentation Feb. 10 – 1st Run Through **REQUIRED** Feb. 17 – 2nd Run Through **REQUIRED** These are all on Mondays at 6 pm at Shift Workspaces, so you don’t have to try and juggle different days of the week in your mind. Because we care. If you’re at all interested in finding out what it takes to submit a spark and become a presenter, we encourage you to swing by on Monday and see what all this noise is about. Happy New Year and all that jazz, Your Ignite Denver Organizers

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