Santa Monicans are a healthy bunch for the most part, in spite of our Starbucks addiction (seriously, why do we have so many in eight square miles?) with our host of vegetarian restaurants, yoga studios, shakra healers and pilates places. We have an attitude of living well to get the most out of this short life that we have and to that end we are the source of many new age and new thought leaders.

Some of those leaders came together this past Saturday night at Cross Campus for the first of hopefully many TEDxSantaMonica salons and events. TedxSantaMonica has been quiet lately but there’s recently been a change of the movers and shakers who are now bringing in new ideas and new events.

John K. Bates (my longtime buddy) and Grant Graves are taking the TEDx experience to new levels with the cooperation of the guys who run Cross Campus. They opened up the multi-disciplinary office space to a crowd of around 150 people to do some networking, watch some amazing videos of TED talks and got the crowd to break into smaller discussion groups.

John is an executive speech coach who teaches people how to give rockstar TED talks and other presentations to groups, so he was a natural for the emcee role and he had the crowd engaged and motivated while Grant ran the behind the scenes a/v, looping in Dr. David Eagleman by Skype to do an introduction to his video on how his research into the brain, is developing new sensory pathways for humans. Watching Dr. Eagleman’s TED talk brought me back to my childhood dreams of being Steve Austin — the $6,000,000 Man played by Lee Majors.

Dr. Eagleman’s team is developing ways in which disabled people can communicate better, but the reality is that this type of work can and will yield applications for everyone in the future to experience the world in amazing new ways. Imagine being able to actually have “x-ray vision” or sense someone’s emotional state by their pheromones with a high powered nose. It’s all possible with the type of research that is being done.

We also heard from Dr. Zeynep Tufecki who does research on social media’s impact on social movements and why it is not as long lasting as the old school ways used in the ’60s. Her research shows that social media is an awesome tool to gather people and communicate information, but not build long-term bonds. It was fascinating information coming out of the Occupy movement and the revolutions in the Middle East and validated many of my scattered thoughts on the value of social media like Twitter.

Her research proves to me that at the end of the day if you want to change the world you have to put people in rooms together and have them meet and talk and get to know each other. Just having information is not enough.

And that is why I like that one of the many events around town this week is the Activists Support Circle put on by Jerry Rubin and Co. tonight at 6:30 p.m. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is the guest. You may have seen Earl and me spar back in the day on the Week in Review show with Bill Rosendahl. Earl is a strong voice for the African American community and this will be a great evening I’m sure. The event is open to the public. There is plenty of free onsite parking available at the Quaker Friends Meeting Hall located at 1440 Harvard St., in Santa Monica.

Lastly, I am happy to share that my friend Lisa Brisse is having a book signing this Sunday, April 26, at 4:15 p.m. at Revolution Fitness 1211 Montana Ave. The cost is $19 for the class; book signing after is free. Her book, “Michael Jackson, The Man In Our Mirror: A reflection of our collective soul,” is a memoir / semi biography of her crossed paths with M.J. over the years. The spin class will be a tribute to him, featuring his music, so you can come out, get fit, get her book, meet some folks of like mind and start to change the world. I’ll be videotaping, so you can meet me, and maybe get on camera.

We are truly blessed to have the opportunities we have in this city to constantly expand our minds, get healthy, and learn about what others are doing to make this world a better place.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969. Follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.

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