On January 31, 2019, TEDxAsburyPark held their second live audition, at the Paramount Theatre on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. Although the weather was below freezing, 144 people attended this audition and they raised over $500. The theme of this TEDx Audition was Chaos: the void, the unknown, the absurd, the mess, the mystery. The only consistency is inconsistency. Chaos can lead both to creation and destruction. The show was hosted by improv comedians, Carl Perino and Mike. Music was played by Ross Owen and the Tribe. The live audition included 14 speakers: Dev Sabharwal, Adre Roxx, Marita Lynn, Cally Pivano, Rob Bogosian, Dani Kennedy, Angelo Gingerelli, Cara Smith, Ed Scarano, Nanci France-Vaz, Aly Cohen, Ganes, Kesari, Tara Gerahty, and Danny Kofoed.

After each person spoke, the audience casted their votes with a live poll. The audience would either give the speaker a 1,2, or 3 depending on the speaker’s performance. 1 expressed that the speaker was not ready for TEDx, 2 expressed that with coaching, the speaker would have a great TEDx Talk, and 3 expressed that the speaker was more than deserving a TEDx Talk. The first set of speakers was followed by a short intermission. The Paramount Theatre provided a cash bar with snacks and drinks to the crowd.

I was able to interview several speakers and ask them what their inspiration was to speak at a Ted Talk and what their experience was after speaking.

Dr. Aly Cohen, founder of The Smart Human, is a rheumatologist, integrative medicine physician, and an environmental health specialist. Her TEDx Talk was about How Educating Teens Can Protect Us From Toxic Chemicals. Aly was inspired to do a TEDx Talk by her work as an experienced doctor. She noticed that more people have been becoming sick at a younger age. So she started to get involved with environmental health and chemicals. Then Aly started to put her time into researching high school students, and whether it would be helpful for them to know this information. Dr. Cohen felt that this was a great way to get her research out there and to create awareness.

Dr. Aly Cohen put a lot of time into preparing for this talk. She stated, “Wonderful people put it together. There were wonderful speakers and it was a great learning experience, no matter what the outcome is.” She felt the energy was great and it was a marvelous experience.

Ed Scarano is a NLP coach, and his talk was Perception is Projection. Ed was inspired to speak from his work as a neuro-linguistic programming coach. After Ed’s friend asked him to audition for the TEDx Talk, he felt like this was the path for him. Ed thought the theme of chaos was perfect for him to talk because as a NLP coach, it’s all about chaos and how we control that chaos. He wants to talk about creating a compelling future, like putting future goals into people’s timelines. He believes when people are busy creating and accomplishing goals, they take back the chaos in their life, and they stay away from the distractions.

Ed had an amazing experience speaking at the live audition. He felt nervous going up there but right when he went up, a smile came across his face. All the work that he put in and the passion he has for what he does, showed in his TEDx audition.

Danny Kofoed is an author that writes about his experience with love, alongside his wife Mara. He writes about the idea of happiness in spite of circumstance. Danny’s talk was, Infidelity: The Birthplace Of Self Discovery. Danny was inspired by the theme of chaos. He has been sharing his stories for years now and Ted talks have been on his mind for a long time. When he heard the theme was chaos, he thought what a great time and place to share it.

Danny’s experience was different than the usual. He is used to having more time to present his story. In the beginning he was scared because he only had five minutes to present.  However, once he was on stage, he felt an immediate connection with the audience. He said his story started to flow naturally, once he got up there and saw human beings staring back at him and they’re interested and excited to hear what he had to say.

Angelo Gingerelli is a local stand up comedian in Asbury Park. He’s been a fan of Ted Talks for a while. Angelo was inspired by the first TEDx Talk he went to was back in 2013, when he just started doing stand up comedy. He always kept his eye on the TEDxAsburyPark Talks, and when he saw that the theme of this years talk was chaos, Angelo knew that he wanted to speak. Angelo’s talk was about Chaos vs. Order: The Key To Happiness. He said, “Even though people try and keep their lives under control they still go out and chase chaos.” The thing that makes him most happy in life are the things that are chaotic.

Angelo’s experience was new to him. He had been to the historic Paramount Theatre before, but never on the stage. He felt the experience as a whole was awesome. He stated, ”The other speakers were great. I don’t envy whoever makes it to the next level. You guys did a great job, it was super professional, the audio was great, the band and music was phenomenal. With the exception of it being 15 degrees outside, it was a great night for everybody.”

Cally Pivano is a cancer survivor who was inspired by her own story to audition for a TEDx Talk. She said, “When I had my epiphany about my laptop, my first reaction was I cried, and I got really angry. Then I got so scared because I thought what about all the kids that use iPads.” She knew she had to get the message out somehow. She read about the TEDx Talks and thought, let me give it a chance.

Cally’s experience was scary and exhilarating at the same time. She was very pleased that she was able to get her message out. Its her mission to create awareness now.

Ganes Kesari is a co-founder at Gramener, who works in data analytics and visualisation space. He has been a fan of TEDx Talks for a while. He finds the talks very informative and engaging. Ganes has been planning on doing a TEDx Talk  for a number of years. He was inspired by his important work with artificial intelligence, and the theme of chaos, to finally audition.

Ganes experience was daunting at first because he was used to making longer talks. It took a different kind of preparation to pack the talk into five minutes. He said, “Once I got onto the red dot and started speaking, I felt more at ease, and I was more focused on the audience and how they would receive the idea and how they would be moved by the end of the talk.”Cally Pivano is pictured at the Paramount Theatre, following her audition at the TEDxAsburyPark second live audition.Ganes Kesari is pictured behind the scenes at the TEDxAsburyPark live audition.

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