RVANews Live: Fascinating People 2016

The most fascinating people we’ve talked to in the past year, talking about whatever they want (or maybe whatever you want) for a few minutes each.

Update #1 — February 14, 2016; 9:49 PM

We’ve still got some tickets left for RVANews Live: FP16 on Wednesday, February 24th! Buy ’em right here!

Between now and then, we’ll be reposting a ton of the stories that connected us with each Fascinating Person. Get stoked!

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Original — January 29, 2016

There’s this thing that happens when you go to interview someone sometimes. You sit down with them, maybe thinking you just need 20 minutes to get some quotes from them about something or other. And suddenly it’s two hours later and you’ve realized you’ve missed like three different deadlines and a lunch because you just want to listen to this person talk for the rest of your life. It’s become a thing in our office that we deem each one of those people a “Fascinating Person.”

And guess what, we keep a list.

Fascinating People 2016

Accept the wisdom of our very favorite talkers–whether we interviewed them for a story or they mesmerized a captive audience at an RVANews Live event. They’ll be doing a mixture of Q&A from the audience, Q&A from Susan, prepared presentations, and just chatting it up about whatever comes to mind–it’s their call!

Each will have just a few minutes of your time, and be assured, those few minutes will be fascinating. We will be serving food.

Get your tickets right here!

Lineup subject to change as life happens.

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Susan Hill

You may remember Susan Hill from our coverage of SolarizeRVA. No? Then maybe you remember her from our coverage of the Richmond Food Cooperative? Still not ringing a bell? How about the calm yet passionate and knowledgeable way she schooled us all on how important it is to think about the future of energy at RVANews Live #003: Bikes and Trucks? Oh, there it is!

Black Liquid

There is nobody in the world who can pontificate on basically anything with as much panache and convincing fervor as local hip-hop artist and activist Black Liquid. If you were at RVANews Live #002, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Check out his WRIR show and be prepared for some off-the-cuff prose that will either inspire you to take action or to at least take public speaking classes, because dang.

Joan Bowling

Speaking of public speaking classes, you have got to listen to Joan Bowling. Professionally, she figures out exactly what you’ve got to offer the world and helps you say it out loud. Personally…she also does that? We interviewed her so that our readers could get some gratis advice. Be prepared for her to remember literally everything about you if you meet her at this event and then you run into her a year later.

Cheryl Groce-Wright

Oh, Cheryl Groce-Wright! How we love to hear you talk about Fulton Hill and the ways in which you are working very hard to facilitate progress in a community that has been underserved for so long. Cheryl won a really cool fellowship from the YWCA, runs the Greater Fulton Neighborhood Resource Center (which you should absolutely visit and marvel at), and has many things to say about what we can all do to bring residents of a city together.

Prabir Mehta

When we have a question about something even remotely regarding science, we hit up Prabir. You might know him around town as a “guy who is always fronting entertaining bands,” but his creative marketing business, My Glasses Rule, involves a whole lot of work for the Science Museum. His personal interest in science and making science fun makes him more entertaining to listen to about it than, dare I say it, Bill Nye. Check out this thing about trees that he wrote for us, and also listen to WCVE at 8:45 AM on Wednesday mornings for Prabir’s dulcet tones to school you about science in “Question Your World.” Or, just listen to it right now.

Sarah Fought

What can one say about Sarah? Her true account of her KonMari journey was our most popular post for the entire year, and then she seriously amazed and delighted her audience at RVANews Live #004: Out with the Old–KonMari an Confederate Symbols. Here is her vibe: a chill and pleasantly emotive hugger, who is 1,000% genuine and funny at all times. Sarah is also an art teacher, and she will most likely talk about education, if we can get her riled up enough.

Andy Edmunds

The good folks at the Virginia Film Office are the people who secure the contracts with movies like Lincoln and shows like Turn and Mercy Street–yes, there are people whose job it is to court producers and convince them that Virginia is the Place to Be, So Please Come Spend Your Money Here. If you don’t think that sounds fascinating, then you haven’t heard Director Andy Edmunds speak about the whole process and how important it is for our state economy. Andy was entertaining as all get out at RVANews Live #002, and he promises to be as entertaining again!

Valley Haggard

Talented author and contributor to all sorts of publications over the years, Valley Haggard also co-runs Richmond Young Writers. In the process of helping her students get into their writing groove, she came up with a bunch of advice and whatnot. That bunch became bigger and bigger, until she ended up just self-publishing it all in a book, The Halfway House for Writers. But the book doesn’t just help you writer, it encourages you to unpack your painful moments into something therapeutic by allowing you to witness Valley unpacking her own painful moments. You can read it in one day, and you might discover yourself digging deep into your own memories before you’re even finished. That’s OK, when you do, you can submit to her website, Life in 10 Minutes.

Ellena McConnell

When we published Ellena McConnell’s story of childhood neglect, struggle, and, finally, acceptance into a new family, there were so many feelings floating around our office that we almost had to shut down and go home. Ellena is not only a 19-year-old advocate for adoption, she’s on the board of Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support, she’s involved in youth leadership at the Children’s Home Society of Virginia, and her general uplifting attitude is frigging inspiring. We could tell from her writing that she’d be a good talker, and CHS confirmed it, so Ellena has graciously offered to be with us.

Carrie Rose Pace

Is there anything Carrie Rose Pace of the GRTC doesn’t know about? Well, we’ve only quizzed her about public transportation, meteorology, geological history, and Disney, but she sure seems to know literally every single thing about those subjects. Let’s see if she can combine it all into one super-topic! No pressure, Carrie. You’d know Carrie from all of the tremendous amounts of useful GRTC/BRT information she’s in charge of getting out in a user-friendly manner, but you might also know her from RVANews Live #003: Bikes and Trucks.

Matt Crane

You probably don’t remember this, but there was this little tiny event last fall that sort of flew under the radar. It was called the UCI Road World Cycling Championships, and the entire city lost its collective mind over it. Matt Crane, of Richmond Cycling Corps was at first a resource (he’s a former pro cyclist and now cycles for the greater good). He explained to us how to even watch a Big Bike Race™, but then we shared some really emotional moments. Because you didn’t get to have the pleasure of lengthy phone conversations with him like we did, we are bringing him to you in the flesh.

Chanel Bea

A couple of us sit on a monthly committee meeting with Chanel, who’s an essential part of Richmond Promise Neighborhood and also our hearts. It’s part of our job to stay informed about a lot of East End things, and her insight into the community’s wants and needs has helped us steer our own course. We frequently yell out “CHANEL!” whenever she emails us, because we’re hoping that email will be the one where she says, “Hey, guys, do you want to just, like, hang out all the time?”

Heather Waters

Founder and producer of the Richmond International Film Festival, co-owner of the Creative World Awards, founder of the Media Industry Xchange, and president of the Virginia Production Alliance, Heather is one of the hardest-working people we’ve ever even heard of. We dipped our toes into the RIFF last year and got to know Heather a little better, and we were blown away by Heather’s efforts to help aspiring filmmakers and turn Richmond into a film hub.

Case in point, Heather will be joining us for Fascinating People 2016 mere days before the 2016 RIFF begins. We think she might be allergic to sleep.

The details

  • Wednesday, February 24th • Doors open at 5:00 PM, Speakers speak at 6:00 PM, we expect to wrap up around 9:00 PM
  • Coalition Theater, 8 W. Broad Street
  • $18, which includes a hefty spread of food!

You can purchase tickets here! And please do so, so we can get excited about seeing you!

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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