There are two typical realities in Seattle this time of year: Either we are still wearing our rubber boots, going to T-ball games under umbrellas and wrapped in fleece blankets—or, it’s shorts and tank- tops all weekend. By the time the sun finally decides to make an appearance, we are craving it so bad we’ll do just about anything to get a taste of it: that first sunburn from sitting too long at an outdoor café, the first burst of sun-warmed strawberries picked fresh from the field, the first frosty beer at a Mariners game.
When summer does roll around, we hope this issue has you fully prepped to start scratching things off the annual Seattle summer bucket list (see page 65).
This issue is all about cravings, and I also want to note a trend in something Seattle seems to be craving from a cultural—even spiritual—standpoint. Last September, I tagged along with Seattlemag.com managing editor Karen Johnson to my first TEDx gathering—a simulcast of a TEDx event in New York featuring Melinda Gates and various other thinkers presenting their Big Ideas to solve global health issues, the education crisis, you name it. Karen was already familiar with this new network while I was a relative newbie. I loved the fast-paced slideshow format and was romanced by the brilliant “out of the box” ideas. Audience members at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus that morning were hanging on every word, truly excited, and actually chatting with their neighbors, instead of taking the often standoffish Seattle stance.
As I learn more and more about these types of organizations, it becomes evident that this is a movement made for Seattle, with our pioneering, entrepreneurial community. On page 84, Karen reports on this fascinating subculture and introduces you to the thought leaders driving these groups locally. What I especially love about these gatherings is that they are usually “cross-platform” in nature; they’re not all about solving a global health crisis (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but in many cases, are simply evangelizing a personal passion. After TEDx, I learned that a good friend of mine in Portland did a six-minute Ignite (a locally developed group) presentation on the ice sport of curling, and Seattle magazine writer Shannon Borg—who wrote much of our October 2010 coffee issue—did a presentation about coffee at a PechaKucha event.
Since then, I’ve been forwarded dozens of links to YouTube clips of these presentations (as you probably have, too!), and each time I’m reminded how easy it is to get caught up in the moment when someone is speaking passionately. You become a believer, at least for the five minutes you’re watching. I started thinking that maybe what ails us is not a lack of sun, but a lack of inspiration, a lack of connection to people around us; it has been a tough couple of years economically and socially. Seattle and the Northwest are notoriously irreligious, but even if people choose not to follow traditional religious paths, it’s clear that we crave inspiration of some sort. Seattle is downright hungry for these “idea churches,” as I like to call them, and it’s a heartening trend. As much as we love to tap away on our iPads and smartphones, it’s good to know we also still want to connect and make a difference. Check out one of these events, if you haven’t already. You just might become a convert.
Until next month,