Image: Wikimedia

Back for its fourth year, TEDx Portland returns to dust off our brains in time for spring with “ideas worth spreading” on April 12, although with the late breaking addition of Grammy-winning rapper Macklemore, that dusting has suddenly become a wind tunnel. 

As a conference and digital video database, TED’s mental floss has expanded our mindscapes since 1984 through idea sharing in a global community. TEDx Portland is a locally organized franchise that, in past years, filled first the Armory and then the Portland Art Museum with a slickly produced lineup of local and national speakers, musicians, art shows, and plenty of food for thought. This year they're getting bigger yet with a move to the Keller Auditorium—which means that, unlike previous years when tickets sell out in a day, this year there're tickets still available as of April 9. 

Enter to win tickets to TEDx Portland on April 12.

This year’s TEDx Portland conference explores the ruminations, possibilities, and contradictions within the concept of ‘perfection.’ Does that impish trickster—perfection—even exist? Does it inhibit or inspire us? 

The line-up includes local and national thinkers like:

  • Seattle's Grammy-winning rapper Macklemore! Need more be said? (Actually, there is one thing: he will be speaking, not performing, but what is speaking if not rapping minus the beats. Plus, he's obviously good with words.)
  • Nong Poonsukwattana: an expert chef who came to Portland from Bangkok with two suitcases and $70 to eventually work at Pok Pok and open up rave-worthy Thai food cart Nong's Khao Man Gai on SW Alder—and is planning a brick-and-mortar expansion right now.
  • Former Nike Footwear Design Director D’Wayne Edwards—responsible for the world-famous Nike Jordans worn by pro athletes around the world—now manages the first-ever footwear design academy called Pensole.
  • Andy Revkin, the heavy-hitting New York Times climate change writer behind the Dot Earth blog.
  • What happens when your idea of the perfect life is derailed? Zach King had a passion for filmmaking but was rejected from film school. Now he is the ‘Final Cut King’ with over one million followers on Vine.
  • Governor Kitzhaber can surely speak to the nigh-impossibility of perfection in the contentious world of politics. Just ask him about the Northwest’s coal export terminals or the Columbia River Crossing.
  • Originally from sea-splashed Marin County, G Cody QJ Goldberg created ‘Harper’s Playground’ with inspiration from his 8-year-old daughter. The playground is designed to be an ultra-inclusive space, adaptive to the needs of all children.
  • Fly fishing expert, World War II veteran, and owner of the Steamboat Inn on the North Umpqua River, Frank Moore might have the best chance of these speakers to taste the marrow of perfection at a ripe 91 years of age.
  • High school dropout and brilliant computer engineer-entrepreneur Jackson Gariety is working on a thesis that sutures programming and art.
  • Lisa Sedlar has worn many hats as the former CEO of New Seasons, the Purchasing Director of Whole Foods, and entrepreneur with her start-up store Green Zebra Grocery. Is the corporate health food world any closer to perfection?
  • Leader in mobile app development and retail, James Keller works at the interstices of physical and digital experience.
  • Zalika Gardner has a passion for child development, literacy, and historical perspectives as a school improvement specialist for Portland Public Schools, where obstacles towards perfection no doubt abound.
  • Aaron Draplin is a Midwest native, snowboard designer, and artist spearheading Draplin Design Co here in Portland.
  • Isaiah Holt’s understanding of the ‘perfect’ should be enticing; Isaiah is a past gang member and product of the US prison system.
  • Interested in understanding the alien-like process of producing wireless electricity beamed from a base station to an electrical device? Listen to Eric Giler, the mastermind behind this technology.
  • Al James will perform with his band Dolorean, a wistful and deliberate group from Portland with emotionally charged lyrics.
  • Oregon Ballet Theatre is Portland’s longest performing ballet company and is still on the rise with a growing national audience. 
  • Jacob Miller & The Bridge City Crooners play Woody Guthrie–esque tunes with youthful, playful abandon.
  • Blitzen Trapper sings tunes in and of their Northwest home. This woodsy indie band has played large sold-out festivals while still maintaining their Portland roots.

It's all going down at Portland's Keller Auditorium on Saturday April 12 from 8 am to 8 pm. The $100 tickets go on sale on March 12 at 9 am —and if history is our guide, they'll sell out fast.

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