TEDx Hudson

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Thank You to All Who Participated in the Inaugural TEDxHudson.  We are pleased to announce that all of  the TEDxHudson video links are available on You Tube.

TEDxHudson – b/w photos by Zach Gross; color photos by Jack Berner

It took a city – our City of Hudson – and the wider Hudson Valley, to bring TEDxHudson to life. The Hudson Opera House is indebted to those who came on board as sponsors, speakers, participants, volunteers, and to the many farmers, individuals, and community members whose collective effort made our vision for community engagement a reality.

 

TEDxHudson Participants:

Alice Waters
Guest of Honor

Bobby Previte, Music Director; Brian Dewan and Jonathan Talbott, Musicians
TEDxHudson House Band

                        Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Ben Banks, Farmer and Environmentalist
Jamie Bennett, Arts Advocate and Grantmaker
Lisa Dolan, Educator
Kat Dunn, Bartender
Charlie N. Ferrusi, Activist
Guillermo Fesser, Journalist
Charles T. Gehring, Historian
Chris Johnson, Cultural Historian
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Environmentalist
Lady Moon, Singer/Songwriter
Jack Lindsey, Community Activist
Coss Marte, Fitness Entrepreneur
Katharine Millonzi, Gastronomist
Stephanie Monseu, Ringmistress
Eliza Nagel, Lawyer
Bruno Pasquier-Desvignes, Artist
Greg Quinn, Farmer
Pilar Ryan, Leadership Consultant, Historian, and Retired Army Colonel
Alice Waters, Chef, Restauranteur, Food Activist, and Author
Young Paris, Musician
Tim and Nina Zagat, Entrepreneurs and Publishers
and Surprise Guests Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman

BIOGRAPHIES

Ben Banks, Farmer and Environmentalist
Growing up on an organic farm in Hillsdale, NY, Banks was raised in an environment that was conscious of the ground. Having established multiple organic agriculture businesses in the Northeast, dabbled in coffee importation from Haiti, and assisted in producing and exporting organic products from the Dominican Republic, Banks has now returned to his roots. He is currently working to plan and transition Stone House Farm in Livingston, NY, into an organic and sustainable producer. Implementing the “no-till” method, the transition of Stone House Farm is based on holistic management of our land to retain and rebalance the earth and bring healthy grains and meats to local markets.

Jamie Bennett, Arts Advocate and Grantmaker
Jamie Bennett is Executive Director of ArtPlace America, the first major public-private partnership to position art and culture as the core components of community planning and development, a practice called “creative place making.” ArtPlace cultivates programs that engage the arts in an effort to shape the social, physical, and economic future of given communities. To date, they have invested $56.8 million through 189 grants in communities of all sizes across the United States. Prior to ArtPlace, Jamie was Chief of Staff and Director of Public Affairs at the National Endowment for the Arts, Chief of Staff at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, and has held leadership positions at the Agnes Gund Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, Art21, HERE Arts Center, Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, and Studio in a School. | @sarmoti

Brian Dewan, Musician, TEDxHudson House Band
Brian Dewan is a multi-media artist who produces music, audio-visual performances, decorative painting,furniture, poetry, filmstrips, illustrations, and musical instruments. He has released three albums of songs and performed extensively in clubs and concert halls as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles.He lives in Catskill, New York.

Lisa Dolan, Educator
Dolan has spent her life creating a culture of literacy in her home, her local schools, and her community.Born and raised in Hudson, Dolan earned a B.S. in Business from Siena College and an M.S. in Education from The College of St. Rose, which led to a 30-year career as an educator. In 2009, she co-founded and currently co-directs the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, the largest children’s book festival in New York State. She is also the founder and Site Director of the “Hudson Reads” mentorship program, pairing members of the community with students for weekly reading sessions at the MC Smith Intermediate School. Dolan also writes a weekly book review/musings on life column for the Columbia-Greene Media called “Lisa’s List.”

Kat Dunn, Bartender
Kat Dunn, of Barside Manner, a cocktail creation and hospitality consulting company, has quenched the thirst of many from Nantucket, Boston, and New York. She currently runs the cocktail program at Fish & Game, Zak Pelaccio’s farm-to-table restaurant in Hudson. Dunn has been tending bar for decades in all shapes and sizes of establishments. From dive bar to cocktail bar, casual dining to fine, she has blended her experiences to create a hospitality-driven style embracing seasonal and locally driven cocktails, a dose of classic cocktail culture and a genuine connection with the guest. She can usually be found in a watering hole laughing too loudly and drinking a Rye Old Fashioned or wet Plymouth martini, depending on her mood.

Charlie N. Ferrusi, Activist
Charlie Ferrusi is an impassioned activist for civil rights,seeking to bring justice and liberation to people of trans experience, people of color, and those who are HIV positive. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Public Health at New York University, where his research is related to HIV prevention, transgender health, LGBTQ youth, and health education. Ferrusi is the Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies. Additionally, he is working as a Graduate Assistant at the NYU LGBTQ Student Center and a Teaching Assistant at the Global Institute of Public Health. Charlie also serves as the Secretary of Queer Union, a Steering Committee Member at LGBT Health Link, and a member of ACT UP NY. Born and raised in Hudson, Ferrusi enjoys farmers markets, homemade ice cream, and craft beers.

Guillermo Fesser, Journalist
Guillermo Fesser is a Spanish journalist mostly known in his country for his innovative morning radio talk show, Gomaespuma, which ran 20 years and had over1 million listeners. Fesser studied journalism at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and film making at the University of Southern California via a Fulbright scholarship. He has written scripts with his brother, film director Javier Fesser, and directed the movie Candida. Guillermo has edited and hosted news programs for Spain’s Public Television, TVE, and produced a puppet series for Tele5, based on the advice of puppeteer Kermit Love, the creator of Big Bird. Fesser lives with his family in Rhinebeck, New York, where he broadcasts weekly stories on life in small-town America to Onda Cero Radio in Spain, writes for the Sunday Magazine of El Pais, and blogs for The HuffingtonPost. | @Gomaespuma

Neil Gaiman, Author
Neil Gaiman’s novels, graphic novels, comics, and films have won many awards including the 2009 Newbery Medal, and 2010 Carnegie Medal in Literature for The Graveyard Book. Neil’s latest novel is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He is also working with UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Charles T. Gehring, Historian
Charles T. Gehring was born in Fort Plain, an old Erie Canal town in New York State’s Mohawk Valley. Gehring began his study of the Dutch language during his postgraduate work at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität inFreiburg, Germany. It was here he first realized his future research lay much closer to his original home.His PhD dissertation was a linguistic investigation of the survival of the Dutch language in colonial New York. For over three decades as Director of New York State Library’s New Netherland Project, he has translated the official records of the Dutch colony and promoted awareness of the Dutch role in American history. He continues that work as Director of the New Netherland Research Center. Gehring is a fellow of the Holland Society of New York. In September of 1994, Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred on him the distinction of Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Chris Johnson, Cultural Historian
Contributing to the contemporary scholarship surrounding African American culture, Chris Johnson looks to the past and the present for defining symbols.Johnson is currently an independent scholar, most recently an Assistant Professor of Culture and Mediaat Eugene Lang College in New York City. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar, both teaching and doing research, at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universitat in Münster, Germany and a Research Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University, Johnson has focused on the role African culture has played in shaping ideas in American society. He and his wife reside in New York City and Hudson. | blackvistas.com

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Environmentalist
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s reputation as a resolutedefender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn over 185 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe. Kennedy serves as Vice Chair and Chief Prosecuting Attorney for Riverkeeper and Chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance. He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada to successfully negotiate treaties protecting traditional homelands.He is credited with leading the fight to establish the New York City watershed agreement, which is regarded as an international model for sustainable development. Among Kennedy’s published works are The New York Times’ bestseller Crimes Against Nature (2004), The Riverkeepers (1997), two children’s books, and numerous articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, and many other publications. | @riverkeeper, @RobertKennedyJr, riverkeeper.org

Lady Moon, Singer/Songwriter
Lady Moon, aka Ngonda Badila, is a singer/songwriter and youth instructor of the arts at Manhattan Youth.Brooklyn based, born in Paris, and raised in Hudson with a traditional background in African dance and musical theater, Lady Moon currently plays solo with her autoharp, leads Lady Moon & The Eclipse (an Afro Soul band she created), and sings backup for Astro Soul band King Holiday and Kamr American artist BOCHAN. She was featured on BET’s 106&Park Wild Out Wednesday music countdown after winning Hunter’s Got Talent. After moving to NYC in 2011 to study music at Hunter College, Lady Moon has performed in numerous venues in the city, including Mercury Lounge, Pianos, The Bitter End, and The Bowery Electric. Lady Moon is known for having a very versatile vocal range and style with sincere and heartfelt lyrics. | @1LadyMoon, facebook.com/ladymooneclipse

Jack Lindsey, Community Activist
Since 2003, Jack Lindsey has lived full-time in Ancram,a small rural community in the Hudson Valley, where he has promoted active citizenship. He is currently Chairman of the Ethics Board for the Town of Ancram and was integral in the adoption of the Town’s Ethics Law. He volunteers as a member of the Ancram Preservation Group, which works to preserve Ancram’s surviving architectural and cultural history and also serves as a board member to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Association, a small grassroots group that focuses on Ancram residents who are in need of nourishing food and a helping hand. Prior to moving to Ancram, Jack worked for 18 years as a Curator at the Philadelphia Museum of ArArt and was published widely in that field.

Coss Marte, Fitness Entrepreneur
In 2009, Coss Marte was sent to prison as the ringleader of a multi-million dollar cocaine operation. Grossly overweight and warned by his physician that his current lifestyle would likely kill him, Marte started to get in shape using the tools he had: his prison cell and his own body weight. Within a year he had lost 70 pounds and replicated his successful formula of body weight exercises for 20 other inmates. Four years later he was released early for good behavior. Coss was working at Goodwill Industries when he met Mike Rothman, Co-Founder of Thrillist. With Rothman’s mentorship, Marte started Coss Athletics: prison-style bootcamp classes for paying professionals several times per week. Coss then entered his personal training concept into a business plan competition focused on ex-offenders and won, earning him additional opportunities from executives at the NYSE and Gilt. @CossAthletics, cossathletics.com

Katharine Millonzi, Gastronomist
An ethno-botanist and gastronome, Katharine Millonzi has worked with agriculturalists and policymakers in Kenya, India, Brazil, the Balkans, and across Europe, exploring the relationship between culture and food. Previously, she directed the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program at Williams College, was head of staff at the New Economics Institute, and has consulted for a wide range of food-craft enterprises in New England. Millonzi was a 2007 Fulbright Fellow in Italy, where she spent eighteen months researching traditional food production and identity, amassing expertise on farm-based tourism and marketing. Her commitment to regional food systems has led her to the Hudson Valley to co-found FarmShare, an agritourism consultancy business. She is a native of New York City and the Berkshires, and is currently writing a book of stories about Balkan food culture called Fish on Fire. | katharinemillonzi.com, farmshareny.com

Stephanie Monseu, Ringmistress
With skills in juggling, clowning, sword swallowing,broken glass walking, and fire eating, variety artist Stephanie Monseu co-founded the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus with Keith Nelson in 1994. Combining classic circus tradition, sideshow stunts, novelty amusements, and vaude-villainous variety into a spectacle for the 21st century, the Cirkus’ roots go deep into New York City’s underground transgressive performance art scene. Originally created for mature audiences only, the Cirkus now entertains folks of all ages, and has grown into a far-reaching nonprofit arts organization. Educational and mentoring programs for youth, touring, and theatrical productions are the mainstays of Bindlestiff’s activities today. | @Bindlestiff, Bindlestiff.org

Eliza Nagel, Lawyer
After a successful, decade-long acting career in New York and LA, which included appearances on numerous television shows including Sex and the City and Carnivale, as well as awards for her independent film work, Eliza Nagel embarked on a year-long trip around the world that included a life-changing visit to Cambodia. It was on this trip that she decided to study international law; four years later, she graduated cum laude from Rutgers Law School. While in law school, her article: “For the People or Despite the People,” was published by Rutgers Law Review. Her passion for working with juvenile offenders led Nagel to move back home to the Hudson Valley after passing the bar. She is now a Clinical Fellow in the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic at Rutgers School of Law, currently representing 42 youths in custody.

Amanda Palmer, Singer/Songwriter
Amanda Palmer is a songwriter, singer, and blogger first known as the front-woman of the punk/cabaret band The Dresden Dolls. Called the “social media queen of rock and roll,” Amanda gave a popular TED talk “The Art of Asking” about crowdsourcing, couchsurfing, and trust, and is about to publish a book with the same title.

Bruno Pasquier-Desvignes, Artist
Bruno Pasquier-Desvignes has made art a way of life.He has filled countless sketchbooks of his travels in Jamaica, South America, France, Nepal, Katmandu,and upstate New York. His art uses whatever is at hand. For his animation film, The Song of Roland, he used corks and toothpicks, and he filled Grand Central Station in New York City and the Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires with his Musical Bicycle sculptures. In 1998, Roberto Edwards invited Pasquier-Desvignes to Chile. This meeting produced their collaborative book, Cuerpos Pintados, and the creation of IntegrArte, a program of social integration that recycles the discards of the world into art.For seven years he directed IntegrArte in Chile, Peru, and Argentina. Bruno now directs the program in Hudson, NY, and in Hyeres, France. Free of cost,IntegrArte inspires the young, the old, the rich, and the poor in the discovery of their own creativity and sense of community. | brunopdv.com

Bobby Previte, Music Director, House Band TEDxHudson
Bobby Previte’s first stage appearance came at the Niagara Falls Talent Show, where, guitar in hand and adorned in an over-sized suit, he belted out a solo rendition of Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog. Eight years later, thinking drumming might be a good way to get girls, he fashioned a bass drum from a rusted garbage can, a kick pedal from a wire coat hanger wedged between two pieces of linoleum, tom toms from upside-down trash bins, cymbals from aluminum pie plates, and a box of loose junk for a snare, practicing for years before eventually starting a band, the “Devil’s Disciples.” Strolling in the East Village one afternoon, he peered inside a limo and suddenly found himself face to face with Jimi Hendrix. Thinking fast, he unfurled the poster of Jimi he had fortunately just acquired, then looked on in astonishment as Hendrix smiled and flashed him the peace sign. All the rest, as they say, is noise.

Greg Quinn, Farmer
Known as WNYW’s “Garden Guy,” Quinn’s passion for nature, gardening and cooking has guided his life’s work. From teaching at the New York Botanical Garden for over 25 years to his on-air role on WNY WTV to his 8 children’s books, Quinn has dedicated his life to the garden. Quinn’s specific interest in the benefits of black currants sparked his motivation to find a way to cultivate them. Working with leading experts in the field, Quinn met his first challenge: lifting New York State’s commercial cultivation ban on the crop. With this success, Quinn brought the first potentially-viable new crop to the farmers of New York in more than a half century. His company manufactures and sells the first domestically produced, nationally available currant products in the U.S. under the brand CurrantC™ All Natural. | currantc.com

Pilar Ryan, Leadership Consultant, Historian, and Retired Army Colonel
Pilar is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds an M.A. and Ph.D.from the University of Pennsylvania. During her 27-yearArmy career, including command of Bravo Battery,1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery Regiment, and a professorship at West Point, she has studied and taught how individuals transform organizations and institutions. Pilar has led leadership and diversity programs in both the military and civilian worlds. The Women’s Leadership Exchange recognized Pilar with the 2013 Compass Award, awarded to those “who have shifted the paradigm of how women are perceived as leaders.” | @GandiaLeadershp

Jonathan Talbott, Musician (violin), TEDxHudson House Band
Jonathan Talbott, founder of Music Coalition of Columbia County, focused in the past on jazz and world music performance. His new work, Hearts for Jaguar, composed for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, is inspired by Talbott’s other occupation: tracking animals in an educational capacity.

Alice Waters, Chef, Restaurateur, Food Activist, Author and Guest of Honor
Pioneering a culinary philosophy based on using the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients from local and sustainable sources, Alice Waters co-founded the restaurant Chez Panisse and helped launch the “locavore” movement. In an effort to share these principles, Waters led the creation of the nationally recognized Edible Schoolyard: a one-acre garden, adjacent kitchen-classroom, and “eco-gastronomic” curriculum. Actively involving 1,000 students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a public education program model that instills the knowledge and values needed to build a humane and sustainable future. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, whose national agenda integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of public schools across the United States. Waters is Vice President of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food traditions and has 100,000 members in over 130 countries. | @AliceWaters, chezpanisse.com

Young Paris, Performing Artist
Raised in Hudson by a Congolese father and Afro-American mother, Young Paris (aka Milandou Badila) blends his African background with a take on contemporary music. Young Paris and his 9 brothers and sisters come from a family of artists. His father, Elombe Badila, was co-founder of the First National Ballet of the Congo, which brought peace to many villages and united them in dance during Congo’s independence in the 1960s. His mother Pamela, Dancer Emeritus with Les Grands Ballets d’ Afrique Noirs, joined his father’s company in Paris. Young Paris started writing songs when he was sixteen and was discovered by Steve Durand and Melissa Auf der Maur, who asked him to rap over an indie rock track. Young Paris is now a producer and songwriter who has worked with artists from all over and is introducing the world to a new genre – Rap Electronic with an African twist.

Tim and Nina Zagat, Entrepreneurs and Publishers
Tim and Nina Zagat co-founded the Zagat Survey in1979 as a way to collect and correlate the ratings of New York restaurants by their friends. The Survey now covers over 70 cities, with reviews based on the input of hundreds of thousands of individuals. In addition to restaurants, Zagat guides now rate hotels,nightlife, shopping, and golf courses. In 2012, the Zagat Survey became part of Google. Tim has served in various prominent civic, cultural, and charitable capacities. He is currently a board member of the Partnership for NYC, the World Travel & Tourism Council, and NYC & Company, the official marketing,promotion, and tourism arm of New York City, which he chaired twice. Nina was named one of the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World by the Star Group, one of Crain’s Top Tech 100, and one of Crain’s New York 100 Most Influential Women. Prior to founding the Zagat Survey, Tim and Nina were prominent attorneys in New York. They reside in New York City and Pine Plains, NY.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks, video, and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

 

 

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