20 March 2013

Dear Friends:

Less than one month to EG in Monterey: 18-20 April.

Registration deadline is 11 April.

The program this year revolves around learning, exploration and invention: people who make and do wonderful things that lift society forward. And we're thrilled to share more of them with you now.


As the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier said:
  “Give me the boy until he is 7,
   and I will give you the man.”

Roger Ebert referred to the UP series of films as the noblest project in cinematic history. It is without question one of the most extraordinary. Remember the premise? In 1964, British television produced Seven UP!, a film looking at the lives and dreams of 14 children from various social strata. Seven years later, the team revisited those children for 14 UP — and every seven years thereafter. Those kids are now 56 for this latest installment (the eighth).

All boys grow up, including the young documentarian who began this effort, Michael Apted. Now in his seventies, busier than ever, he became a major film director: Gorillas in the Mist; Coal Miner's Daughter; and The World Is Not Enough are among his remarkable and diverse creative efforts. We're thrilled that Michael will join us to share 56 UP. In the annals of motion picture history, this achievement stands alone.

56 UP, directed by Michael Apted.

Speaking of UP, at EG this year, our friends from Pixar will share a short masterpiece — one the world hasn't seen yet. Cartoonist Matt Groening will bring the Simpsons' Oscar-nominated short film: Maggie's Day Out. And explorer Scott Hamilton will share Visions of Mustang, a remarkable movie about restoring sight to blind villagers in the loneliest corners of the Great Himalayas.

This is a breathtaking perspective — and will be all the more so, thanks to our partners at SONY who are providing dazzling 4K digital cinema projection.

Cartoonist Roz Chast explains physics.


Cartoonist Roz Chast presents her own wry take on life, the universe, and everything. She's not the only one with an unusual view.

Adventurers Richard & Catherine Desomme shucked off the usual burdens to go at it a bit differently: they bought a Unimog (the legendary off-road behemoth) and have been driving around the planet for nearly two decades. They're currently parked somewhere in Argentina. Or maybe Chile. In a desert.

Meanwhile, somewhere in greater Los Angeles, inventor Bran Ferren has been re-engineering that same vehicular platform to build a research scientist's ultimate land yacht (among his many other wondrous creations). It's not a trivial problem. Although as problems go, it's small compared to the things James Howard Kunstler has been wrestling with. With a rapier pen, Jim dissects humanity's global sprawling bad habits in search of more sensible solutions to architecture and urban design for the sake of humanity.

Woodcarver David Esterly


He is one of the most remarkable woodcarvers in the world, a self-taught master who found his calling relatively late in life: David Esterly abandoned his career as a literary scholar to take up the carver's gouges. He picked up where the baroque genius, Grinling Gibbons, left off. Carved wood has never been more inspiring.

We take "muse" literally at EG: this year, pianist Umi Garrett will dazzle us. She's won a dozen important international piano competitions and performed with orchestras and in recitals on three continents. What were you doing when you were 12?

For a different perspective on life with music: an American legend. Linda Ronstadt is not generally using roller skates and hot pants when giving testimony before Congress these days. But few musicians have been more thoughtful or outspoken about the importance of growing up in an environment that nurtures healthy music making. Or what happens when society fails at this. Linda has used her voice to advocate for the arts at a national level.

We're also delighted to announce that we will be joined by many dear musical friends: Singer-songwriter Kina Grannis! Composer-cellist Philip Sheppard! Violinist Charles Yang! Duo-Pianists Anderson & Roe! And we welcome back a long-lost friend who never fails to make me smile: Jill Sobule!


As we emphasized in the previous announcement: however you may regard the worlds of learning — whether your interest is in the future of global education, or the daily challenges faced by your own kids; whether you want your own organization to learn and improve, or just yourself; whether you are hungry for breakthroughs brought to us by scientists, explorers, inventors and artists, or just fishing for an idea — it's clear that humanity is now coevolving in a soup of increasingly intelligent software, hardware and wetware. There has never been a more important time to rethink everything you thought you knew about learning.

And this is the conference you should attend to do that.

At EG, there is something enthralling to learn from everyone. This year, you'll meet one of the world's most notorious art forgers; pioneers of space exploration; a jaw dropping pickpocket; future circus stars; unforgettable musicians, magicians, inventors, artists, entertainers, designers, explorers, healers, dreamers. With roughly 50 presenters from a wild assortment of fields, 500 attendees, and three immersive days, the talents and the mix are extraordinary.

Michael Hawley, EG director

The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers of the piano,Greg & Liz are the most original, inventive and infectiously entertaining piano duo ever. When was the last time you saw a classical piano duet go "platinum" on YouTube?
One of the most prolific British directors, Michael thrilled us with James Bond (The World Is Not Enough), and tugged at our hearts (Coal Miner's Daughter; Amazing Grace), but his documentary 56 UP stands as a singular and tenacious achievement in the history of cinema.
Brooklyn-born cartoonist and author, bedecked with honorary doctorates and beloved by readers, Roz has been a wry voice of sanity at the New Yorker for decades.
A couple of Belgians who abandoned their comfortable lives, threw away their TV, and left Europe 20 years ago to embark on a new nomadic adventure on board their ultimate expedition vehicle...
A singular artisan, nobody wields the carver's gouges like David.  Picking up where the baroque genius Grinling Gibbons left off, David's incredibly detailed limewood carvings are unique in their richness and complexity — but so is the way he found his calling, and mastered his art.
A uniquely inventive talent, Bran has been solving impossible problems across the entertainment industry for nearly forty years. His most recent thrust, Applied Minds, may be one of the world's most remarkable invention studios.
A bright young pianistic star, Umi has already won more than a dozen piano competitions and made numerous concert appearances around the world, both as a solo recitalist and with orchestras from Boston to Wuhan.
In 2007 at age 22, singer/songwriter Kina Grannis began creating YouTube music videos to accompany her original songs — videos that have been seen more than 99 million times, propelling her world tours in 2011 and 2012. With nearly a hundred songs on seven albums and ten music videos to her credit, she's just getting started.
Explorer and financier, Scott has spent much time in the world's far places.  For the past several years, he has focused on curing blindness in remote Himalayan villages of Mustang.
Novelist and author of more than a dozen books, Jim has often turned his incisive literary blade at the tragic landscape around us — strip malls, housing tracts, mutilated cities, ravaged countryside — and possible, hopeful, remedies.
Another incredible animated masterpiece presented by our friends from Pixar.
A legendary American popular musician, Linda has had a dazzling career including dozens of awards (Grammys, Emmy, ALMA...), numerous gold and platinum hit records, and collaborations with a breathtaking range of artists. Recently, she has used her voice for the betterment of national arts and music programs.
Composer, virtuoso cellist, Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, Philip has written extensively for film, television and theatre. He notably created fresh arrangements for all of the world's 205 national anthems for the 2012 Olympics in London.
This year, Maggie Simpson starred in her first Oscar-nominated short film: The Longest Daycare.
Ironic, prolific, authentic, satiric, folksy, gutsy, emotive, Jill is a singer/songwriter/storyteller with a subtle and intimate connection to her audience. We are thrilled that she is returning to EG after a brief absence.
Violinist Charles Yang first made his mark on EG in a beautiful improv with Jake Shimabukuro in 2011. We're not the only ones to notice: the Mayor of Austin declared June 5, 2005 to be the first Charles Yang Day.