Tickets go on sale Tuesday for TEDxKC, which will have a diverse group of presenters

05/30/2014 10:32 AM

06/03/2014 2:23 PM

Tickets for the sixth annual TEDxKC will go on sale Tuesday, and organizers have a wide-ranging lineup of speakers and performers for the Aug. 9 event.

The presenters already set include a plasma physicist, a best-selling author and humorist, a transportation activist and area musicians who have gained national attention.

This is the third year the Kansas City event will be at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and tickets go fast. Sales will start at 10 a.m. online at More than 2,300 people attended last year’s event.

TED, for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and its spinoff events aim to spark conversation and connection, and the theme this year in Kansas City is “Changing the Narrative.” Event organizers say the theme stems from the idea that “there is a danger in a single story — whether that is the story we tell ourselves that keeps us stuck, an agenda-based or ideologically-driven narrative … or a discovery … that has the potential to change the world or a work of art that changes our world view.”

The tickets are $35 for admission to Helzberg Hall, where the presenters will be, and $20 for the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, where presenters will be simulcast. The Helzberg admission includes a gift bag and T-shirt. All tickets include a first for the Kansas City event, a street fair from 9 to 11 p.m. after the presentations.

The event also is adding the TEDxKC 2014 Challenge to “discover an Idea Worth Spreading.”

The presenters scheduled so far, according to a release from event organizers:

Michel LaBerge, a plasma physicist from Vancouver. His research team is trying to develop a nuclear fusion reactor capable of producing cheap, abundant, clean energy.

Baratunde Thurston, author of the New York Times best-seller “How to Be Black.” He was The Onion’s director of digital for five years and helped found Cultivated Wit, which describes itself as a company whose people “collide comedy, design and technology to bring good ideas to ‘Earth’.”

Diana Kander, a Kauffman Foundation senior fellow. She will talk about how business schools’ approach to teaching entrepreneurial skills may do more harm than good.

Jenny O’Brian, a transportation activist who works on rural transportation needs.

Gracie Schram, a 15-year-old singer-songwriter from Kansas City whose music aims to inspire positive change in the world.

Kawehi, a Lawrence musician originally from Honolulu who has been written about in Esquire and Spin.

Event organizers, which include presenting partners VML, the Kauffman Foundation, KCPT and Harvest Productions, say more information will be coming on additional speakers and performers and on the street fair and the idea challenge.

TED started 30 years ago as a conference in California, and many of its talks can be watched at Many cities hold TEDx events, planned and coordinated independently under a free license granted by TED.

To reach Greg Hack, call 816-234-4439 or send email to


Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service