Ingenuity: if only everything here was so grassroots!

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Tue, 07/18/2006 - 01:24.


The best part of Ingenuity was that it lacked the packaged look and feel of the festivals that come to Burke, the IX Center, the Convocation Center, etc. There was sincere NEO pride generated by Ingenuity. True, not all the "ingenious" people involved were local, but it showed the collaborative potential we have here and the appeal we have for outsiders.  To anyone that thinks we need big box developers here and chain restaurants, Ingenuity is evidence that we don't. We have great people and great ideas right here, we just need to utilize them.

I visited Ingenuity Saturday evening. I was only there for about two hours but in that short time I stop by four of the stages, listened to  ska, rap, and world music. I walked by the tents; spent some time in the sustainability tent -- my favorite by far -- learning about Whiskey Island, red wigglers, windpower and solar. I saw some great art by some artists I am familiar with -- like Robert Banks who was actually making a film during the festival -- and some artists who were new to me.

Ingenuity was fun and interesting -- even better than last year. The event seemed well attended, but I wished there was a free day for families. The $10 I paid seemed a bit prohibitive, not that sights, sounds and activities were not worth the cost; on the contrary I think everyone in Cleveland should have been able to experience it.   

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Evelyn,  I agree with you

Evelyn,  I agree with you about iNGENUITY not feeling like most Cleveland fests, like the rip-burn-off or the taste-of-cleveland under a tent in a parking lot.  yuck!

In addition to it not feeling like those other fests, it is incredibly more diverse, by skin color, by age, by lifestyle, etc.  maybe not by income though i agree with you on either a free day or all afternoons are free. 

perhaps the biggest impact is the can do attitude that it creates.  We are Cleveland and we can make change in our city.  the unfortunate result of 50+ years of decline is low self esteem and low expectations.  However, i think iNGENUITY, among other grass roots movements (like this board) are beginning to change how cleveland thinks about itself, which is critical to our long term success.

Im already excited for next year's planning.....

And don't forget about another great fledgling festival, Burning River Fest on 08.12 down at Wendy Park (thanks Ed Hauser) for the first time of what will be many.... There will be free bike valet parking provided by the Bike Co-op, so Ride your bike down! Changing the way we think about Cleveland....

and when you are ready to open an organic juice bar/coffeeshop/videostore on e.4th or e. 6th, let me know.  i'll make the black bean burgers.......

Talk to Brendan at AJs about those BB burgers

You know Brendan at A.J. Rocco's so why don't you seriously talk to him about adding organic and better veggie food to the menu - they can feature Black Bean Burgers once a week, or it would be a nice addition as they go for more evening business... the variety would be a welcome addition, and Brendan supports social consciousness... tell him we'll all back him up on this and eat there more often!

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How about BBQBB Burgers at Hot Sauce Williams

John - if you are interested in doing something big in the food space, I'm working with the Hot Sauce Williams family and we've discussed healthying-up their menu - they would be receptive to some fresh ideas and I could see black bean burgers having some play there... even veggie BBQBB Burgers... that could go global (we're helping them develop a virtual business so that has appeal)... they do big business in their four retail outlets. They also have a serious food prep capacity at the Star Complex so all the pieces may fit. Let me know if it is worth exploring.

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Looking forward to Burning River Fest

I went to Harborfest/Tall Ships Challenge this past Sunday (I plan to post some pictures and my thoughts soon). I stopped by the both for Burning River Fest and entered the raffle for free tickets and other prizes. The location alone should make it great. I like the Great Lakes Brewing Company support too. They are one of my favoite local businesses. Great beer and food and they support a lot of local causes. A few years back they bottled special Steam Ship William G. Mather  beer -- part of the proceeds benefited the museum. I hope Burning River Fest is a huge success. I'm promoting it to everyonbe I know.


Thank you Evelyn and John for your positive comments regarding Ingenuity. As one from the inside, I can only say that it was a tremendous effort and I have nothing but the most sincere gratitude to not only those who came to check it out but to those who lended their time and energy to making it happen. John McGovern, your help on Thursday in the Merchandise booth was tremendous as we were in the thick of getting things organized and prepared. Moreso, a great thank you to Sudhir Raghupathy, John Hanson, and Stephen Tomkins (I hope that's right) for putting together the Green Energy tent and bringing in the GM Hybrid bus.  I honestly cannot express my gratitude for all that was done to make that happen and the exposure brought to such a great cause.

Now, some comments . . . .

I agree that the Grassroots nature of the festival was a plus. But something I discussed with both Sudhir and John Hanson was the notion of "selling out." Yes, most corporate events are too formulaic, but what about the concept of selling out for a great cause. The MTV of McDonalds of Green, as I like to think of it. How do you bring such an important issue to the masses of people who are simply uneducated to green potential, sustainability, etc.? I say you sell-out hardcore and entertain them with cheap thrills and entertainment -- all the while sending the subliminal message of the importance of protecting, saving and restoring Mother Earth.

The GM Hybrid Bus had nothing inside of it. Not sure what GM is trying to pull, but aside being dressed in a nice marketing blanket, it lacked any literature or information. All I'm saying is make it into a party bus that goes from one green location to the next -- booze, food, and head-banging music all to promote green initiatives. I am not one who lacks integrity, but I do believe in spreading communication through the vanities of humans. The information/education gap is far too large, so I say let's hit all where it counts!

Thanks again.

"The GM Hybrid Bus had nothing inside of it."

Hmmm.  during my multiple trips inside the confines of GM's hybrid bus, I noted that it was indeed chock full of marketing communications.  They were in the same space that regular RTA type busses place advertising, directly above the seats in the angled placeholders.  There was information about the mpg increases resulting from the on board systems, there was some data on the decrease in particulate matter emissions, and other eco_attributes.  Now while it did have dual 19 inch flat screens and an altic lansing cube sound system, I would not say there is no room for improvment.   

How about that biodiesel?

Selling out or selling better?

I don't disagree with Norm's comment on "selling out" but I am looking at your comment from a different perspective. I think what you are talking about is selling sustainability more effectively. Getting the attention of people who currently don't find sustainability relevant and interesting to them. I think its good to be branded, packaged, and promoted as long as you have something good to sell, something that is good for people. MacDonalds is not a good example because they don't have a good product to sell (at least I don't think so). Their salads and  pedometers make me especially mad. If you could sell real sustainable living to the average, uninitiated person like trans fat filled Fruity Pebbles seduces kids on the cartoon network that would be a great thing. Definitely make it look great, fun, sexy to be green. As long as sustainability is not compromised  -- no hybrid hummers, no Mc Mansions with solar powering the huge TVs -- seriously, little steps are not enough.

Even with Ingenuity, if Cleveland sold the Ingenuity concept to other cities so that they could have their own IngeniutyFest with their art and technology that would be good too. I can't wait to see what Great Lakes Brewing Company does at Burning River Fest -- it might work well if everyone associated sustainability with great beer.

Sustainability: preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems

I am very concerned "sustainability" is now a corrupt term in NEO. We need to define what it means. From Wikipedia:

Sustainability is a systemic concept, relating to the continuity of economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects of human society, as well as the non-human environment. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals in a very long term. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire planet.

Core to this concept are "preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals in a very long term." I do not see any of the current efforts labled "sustainability" as coming near this requirement, and so view them all as industry-sponsored greenwashing and non-profitized brainwashing. Sustainability is just the latest buzz, and that is harming our ecosystems. We must return to environmentalism, in acceptance we are too far from acceptable practice here in NEO to pursue the continuity of the economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects of our human society here, which have completely failed the current and next seven generations. Let's get real about this.

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get a green sponsor for ingenuity
Eaton went green last week. Maybe they would like to be the sponsor of the green initiatives at next year's ingenuity? It's worth an ask...

the fest was slammin!!! I was there for some time all 4 days. Way to take it to the house Jim, et al!

Sound like it needs Ben and Jerry

I saw Ben and Jerry are getting back into activism in a public way - approach them now for next year... that will help solve the Snowie problem as well. Also I see the big BP biofuel ads everywhere now so they could be a pitch to provide biofuels.

Where is Ingenuity next year, anyways?

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Great Idea

Susan: it's certainly worth a shot - at a minimum they might help contribute along with others moving that way:  and there are many, believe me!   Had we more time the foundations might have designated specific funds to help, so both corporate and foundation support could be pooled for not only this festival but hopefully all future events.

Would McINGENUITY and McREALNEO still be real?

I wonder, if Peter Holmes were successful to steal REALNEO, and all this content was owned by him, would you want to add to his wealth? What if Jones Day paid him $500,000 a year to provide the service... would that matter to you? If INGENUITY had a big name sponsor and was even slicker than it is (and it is very slick), would 100s of people volunteer? There are some things that have much of their value because they belong to everyone and are so real you just want to be real with them, and if that is lost then so is the reason we want to connect. The best local examples are Hessler Street Fair, which I helped relaunch years ago, which is still pretty much hippie run, many other great street fairs around town, and Parade the Circle. As soon as the Hooters Float comes down Wade Oval, that baby is history. The sellout has killed many a social network, and could kill INGENUITY - not that it shouldn't have many sponsors and a big budget, but what if it was the Pepsi Ingenuity Fest, and James Levin showed up in a Rolls... ?!?!?!

Perhaps we could just take CPAC's budget and split it between smoe impactful arts engines like Parade, Ingenuity, Hessler, and CoolCleveland, and rain a few 10K among dozens of galleries and art walks and such... that would give each a big kick and make a big difference growing arts and culture in the region

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