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Live Active Cultures

Starting only a year ago with a how-to book from Borders and the “Buster Balloon” videos on YouTube, Rapattoni has quickly become a talented balloon artist. While showing astounding slides of wedding dresses, fairy-tale storybooks and even entire haunted houses built from balloons, Alex twisted into life a perfect glass-encased rose. Just don’t ask him to make a bicycle.

Jeremy Phillips, “The Green Machine”

The City Beautiful’s abundant landscaping does more harm to the environment than good, considering the pollution (both noise and air) that lawn mowers contribute. Phillips is pushing back against the army of corrupting pruners with his eco-friendly lawn service: custom converted propane- and battery-powered tools, a solar-paneled electric work truck and constant composting make lawn-care company Evoscape one of the Orlando area’s greenest gardeners.

Keyvan Acosta, “The Tardy Train in Germany”

An anecdote about the only German train that doesn’t run on time set off this head-spinning travelogue of “compressed idiosyncrasy,” which skipped from “junk memory” and “Ringoisms” to 8-bit nostalgia, being excitedly sad at Jim Morrison’s grave and finding pennies on the sidewalk. The lesson: “You can remember a lot from your travels by taking pictures of your verbal thoughts.” Or something like that.

Patricia Pizer, “Things That Inspire Me”

This video game designer closed the evening with an eclectic visual guide to the things around us that inspire her work. The curve of a whimsical cereal bowl, chrome on old car taillights and paintings of Elvis share mindspace with childhood visits to the Louvre, flower buds and fruits from the farmers market. But the best source is her game-playing cockatoo, who taught her to toss struggling players a softball.

Despite recurring technical problems, all the speakers soldiered bravely onward. In the end, it was an hour and $5 well spent. At best, I got a fascinating introduction to a topic I’d never explored before. And at worst … it’s over in only six minutes and 40 seconds.

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