Attendees waited outside the Egyptian Theatre Oct. 18 for admission to Ignite Boise 9. When a red shirted volunteer called them in at 6:30 p.m., they rushed to the doors, sending a crush of eager Boiseans into the lobby.
Volunteers estimated that approximately 700 people came to see 14 presentations on a variety of topics, from James Gravatt’s explanation of how Harry Potter is a global moral phenomenon, to Brett Kennedy’s plea for Boiseans to stop giving money to panhandlers and start finding solutions to the problem of homelessness.
The rules of Ignite Boise are simple: The public is invited to participate by submitting proposals online, then a panel selects a handful of topics to be presented on-stage. Each presenter gets five minutes and 20 slides to deliver his or her message to the audience.
Some of the ideas that came out aimed for profundity. Dr. Seth Ashley, assistant professor of communication at Boise State University, delivered an examination of the eroding democratic principles of the Internet, and how gatekeepers like Google and Comcast strip meaning from the catchphrase, “The revolution will be Tweeted.”
“I come here as a concerned citizen,” Ashley said.
Other presentations were obscure or drew laughter from the audience. Jesse Baker argued that the size of hominid male genitals is an evolutionary phenomenon, and that no theory yet fully explains why humans’ reproductive organs are typically larger than those of other members of family hominidae.
“The human genitals needed to keep step,” Baker said.
Wyatt Werner, a volunteer member of Ignite Boise’s board, said that while he was excited for this Ignite Boise event, as a whole—“This one’s going to have good and goofy ideas”—he was particularly energized by some particular topics.
“It’s hard not to be excited when there’s going to be a talk about penis size,” he said.