20×2 Chicago: Where Are We?
On Saturday, I had the privilege of being one of 20 participants in 20×2 Chicago – an event where 20 creatives are tasked with answering the same question, in two minutes or less. Our prompt for the evening was “Where Are We?” and each of us could answer in whatever way we saw fit.
I’ve been to shows here in the past, but how cool is it that I get to take the stage at Schubas?
I know that look. Yes, I realize it’s a partial lie telling people I’ve performed at Schubas. But you know what? You’re not taking this away from me. Let’s just drop it.
With the new venue, there were a few hiccups prior to 7PM. I think their regular tech guy had to suddenly bail, and there were some complications with getting the slide clicker working. It was a Mac laptop, and there’s really not a lot to do in terms of pairing the device… but it simply wouldn’t show up.
After a few failed attempts, I offered to go out in search of a new battery (hoping this might fix the problem). Unfortunately, the closest place I could find was a 7-11 a few blocks away. The battery I needed was one of those unusual, circular ones that resemble a nickel, which I ended up eventually finding at a Walgreen’s (a few more blocks away).
When we popped in the new battery, the clicker seemed like it was working. The “Menu” button was working just fine, but all the other buttons seemed to be dead.
As I was sitting next to Cinnamon, we talked about trying to test out a presentation. She suggested I just try out mine – and so that’s what we did.
What a stroke of luck that was, as when I opened up the folder with my name on it I saw my old presentation from the prior 20×2! Luckily, I had my laptop with me and a copy of my current presentation on the desktop. I popped over to Ben (who I knew would have a USB drive on him), and got a copy back over to the presentation laptop. Crisis averted, with about 5 minutes to spare.
View of the crowd, a few moments before start time.
For my talk, I answered the “Where Are We” question by looking up all the various Felix Jungs I could find on Facebook. I noted where we all are as I found a total of 82 other Felix Jungs. We’re all over the map, in places like Burma and Costa Rica but there’s about 45 Felix Jungs in Germany.
I had this really grand plan of contacting all the Felix Jungs, and even made up a Google Form to record all their answers. Unfortunately I got zero responses to this form, and so I spent the majority of my presentation talking about the similarities and differences I could infer, based on the Facebook photos of random, other Felix Jungs.
It was a silly concept, and a lot of fun to play around with. I was genuinely surprised at how tickled the audience seemed to be, right from the start. I felt like I had a few humorous moments here and there during the talk, but folks seemed to be laughing from the start. Guess it was sillier than I thought.
// Edit: Just got a link to the video of my presentation:
Whenever I’m speaking, I tend to have a hard time concentrating on other speakers until after I’ve done my thing. I’ll sometimes take notes too, just so I can remember who did what. With a lot of the rushing around prior to the start, I didn’t end up taking any notes this time around. While everyone did a fantastic job answering the prompt, here were a few standouts in my mind:
Ben, talking about guilt and stress and worry, comparing the past and the future, and suggesting ways to live more in the present.
// Edit: Looks like he just posted up the talk!
Keidra Chaney shared with the audience stories about her father, about getting lost, and the nature of imperfect love. She was moved to tears during her talk, and many in the audience were as well. It was a powerful two minutes, and just intensely personal and real.
Rebeca Mojica makes chainmail for a living, but her talk revolved around interconnectivity and the always-interesting topic of fractals.
Saya Hillman talked about losing her job, and how she came to “say yes” to more things, eventually doing a lot of things she enjoyed as a full-time gig. I was really taken with her talk, and her decision to put a “Hire Me to Speak” section on her website made me think Hm – that sounds neat. Maybe I should try that.
Steve Delahoyde implored the crowd to stop sitting down, and to “stand up for standing.” It was a rousing speech that had the audience in stitches as always. I’m not sure if others were within earshot, but moments after he left the stage he muttered “That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.” Hilarious guy.
I can’t say how much I enjoyed participating, and how fun the whole 20×2 concept really is. I had a blast as always, and really enjoyed taking the stage with such creative, interesting, and talented folks. Doubly delighted that I got to share the spotlight with Ben – that was a first!
If you’re in Chicago and are interested in becoming a speaker, check out the event site at http://20×2.org/chicago.