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April 6, 2012

Tickets go on sale April 9 for 'TEDxStanford: Illumination'

After successfully piloting a TED-like event in 2011, Stanford is now launching 'TEDxStanford: Illumination,' which will be held May 19. The event features short talks and performances in a fast-paced, all-day intellectual variety show. Tickets go on sale April 9.

By Kate Chesley

Chocolate Heads Movement Band is among the performers scheduled for "TEDxStanford: Illumination" on May 19. (Photo: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service)

Tickets go on sale Monday, April 9, at 9 a.m. for TEDxStanford, an eclectic, fast-paced, all-day celebration of Stanford-related innovation, information, art, products and performance which will take place Saturday, May 19.

This first-ever TEDxStanford, which will be held in Cemex Auditorium in the Knight Management Center, also will be webcast live. The event will include an exhibition of new and innovative products developed by Stanford students, alumni and faculty.

Tickets for "TEDxStanford: Illumination" are $35 for students, $69 for faculty and staff and $99 for general admission.

The global phenomenon known as TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, was created in 1984 with a conference in Monterey. The movement's commitment to "ideas worth spreading" has since spawned offshoots, including community-based TEDx events. A TEDx is an independently organized event that offers participants the same opportunity to experience provocative and inspiring speakers, videos and performances as the famous TED events.

STAN was prototype

Last May, Stanford experimented with its own prototype of TEDx, called STAN, in preparation for this year's event, according to Melinda Sacks, director of media initiatives in the Office of Public Affairs and the event producer.

STAN, which stands for society, technology, art and nature, was an invitation-only event for 200 people held at the Arrillaga Alumni Center. Among the speakers and performers were Tara VanDerveer, women's basketball coach; Jennifer Aaker, professor in the Graduate School of Business; alumnus Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre boutique hotels; Nimbleweed, which started as a Stanford dorm jam band; and the Chocolate Heads Movement Band, a "movement driven band " comprised of dancers, musicians, visual artists, writers and performance poets referencing dance and social movements as motivating forces for the work.

"STAN showed us that the TED format – short talks integrated with performance and entertainment – is an ideal platform for sharing Stanford content," Sacks said. "We got such positive feedback from STAN attendees and those who viewed the high-definition videos of the talks online that we felt TEDxStanford was a natural next step."

Sacks said the event theme is "Illumination"—chosen in the hope that attendees, as well as those watching via the Internet, "will look at the world in a different light."

Capturing creativity

"This event captures and illustrates in one day the Stanford ethos around creativity and multidisciplinary solutions to world issues," she said.

Like STAN, TEDxStanford will be hosted by alumnus and entrepreneur David Hornik. Joining him as co-host will be alumna June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media.

"In addition to being a devoted Stanford alum and veteran TEDster, David's intense interest in a wide range of topics make him a wonderful host," Sacks said. "He can think on his feet, he makes speakers and performers feel comfortable, and he has a great sense of humor.  We're thrilled that David will be co-hosting with fellow Stanford grad June Cohen. June has been instrumental in helping TED find new ways to spread ideas since 2005."

Among this year's speakers are broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw, who will interview his daughter, alumna Jennifer Brokaw. She is the founder of the nonprofit group Good Medicine, which helps seriously ill patients and their families navigate the path of medical care.

Also among the speakers are student Martha Muna, national student director of KaeMe Foundation; alumnus Joel Stein, a Time magazine columnist; and Stegner Fellow Justin Torres, author of We the Animals. Faculty members among the speakers include Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab; Banny Banerjee, director of the Stanford Design Progam; and Ken Taylor, co-host of the radio program Philosophy Talk.

Performers include Mark Applebaum, associate professor of composition; alumna Vienna Teng, who recorded her debut album while working as an engineer at Cisco; Stanford Taiko; and the Chocolate Heads.

"We learned from STAN that variety is good, that speakers who reveal something personal or something never shared before are the most compelling, and that music, dance and other art forms greatly enhance the experience for all," Sacks said. "This is not your usual conference. Our presenters won't be giving their usual talks. We expect it to be an unforgettable day at an unforgettable place."



Melinda Sacks,, (650) 521-1908

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