Skip to main content

Second Annual TEDxPhoenixville Coming to Colonial Theatre September 24th

The Colonial Theatre, a cultural landmark in the revitalized steel town of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, will host a truly unique gathering later this month. TEDxPhoenixville, scheduled for Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 10am – 3pm, will feature a variety of lively speakers, compelling performers and an inspiring exchange of ideas with an engaged audience. Tickets are $20 - $30 and include a catered buffet lunch.Tickets can be purchased at

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at

About TEDx

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. At TEDxevents, a screening of TEDTalks videos -- or a combination of live presenters and TEDTalks videos -- sparks deep conversation and connections. TEDx events are fully planned, coordinated and funded independently.

About TEDxPhoenixville

In the northwestern suburbs of one of the country's arts and culture epicenters is a community forged by a colorful history and poised for a promising future.Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, thirty miles from Philadelphia (reachable by automobile, kayak or bicycle), is a thriving community full of individuals interested in learning, growing, evolving. It’s the perfect place for spreading positive ideas!

TEDxPhoenixville, the first TEDx event in the region, celebrates the creative, innovative and inspiring work happening right here and all around the world. Our objective is to present thought-provoking ideas via an annual day-long event featuring compelling speakers and performers. A review of the 2010 event, Joy Ride, can be found at

The organizing committee has playfully labeled this year’s conference MindBlender, reflecting their interest in exploring how the brain and the mind work via the arts, science and technology; and how a lively mixture of ideas and people can lead to inspiration and innovation.

Speakers and performers for the second annual TEDxPhoenixville event include:

Stacey Cruise

Stacey Cruise is the Chief Executive Officer of American Paradigm Schools and one of the founders of the First Philadelphia Charter School for Literacy and Tacony Academy Charter School. Prior to working as the Lead Executive for APS, Cruise had a noteworthy career piloting primary education initiatives. She served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer for New Foundations Charter School in Philadelphia, Director of Program Expansion for Foundations, Inc. in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and was Founder and Director of Literacy 1st, Inc. in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Cruise has worked to build inclusive and safe schools for staff and students. Her management style focuses on productive change and school improvement which ensures obtainment of No Child Left Behind mandates. She has a longstanding commitment to expanding quality educational experiences for every student and leads her staff in monitoring the success of students’ achievements on national, state, and local assessments. Cruise obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College, an MA in Education Administration from Arcadia University and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Education Administration at Walden University.

Kyo Daiko

Founded in 2005, Kyo Daiko is a community-based group, which is the result of a collaboration between Settlement Music School and Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. The group is led by instructor Kristopher Rudzinski who is a member of the Settlement Music School percussion faculty. Mr. Rudzinski has performed with the group Taikoza, as well as studying with Taikoza’s founder, Mr. Marco Lienhard. Kyo Daiko performs regularly at schools and community events, and has performed at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C., the Phillies pre-game show and the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA).

Albert Maysles

Albert Maysles is a pioneer of Direct Cinema who, with his brother David, was the first to make nonfiction feature films (GIMME SHELTER, SALESMAN, GREY GARDENS) where the drama of life unfolds as is without scripts, sets, interviews or narration. His first film, PSYCHIATRY IN RUSSIA (1955) he made in transition from psychologist to documentary filmmaker. In 1960 he served asco-filmmaker of PRIMARY. His 36 films include WHAT''S HAPPENING? THE BEATLES IN THE USA (1964), five film of the projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1972 to 1995), and a sixth, THE GATES (2007), MEET MARLON BRANDO (1965) and three documentaries for HBO. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1965), a Peabody, an Emmy, five Lifetime Achievement Awards, the award for best cinematography at Sundance (2002) for LALEE'S KIN which was also nominated in 2001 for an Academy Award and the Columbia Dupont Award (2004). In 1999 Eastman Kodak saluted him as one of the 100 world’s finest cinematographers.

Josh McLane

During his undergraduate studies as an Environmental Economics major at Colgate University Josh gained an appreciation for the disproportionate burden of social, environmental, and economic issues that plague Sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired to give something back to the world prior to embarking on a professional career he made a direct connection to the locally owned Kao LaAmani orphanage in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania and set off shortly after graduation. Beyond the friendships that he established with the orphanage family, Josh was able to leave an impact by starting a pig farming project that will give the orphanage the financial means to provide for themselves. He is in the process of founding The Amani Project, Inc., a small not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children in the developing world achieve their potential and currently lives in Chicago where he works as a consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Amy Ellis Nutt

Amy Ellis Nutt is an enterprise writer at The Star-Ledger where she has worked for the past 13 years. Among her numerous national honors, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing this year. Nutt is a 1977 graduate of Smith College and has Masterss degrees from M.I.T. (Philosophy) and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before becoming a writer, first at Sports Illustrated and then at The Star-Ledger, Nutt taught philosophy at Tufts University. She was selected to be a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at HarvardUniversity in 2004-2005, and recently published a new book "Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man's Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph," which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. On a personal level, Nutt was born on Staten Island and grew up the middle of five children in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Unbeknownst to her parents, she lost 80 percent of her hearing as an infant. At the age of five her deafness was discovered by a doctor and she underwent a simple operation to restore her hearing. The newness of sounds inspired a life-long fascinationwith, and love of, language.

The Wittchen Initiative

The Wittchen Initiative debuted in early 2008, almost a year after the three Wittchen women put their heads together and brainstormed how they might all be able to perform together. After a friend suggested they perform at his bi-annual winter party, the ladies quickly added Dan Nosheny, aka TubaDan, to their roster and began arranging tunes that run the gamut from jazz standards to country to pop and hard rock. After the solid success of their private performances in the Spring of 2008, the band gave their first public performance in September 2008 to an enthusiastic crowd at the Old Moravian Chapel in Bethlehem, PA. Since then, they have performed at a variety of venues throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. In March 2010, they headlined at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Harp Conference in Alexandria, VA. The band’s mission is to surprise audiences by the harp’s versatility beyond traditional music genres. To that end, they have created arrangements of an eclectic mix of tunes that run the gamut from jazz standards to country, pop, Broadway and hard rock.

Team DARwIn

Team DARwIn aims to develop the most advanced humanoid robot in its class. The team is advised by Prof. Dennis Hong at Virginia Tech and Prof. Daniel Lee at the University of Pennsylvania, and their robot, the DARwIn-OP, is a 18 inch tall, fully autonomous humanoid robot. The initial goal of Team DARwIn was to compete in RoboCup, a tournament where teams from aaround the world engineer kid-sized humanoids to play 3 on 3 soccer matches, autonomously without anyhuman intervention.

This past summer, Team DARwIn took the world by storm in the international competition in Istanbul by winning the tournament with a combined 74-7 goal differential. Bringing this incredible technologyback home, the researchers on the team are both improving their technology and expanding to a larger range of applications. In the future, these robots will take care of some of the tasks that humans don’t want to do – be that dangerous, dull or dirty. Two of these researchers are Stephen McGill and Seung-Joon Yi. Stephen McGill is now a second year PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania studying intelligent human robot interaction. Seung-Joon Yi is a visiting PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania from Seoul National University in Korea examining reliable bipedal locomotion. Stephen and SJ will accompany Darwin to TEDxPhoenixville.

Trish Sie

Trish Sie has a degree in music from the University of Pennsylvania, is a former championship ballroom dancer, a choreographer, and director. Sie is also the creator, composer, and writer of the musical science-based children's show, The Snark-a-Snoops, based in Los Angeles. She is well-known for her viral music videos, most notably the "treadmill dance" video "Here It Goes Again" which she created, choreographed, co-produced and co-directed with the rock band OK Go, a group fronted by her brother Damian Kulash. In 2010, Sie teamed up again with OK Go to create, direct and choreograph "the dog video" for the song, "White Knuckles," which garnered more than a million hits in the first 24 hours after it was posted online. In yet another single, uninterrupted shot, the band is dancing with 12 trained dogs, a variety of furniture pieces and one goat. The video features rescue dogs and proceeds from the project benefit the ASPCA's animal rescue efforts. In 2011, Sie created and co-direct a project with OK Go and modern dance troupe Pilobolus. The resulting video for the song "All Is Not Lost" features the band and members of the troupe in blue leotards crawling, wiggling and tumbling across a glass surface while the camera beneath looks upward toward the ceiling. The video was released as an interactive HTML5 application designed for the Google Chrome Experiment. The HTML5 version was posted to website "" in addition to a traditional video posted on YouTube. The interactive HTML5 version allows the user to enter a custom message that is embedded into the finale of the video.
  • 2006 Grammy Award, Best Short Form Music Video, OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again”
  • 2006 YouTube Award, Most Creative Video, OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again”
  • 2006 MTV European Music Awards Nominee, Best Music Video, OK Go’s “A Million Ways”
  • 2007 Featured Director, Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase, Cannes
  • 2008 Featured Director, Creativity Magazine “Watching the Directors: 25 Exciting New Directorial Talents for 2009”

Amy Walker (Speaker and Co-Host)

Amy Walker is an artist of many media. Her online videos have garnered over 20 million views on YouTube and beyond, from the viral "21 Accents", to memorable characters, songs, stories, and musings on being human. She recently collaborated with Jack White and Third Man Records, to produce the single “A Discourse on Accents”, available from iTunes and Third Man Records. The success of her one-woman shows and videos landed her on the TODAY Show, NPR, InsideEdition... and inspired the film Connected, which is being produced by the global community at As a director and teacher, Amy has tapped the truth in artists all over the world, from productions to workshops and private coaching. She is insatiably interested in the unique juice thatfuels the human spirit, and dedicates her life to awakening the full potential within herself and others.

Cliff Hillis (Co-Host)

Singer-songwriter Cliff Hillis’ current album “The Long Now” features his longtime backing band, the Forward Thinkers as well as guests including Eric Bazilian of The Hooters, Danny Wilde of the Rembrandts and California pop troubadour Willie Wisely. Hillis handled much of the vocals, rhythm and lead guitars, bass and keyboards himself. Hillis has been raising his profile nationally over the years with song placements in movies (“Enough” starring Jennifer Lopez), and TV shows “All My Children”, “Party of Five,” “Roswell” and “Jake 2.0.” Additionally, in early 2010 Cliff’s music was featured in three episodes of the TV show “Life Unexpected” on The CW. Residing in Phoenixville, PA Cliff has received area honors winning both the East Coast-based Spark Magazine’s Best Singer-Songwriter and Out & About Magazine’s Best Male Songwriter awards in 2007. Cliff performs solo acoustic and with his band regionally. He also was a long time member of John Faye’s band IKE, and has performed and written with such area artists such as Lauren Hart, Scot Sax and Eric Bazilian & Jeffrey Gaines.

Tickets and Pre-Party

Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for members of the Colonial Theatre at the producer level and above, and $20 for seniors, students and children. All tickets include a catered buffet lunch. Purchase tickets and learn more at Or email the committee at

Attendees are encouraged to join the organizing committee, speakers, event sponsors and fellow TEDxers at a pre-party on Friday, September 23 from 7pm – 9pm at 235 Bridge St, just a few doors down from The Colonial. Light food and Sly Fox beer will be served. The cost for this event is $5. The highlight of the eveningwill be a rousing round of Powerpoint Karaoke – the perfect pre-TEDx ice-breaker!

TEDxPhoenixville Organizing Committee

The TEDxPhoenixville organizing committee includes Kirsten Van Vlandren, Assistant Director, The Colonial Theatre; Kelly Stoetzel, TED Content Producer; Todd Palmer, advertising agency Creative Director; community members and TED enthusiasts Jay Brown and Tyler Donald; artists Helene Calci, Christopher Borai, Nicole Wolf and Kelly Sharadin; and Kimberton Waldorf School student Julian Romano.


Popular posts from this blog

Local Non-Profit Spotlight: You Are Worth It Foundation

The You Are Worth It Foundation is a grassroots homeless and in-need outreach group from Phoenixville, PA. Around Phoenixville recently asked Chris Brickhouse for some more information about the Foundation and how you can help: Tell us a little about You Are Worth It and how it got started: We are a homeless outreach organizations serving Phoenixville, Pottstown, Norristown, Center City and Kensington in Philly and constantly expanding. We were formed in early 2018 by Dina Rowan and I came on board last June. We have roughly 15 volunteers so far and would like to expand that to expand our reach. We take donated items directly to the people. We provide them with a hot meal and new or lightly used clothing and self-care products. We have long term goals of a mobile shower center, vocational training and assisting with housing in any way possible. What kind of items do you need? We take a wide array of items - individually packaged food, canned goods, ramen, protein bars, water, s