Ignite Philly: Why Tom Cruise looks tall, why you should vote and how to love food without being a douche

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Thursday night at Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia got a taste of city-centric innovation and, well, Tom Cruise. Eric Steele gave a five-minute speech about the actor’s height, showing pictures of him looking tall in movies even though he’s not.

Aside from that, Ignite Philly largely featured speakers educating a crowd of hundreds on matters ranging from art to voting to food to sex. ICYMI, here’s some of the new ideas and trends that are happening in Philly or that young people are trying to make happen.

1. Amber Levin: Krampuslauf, aka Horned mythological figures for Philly Christmas

Ever heard of Krampuslauf? It happens on December 5 and unlike St. Nicholas Day, which provides rewards for good kids, Krampuslauf provides punishment for bad kids, doled out by a scary horned figure. But don’t worry it’s really just for fun and is part of something Levin refers to as “processional arts.” She said contemporary Americans are really short on ritual and that by “becoming other” we can preserve ourselves.

2. Holly Logan: Philly Fixers Guild

Logan says we throw away 600 times our body weight in a lifetime. Philly Fixers Guild holds repair fairs and encourages people to get old items fixed, such as ripped jeans or broken backpack straps, instead of replacing them.

3. Patterson Watkins: Being a foodie without being a jerk

Patterson Watkins works in the food industry and she shared a few tips on how you can be a food connoisseur without coming across as a total douche. Some of her tips:

  • Don’t have P.E.S., which is picky eater something. If you’re going to critique foods you’d better try a lot of them.
  • DFWTPWCYF: “Don’t fuck with the people who cook your food.” That means not leaving passive-aggressive Yelp reviews because you had a bad day. Also, she says to tip 20 percent and 30 percent during the holidays.
  • “Bring a fucking sweater”: And a second sweater for “gram-gram.” Restaurants, Watkins says, are cool for the servers. Don’t complain about it.

4. Tony Spagnoli and Lizzie Hessmiller: Pennsylvania Environment Council

Spagnoli and Hessmiller and the Pennsylvania Environment Council want to bring a median bicycle lane that you can ride, run and walk on through the middle of Spring Garden Street, the most bicycled street in Philly.

5. Nick Marzano: Everybody vote

Marzano’s advice to the young crowd was to vote. The president of Young Involved Philly pointed out the long tenure and old ages of City Council members and said how those figures don’t make Council seem conducive to innovation and progress. “Let’s not wait for the presidential race,” he said.

6. Steve Rubin: The Gloucester County-Philadelphia ferry

Ever notice how the buses that take people from Center City to the Navy Yard every morning come back to the city empty? It’s because nobody lives down there. But people do live just across the water in New Jersey. Rubin is advocating for a ferry system, similar to one employed by New York City on the Hudson, that would take people from Gloucester County to the Navy Yard. They could then take Philadelphia public transit to Center City. A ferry used to do this for most of the 20th Century when the Navy Yard was still used for industry.

7. Arielle Johnson: Amalgam comics

Johnson says not enough main characters in comic books look like her and other minorities. About 93 percent of major comic book characters are white. Through the soon-to-open Amalgam Comics and Coffee Shop, Johnson is trying to promote comic and geek culture for minorities.

8. Sterling Duns: Love

Duns says we grow learning not to say we love people. He wants us to stop doing that and to look in the mirror and say, “I love you.”

9. Patrice Banks: Girls Auto Clinic

Banks’ message for ladies who don’t understand the ins and outs of cars is this: Neither do most guys. Through Girls Auto Clinic, she is trying to stop women from being “auto airheads” by repairing their cars and explaining how to repair cars in ways they can understand. Example: “Think of your engine like a vagina,” she says.

10. Timaree Schmit: Positive sexuality

Schmit says all consensual sex is good sex and that sexual freedom is a fundamental right.

11. Eric Steele: Tom Cruise

Steele’s advice: Don’t be insecure about your height because Tom Cruise is short.

12. Kira Strong: People’s Emergency Center

For communities to thrive, Strong believes they need to be “rearranged” from time to time, just like a room in a house. She recommends communities provide good affordable housing, provide stimulus for investment and promote neighborhood history.

13. Cassie Plummer: Slow Flower Movement

Plummer is the founder and leader of Jig-Bee, a local flower farm. The company’s goal is to turn vacant lots in agricultural strongholds so Philadelphians can buy local flowers rather than buy flowers that are usually from 1,000s of miles away.

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