Our 2016 Fascinating People, moving audiences with their words

Musical numbers, space chats, sound advice, book readings, and a huge dose of inspiration to be more active in your community. Here’s our RVANews 2016 Fascinating People event recap. We get misty even thinking about it.

Well, we somehow made it happen. Wednesday, February 24th, we got 13 of our very favorite people in one room, then we sold out that room way more quickly than we expected to, and then some of us may or may not have been paralyzed by tornado fear.

In case you missed it, or in case you want to relive it, here’s our pictorial recap.

fp16 setting up
The Coalition Theater, guys, is a fantastic space to have events.

susan rvanews FP 2016
Here’s Susan, pointing out something or other. Probably an explanation of how this event/designation came to be–she talks to people a lot and was fascinated most by these 13. That’s really it in a nutshell.

joan bowling
Joan Bowling told us all how to tell our own stories (start writing stuff down about the interesting things about your day), kill it at parties (refer to those interesting things), do your research, and know your audience. Joan helps other people speak well through her business Joan Bowling Presents.

Cheryl Groce-Wright talked about the concept of a time bank, and how she would really like us to get that set up, possibly in the East End?

Cheryl Groce-Wright
Here’s another of Cheryl! You should stop by and see everything she’s doing at the Greater Fulton Neighborhood Resource Center.

ross weather
Oh, then we briefly paused because tornado sirens were going off and everyone’s family’s kept texting them worriedly. Then Ross showed us via iPhone map how we were going to be OK.

matt crane2
Here’s Matt Crane, talking about how working with Richmond Cycling Corps has made him realize that we all are super unaware of poverty issues facing kids right now. You could have heard a pin drop when he told us that Richmond’s poverty rate was now higher than Baltimore’s.

heather waters 1
Heather Waters! The original Fascinating Person took time out of her insanely busy schedule to talk to us about nothing. No, really, that was her topic, how what inspires her is seeing a void–like how Richmond had no competitive international film festival–and then filling it.

heather waters 2
Heather is so cool. The Richmond International Film Festival is March 3rd through March 6th at both Movieland and the Byrd. That’s next weekend! Trust us, you need to be there!

“Oh hey, it’s just me, Prabir Mehta. Suavely holding a drink and talking about my favorite thing, science. Particularly the Drake Equation.”

Prabir got volunteers to come up and hold signs that represented the Drake Equation, which not only shows us the exact way to calculate whether alien life exists, but also demonstrates how we need other people. Prabir runs a business called My Glasses Rule, and it helps nonprofits get their word out and such.

chanel bea 2
Chanel Bea of VCU’s Engaging Richmond team and of Richmond Promise Neighborhood, talked to us about how volunteering has changed her life.

chanel 3
Your community needs you, and you just need to take whatever opportunity to help out that comes up first. If it doesn’t work out, move onto the next one.

fp16 audience
The audience was rapt!

sarah fought 2
Art teacher, musician, artist, deep thinker, Sarah Fought came straight from a tough day on the job, and told us a little bit about it. Her 2015 was spent KonMari-ing her life, and now that she understands better who she is without all that distracting minutia around, she’s trying to teach that way as well.

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Then we broke for beers and bathroom breaks and some hangouts.

matt crane
Many thoughts were had and exchanged!

susan hill
Back to it, with Susan Hill of Richmond Region Energy Alliance and the Richmond Food Co-op.

susan hill 2
Susan works with two causes that require people with capital (the Haves) to make an investment in the future of their community–an investment that would benefit everyone (the Have-Nots included). It’s challenging, as you can imagine.

valley haggard
Valley Haggard did a reading of her book, The Halfway House for Writers, which you can get online or by clicking that link! She also read a composition written entirely for this event!

valley haggard boots
Valley’s main gist was that it’s entirely possible look inside yourself and find the pain points, then bring them out, and turn them into something wonderful via writing. (Her pain points would not be these boots, which we’re so glad Heaton captured via photo, because they ruled). If that seems daunting, try setting a 10-minute timer and then submitting it to Valley’s Life in 10 Minutes project! You can also find Valley teaching classes at Richmond Young Writers.

andy edmunds 2
Andy Edmunds of the Virginia Film Office slayed with a story about how much filmmakers like coming here (even though we compete with other states’ tax refund programs) because the community really enjoys having them.

andy edmunds
Everything Andy says is entertaining–he should seriously have his own show, and we would watch it–but he told an anecdote about a couple whose farmhouse was the desired location for a film. They agreed to have it be in the film “for $12,000,” which was what the studio was offering. When the time came, they said “Well, we’re ready for you guys, but we haven’t come up with the $12,000 yet.” That is how much people in Virginia love to be in films!

ellena mcconnell
Goodness gracious, adoption advocate Ellena McConnell is about to graduate from high school with the unique gift of making everyone cry. Here she’s talking about a childhood of abuse and neglect, growing up too fast, and the way her new mom changed her life. It’s impossible to even think about it without tearing up. She’s always working with Children’s Home Society of Virginia to help get the word out about how adoptions change multiple lives.

carrie rose pace
Carrie Rose Pace, our favorite meteorologist, GRTC expert, and Disney fan, illustrated the difference between living the glamorous TV life and helping a city figure out its public transportation issues. Turns out, one is more fulfilling and freeing than the other. She incorporated Disney musical numbers, for real!

black liquid 2
Black Liquid took questions from the audience…it’s impossible to even explain his vibe. You have to be there. Basically, his jam was that it’s up to you to do things. No one’s going to move you forward but yourself.

black liquid
Next question.

— ∮∮∮ —

Thanks so much to everyone who came out, everyone who spoke, and the League of Fascination that these guys are hopefully forming due to this event. League of Fascination for Mayor! The entire league!

Stay tuned for the next RVANews Live, which will be back to its regular panel format, and keep your ears and eyes out next year for Fascinating People 2017.

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