At top right and left, Zephyr Real Estate agents Lisa Graf and Lucinda Otto are co-producers of ‘Tiny Talks – Mill Valley,” a series of TED Talk-like events that feature 8-minute talks on a variety of topics followed by facilitated discussion. Their first event is on Friday, April 26 at Scout Hall featuring, clockwise from top middle, Tom Gehrig, Barbara Borden, Stephen Simmons, Sandy Mendler, Aaron Singer, Lisa Safran, John Chesley and Roberta Keller.

PictureZephyr Real Estate agents Lucinda Otto and Linda Graf, creators of Tiny Talks.

When Marin native Linda Graf decided to move to Montana for a little adventure several years ago, she came to a realization pretty quickly in the vast, spread out Big Sky Country: “I really needed to meet some new people,” she says with a chuckle.

In 2012, she did just that, organizing a knowledge-driven social event that brought people together to learn about and discuss a wide variety of topics, getting to know one another better along the way. It was a hit, and when Graf moved back to Marin a year and a half ago, she knew that a similar event, particularly in our mobile phone-driven universe where we’re communicating all the time but often not actually connecting.

That brings us to the debut of Tiny Talks – Mill Valley, an event co-produced by Graf and Lucinda Otto, a fellow Zephy Real Estate agent on Friday, April 26, 6-9pm at Scout Hall. The event is a series of eight-minute TED Talk-esque presentations from eight different people on topics that all fit under the concept “People Connecting with Place.” The eight presentations cover a broad range – from nature and the wonder of flight to sound, design and taste, and many more. Non-alcoholic drinks and nibbles will be served and West Coast Wine • Cheese will be selling wine from its collection. Zephyr Real Estate and First Republic Bank are sponsoring the event.

“It’s about giving people a chance to meet face-to-face,” Graf says. “People crave connection, especially in this day and age. Humans have gathered around campfires to tell stories for thousands of years. In the glow of the fire, they celebrated life events, spread the word about new ideas and innovation, and highlighted issues that needed attention – helping the community thrive. Though we aren’t able to build a campfire in most indoor venues these days, we can still gather to share stories.”

Tint Talks’ twist is that after the eight presentations, the event continues. The audience is invited to stay, sip a beverage and continue the conversation with the speakers and each other at designated cafe tables in the hall.

The speakers are: 

Barbara Borden (sound) – The Mill Valley resident is a renowned drummer, teacher and composer who performs solo and in collaboration with a variety of musicians, artists and healers. She is the subject of the documentary, Keeper of the Beat: A Woman’s Journey Into the Heart of Drumming. Borden’s talk is titled “Broadcasting from the Tower of Love.”

Aaron Singer (flight) – The owner of Seaplane Adventures at the southern edge of Mill Valley, Singer has been flying since he was 16 and has done competitive flying acrobatics, is a member of the Bay Bombers precision formation team and has performed in air shows around the country. Singer speaks about “Making Big Places Seem Small.”

Lisa Safran (improv) – A leadership facilitator and a specialist in communication dynamics, Safran consults with executives and teams to help them build trust and cohesion in rapidly changing organizations. She does so with techniques from the improv world, developing situational agility and conversational capacity. Safran’s theme is “Being Curious About Being Curious.”

Tom Gehrig (visual) – The Bay Area artist’s work experiments with collage, surreal imagery, theater and performance art. Collected throughout the world and with multiple prestigious awards punctuating his career, Gehrig will talk about “What Lies Within: Inside the Mind of an Artist.” 

Sandy Mendler (design) – A Mill Valley architect, planner and researcher at Mithun, Mendler focuses on creating inspiring new models for healthy, sustainable living, including educational buildings, campuses and mixed-use neighborhood projects. In 2018, Mendler participated in the Resilient by Design, Bay Area Challenge, fueling her passion for strategies that leverage resilience investments for community benefit. Mendler will discuss “Resilient by Design” Visioning the Future of the Bay Area.”

Stephen Simmons (taste) – Currently the executive chef at Peacock Gap Golf and Country Club, Simmons’ 40-year career has spanned being a partner Lark Creek Inn and One Market, managing his own Marin ventures at Bubba’s Diner, Savannah Grill, and Lincoln Park Wine Bar, and serving for 15 years as food service director at Skywalker Ranch. Simmons will explore how to “Stop and Smell the…”

John Chesley (nature) – Inspired by the work of local artist Tom Killion and poet Gary Snyder in their book: “Tamalpais Walking,” Chesley leads an annual walk circumnavigating Mt. Tamalpais. For the rest of the year, Chelsey’s a lawyer, a Marin Theatre Company board member and trail runner/walker. His talk is entitled “Once a year. One Mountain. One Step at a Time.”

Roberta Keller (history) – Few are more ready to discuss “Once Upon a Time … the Story of Scout Hall” than Roberta Keller, the historic Mill Valley hall’s biggest champion over the years as it went through a years-long, massive renovation. Keller will talk about the hall’s early origins as McInnis’ Tavern just outside the town limits of a very small and very dry Mill Valley, as well as its checkered career as a stable, a laundry, perhaps even a “house of ill repute” before being donated to the Scouts in 1919.

The 411: Zephy Real Estate agents Linda Graf and Lucinda Otto launch Tiny Talks – Mill Valley, eight-minute TED Talk-esque talks from eight different people, on Friday, April 26, 6-9pm at Scout Hall. ​177 E Blithedale | 30 Mountain View (2 entrances). Tix $15 advance, $20 door. MORE INFO & TIX
​In the newly renovated Scout Hall, Mill Valley

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