The Entertainment Group (The EG) is the most incredible weekend gathering you’ve never heard of.
I had no idea what it was 12 months ago, but two unrelated friends — also first-time attendees — raved to me about it in the same week. Once I did the digging, it quickly became the event I most wanted to be part of.
Where else can you sit next to Yo-Yo Ma, Jeff Bezos, and the guys from MythBusters with the breathing room lost at the mega-conferences? Share drinks with the winners of Nobels, MacArthurs, Oscars, and Tonys without the pretension of a white-tie ball? Hang with Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs while listening to the world’s top dueling pianists?
Now I’m in the mix: I’m speaking on December 12th, most likely on accelerated learning and the quest for elegant skill acquisition.
Founded by Richard Saul Wurman, the mastermind behind TED, to recreate the dream conference, it hosts the most unusual and creative cross-section of inventors, entertainers, artists, scientists, rising stars and living national treasures you could ever imagine… Mike Hawley (MIT Media Lab professor, digital media pioneer, veteran of Lucasfilm, computer inventor with Steve Jobs at NeXT) directs it. And unlike TED, you can actually still get in without filling out an application and soliciting letters of reference.
Just a swipe of your all-powerful credit card while a few spots still remain. It ain’t cheap, but this is one of the few cases where I think it’s worth it. I was planning on attending whether I spoke or not, and I’ve never paid for the other usual suspects in the high-end conference world.
Here are a few of my favorite past EG presentations, from “talks” on the TED website:
The EG is where Negroponte launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) laptop, Brian Greene gave a crash course in quantum theory, Caleb Chung gave away Pleos. Paul Horowitz told us how he’s actually hunting for little green men. John Underkoffler (the real genius behind the “Minority Report” interface) showed his inventions, Jonathan Harris presented his dazzling web artistry, Pablos Holman showed his terrifying hackery, and Will Wright unveiled SPORE for the very first time.
I’ve been told they’re giving away Chumbys as door prizes this year… but it’s more than just hackers and gadgets.
It is Yo-Yo Ma playing the ‘cello, and Leon Fleisher at the piano, and Jonathan Winters reminiscing about his life. It is Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Calligrapher, Donald Jackson. It’s Minsky, and Mossberg, and Markoff and Myrhvold. It’s also guys like Peter Gelb, who runs the MET Opera in NY showing how they’re now HD-casting La Boheme across the country, which they pretty much have to do seeing as how MacArthur-winning architect Liz Diller has been tearing up Lincoln Center and redesigning it. If you want to jam with Todd Rundgren or Laurie Anderson, wangle a bit part in David Pogue’s next sophomoric tech video, explore King Tut’s Tomb with Zahi Hawass, join the Ringling Brothers Circus with star clown Bello Nock, or have your snapshot taken with Bran Ferren’s 10 *gigapixel* camera, you might want to come to Monterey December 11-13th.
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