As Banshee Tree, Kalyn Pembridge and Thomas LaFond make a surprisingly original and enticing mix of gypsy jazz, folk pop and swing. They moved to Colorado from upstate New York four years ago, and can be seen seemingly every night of the week along the Front Range, playing a mix of standards like "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and mellifluously joyful originals. And after they play, they drive into the mountains west of Boulder to the 100-year-old mining cabin they have called home for the past several months. The tiny house is divided in half; there's a greenhouse on one side and a single room on the other. It has no running water, and the only electricity comes from a solar-powered generator. There's a wood stove and a sink that drains into a bucket. "We don't have enough power for our coffee grinder," says LaFond, "but we have enough to record our music."
Blues singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Otis Taylor is capable of exploring any musical mood at any given time, and it’s an important reason why he is considered one of the most talented artists to emerge in recent years. “Sometimes pigeonholed as a bluesman, Otis Taylor can’t be defined by any single category,” proclaims Spin magazine. According to Ann Powers at the Los Angeles Times, “Gentle upon first listen, blending the austerity of Delta blues with the expansiveness of free jazz, Taylor's ancient-sounding, avant-garde ‘trance blues’ has a dangerous pull.” The Oxford American raves, “It might not be too early to call Otis Taylor a major talent.”
A native Palestinian, born and raised in Rafah, the Gaza Strip, Dr. Ahmed Abukhater is an award-winning author, business executive, and record-setting athlete. Ahmed Abukhater grew up in a world of environmental inequity. Raised during the Palestinian Intifada (uprising), he recognized the value of water as the sustainer of life and peace. He is also the author of the book “Water as a Catalyst for Peace - Transboundary Water Management and Conflict Resolution” and the upcoming book “Palestine: Peace by Piece.” Dr. Abukhater is a noted expert in a number of areas including geospatial and navigation solutions, strategic marketing and product management, sustainable community development, and trans-boundary water resources management and conflict resolution. His work focuses on the social, economic and environmental factors that drive the 21st century urban development, geopolitical discourse, resource access and allocation, and conflict prevention and resolution.
Amanda Szabo has spent the last six years researching how people organize ourselves into economies. As a PhD candidate in Communication at University of Colorado Boulder she's seen how social norms, communication, and relationships in different industries, locales, and groups result in unique community-based economies. Plucked from the South (Louisiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina), she now studies, instructs, and coaches Communication in Boulder, CO.
There is a tremendous amount of shame around being intersex, as shown by the very few intersex people who have "come out." The discussion on what it's like to be diagnosed, what it's like to date and tell people about being intersex, and some ways to own your medical care and make sure that you get the help you need is important. 1-2% of the US population is intersex, yet few can name a personal friend that is open about this identity. Cecelia is the CEO of Bird Meets Bee, helping people find egg donors, sperm donors, and surrogates. Entrepreneur, songwriter, and traveler. Intersex advocate.
Con is a Senior Research Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. His main field of research is in planetary atmospheres, of both major planets such as Venus, as well as satellites like Io and our Moon.
Jennifer Hanzlick : Entrepreneur, Speaker and Hoarding Expert. Jennifer is the founder and owner of Clutter Trucker, a hoarding clean out company based in Denver. In 2008 Jennifer was laid off after 11 years in Corporate America and started Clutter Trucker to help those who are suffering from hoarding disorder. She provides education and awareness on the topic of hoarding disorder to the community, non-profit organizations and local government agencies. In 2015 she started the Colorado Hoarding Task Force.
Jose Amezola Beltran was born in Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of 10. He currently works as a paralegal at an immigration law firm in Denver. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese in May of 2015 and has plans to attend law school. Jose is a living kidney donor and serves as an advocate and mentor with the American Transplant Foundation in Denver. He is also the recipient of the Gift of Life Award presented to altruistic living organ donors who have made a remarkable impact in the transplant community.
Leah Pearlman is the creator and founder of Dharma Comics, a popular web comic series with a rapidly growing online audience of more than 50,000 followers. She started her career as a technologist, working for Microsoft and then Facebook, where she co-created both Facebook Pages and the Like Button, the very features that later helped her comics spread. In 2010 she left Facebook to dedicate herself fully to a path of self-awareness and discovery, and continued drawing on life. She lives between Berkeley, CA and Boulder, CO. In addition to illustrating for herself and others she is often coaching, mentoring, investing, volunteering, traveling, and endlessly learning.
Mara Abbott was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. She has spent the last ten years competing as a professional road cyclist. During that career she has won the women's Giro d'Italia twice and is a two time national champion. Most recently she finished fourth in the road race at the Rio Olympic Games. Off the bike she is a certified yoga instructor, a columnist for the Daily Camera and helps sort out the mushy tomatoes for Cure Organic Farm at the Boulder Farmers' Market. She is frequently to be found hauling ambitious loads around town on her commuter bike.
Originally from Hong Kong, Mara spent her formative years riding double decker buses, eating fish ball noodle soup and hiking the Maclehose Trail. After a few years of travel and discovery Mara settled on CU Boulder and has lived in Boulder ever since. After finishing her studies in English Literature she found that she was somehow distinctly qualified to become a chef. She has spent 20 years in some of Boulder's most beloved restaurants learning how to run a line, work fast, make a show-stopping sashimi, craft giant piles of gnocchi from scratch and how to keep her food costs under control. She is now the mother of three precocious foodies and the co-founder of Ozuké, makers of fine kimchi, pickles and kraut. As the company's COO her daily preoccupation is "how to make the very best pickled things" and in the past five years she has been responsible for surreptitiously releasing many trillions of good bacteria into the general populace.
When doctors said her husband’s Parkinson’s would eventually kill him, Martha Carlin said, No It Won’t. She stepped out of a successful career as a systems expert and into the new role of Citizen Scientist. After years of re-learning the sciences, pouring over research (and commissioning work at the University of Chicago), Martha is now a leading source of deep data on the human biome to unlock preventions and cures for many of our most complex health conditions. Her company, The BioCollective, links personal health history, metagenomics and microbiome analysis to uncover previously unknown links between chronic disease and diet, stress, and environment. She lives with her (thriving) husband John in Lone Tree, Colorado.
Michael Allen Nesmith, a Chicago native, was born into a deaf-culture family using ASL as the primary language. He attended Gallaudet University (an all-deaf college) in Washington DC and then moved back to Chicago for his MFA in Visual Communication Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved to Portland, Oregon to begin his advertising career in W+K12; an experimental advertising school housed inside Wieden+Kennedy's Portland office. He is now a visual designer at Amazon in Seattle, WA. Throughout his career, Michael's visual/conceptual way of thinking and problem solving have served him both as an asset and a challenge.
Star Simpson builds "hardware with soul". Currently working on sky machines at SF R&D lab Otherlab, she previously founded PLIBMTTBHGATY series of coding events and is the mind behind the TacoCopter (the original drone delivery concept). Star most recently launched Circuit Classics, reviving Forrest M. Mims III's hand drawn "Getting Started in Electronics" projects as hardware kits.