06:09
TED2006

Rives: A mockingbird remix of TED2006

Filmed:

Rives recaps the most memorable moments of TED2006 in the free-spirited rhyming verse of a fantastical mockingbird lullaby.

- Performance poet, multimedia artist
Performance artist and storyteller Rives has been called "the first 2.0 poet," using images, video and technology to bring his words to life. Full bio

Mockingbirds are badass.
00:26
(Laughter)
00:28
They are.
00:29
Mockingbirds -- that's Mimus polyglottos --
00:31
are the emcees of the animal kingdom.
00:33
They listen and mimic and remix what they like.
00:35
They rock the mic outside my window every morning.
00:37
I can hear them sing the sounds of the car alarms
00:39
like they were songs of spring.
00:42
I mean, if you can talk it, a mockingbird can squawk it.
00:44
So check it, I'm gonna to catch mockingbirds.
00:46
I'm going to trap mockingbirds all across the nation
00:48
and put them gently into mason jars like mockingbird Molotov cocktails.
00:51
(Laughter)
00:54
Yeah. And as I drive through a neighborhood,
00:55
say, where people got-a-lotta, I'll take a mockingbird I caught
00:57
in a neighborhood where folks ain't got nada and just let it go, you know.
01:00
Up goes the bird, out come the words, "Juanito, Juanito,
01:03
vente a comer mi hijo!"
01:06
Oh, I'm going to be the Johnny Appleseed of sound.
01:08
(Laughter)
01:11
Cruising random city streets, rocking a drop-top Cadillac
01:12
with a big backseat, packing like 13 brown paper Walmart bags
01:15
full of loaded mockingbirds, and I'll get everybody.
01:18
(Laughter)
01:21
I'll get the nitwit on the network news saying,
01:22
"We'll be back in a moment with more on the crisis."
01:24
I'll get some asshole at a watering hole asking what brand the ice is.
01:26
I'll get that lady at the laundromat who always seems to know what being nice is.
01:28
I'll get your postman making dinner plans.
01:31
I'll get the last time you lied.
01:34
I'll get, "Baby, just give me the frickin' TV guide."
01:36
I'll get a lonely, little sentence with real error in it,
01:38
"Yeah, I guess I could come inside, but only for a minute."
01:40
(Laughter)
01:42
I'll get an ESL class in Chinatown learning "It's Raining, It's Pouring."
01:43
I'll put a mockingbird on a late-night train just to get an old man snoring.
01:47
I'll get your ex-lover telling someone else, "Good morning."
01:50
I'll get everyone's good mornings.
01:53
I don't care how you make 'em.
01:55
Aloha. Konichiwa. Shalom. Ah-Salam Alaikum.
01:57
Everybody means everybody, means everybody here.
02:00
And so maybe I'll build a gilded cage.
02:02
I'll line the bottom with old notebook pages.
02:04
Inside it, I will place a mockingbird for --
02:06
short explanation, hippie parents.
02:09
(Laughter)
02:11
What does a violin have to do with technology?
02:12
Where in the world is this world heading?
02:15
On one end, gold bars --
02:17
on the other, an entire planet.
02:20
We are 12 billion light years from the edge.
02:22
That's a guess.
02:25
Space is length and breadth continued indefinitely,
02:26
but you cannot buy a ticket to travel commercially to space in America
02:29
because countries are beginning to eat like us, live like us and die like us.
02:32
You might wanna avert your gaze, because that
02:35
is a newt about to regenerate its limb,
02:37
and shaking hands spreads more germs than kissing.
02:40
There's about 10 million phage per job.
02:43
It's a very strange world inside a nanotube.
02:45
Women can talk; black men ski; white men build strong buildings;
02:48
we build strong suns.
02:52
The surface of the Earth is absolutely riddled with holes,
02:54
and here we are, right in the middle.
02:57
(Laughter)
03:01
It is the voice of life that calls us to come and learn.
03:02
When all the little mockingbirds fly away,
03:05
they're going to sound like the last four days.
03:07
I will get uptown gurus, downtown teachers,
03:10
broke-ass artists and dealers, and Filipino preachers, leaf blowers,
03:13
bartenders, boob-job doctors, hooligans, garbage men,
03:16
your local Congressmen in the spotlight, guys in the overhead helicopters.
03:18
Everybody gets heard.
03:20
Everybody gets this one, honest mockingbird as a witness.
03:22
And I'm on this.
03:26
I'm on this 'til the whole thing spreads,
03:28
with chat rooms and copycats and moms maybe tucking kids into bed
03:30
singing, "Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
03:32
Wait for the man with the mockingbird."
03:35
(Laughter)
03:38
Yeah. And then come the news crews, and
03:39
the man-in-the-street interviews, and the letters to the editor.
03:41
Everybody asking, just who is responsible for this citywide,
03:43
nationwide mockingbird cacophony, and somebody finally is going to tip
03:46
the City Council of Monterey, California off to me,
03:49
and they'll offer me a key to the city.
03:52
A gold-plated, oversized key to the city
03:54
and that is all I need, 'cause if I get that, I can unlock the air.
03:56
I'll listen for what's missing, and I'll put it there.
04:00
Thank you, TED.
04:04
(Applause)
04:05
Chris Anderson: Wow.
04:06
(Applause)
04:07
Wow.
04:16
(Applause)
04:17

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About the Speaker:

Rives - Performance poet, multimedia artist
Performance artist and storyteller Rives has been called "the first 2.0 poet," using images, video and technology to bring his words to life.

Why you should listen

Part poet, part storyteller, part philosopher, Rives is the co-host of TEDActive as well as a frequent TED speaker. On stage, his poems burst in many directions, exposing multiple layers and unexpected treats: childhood memories, grown-up humor, notions of love and lust, of what is lost forever and of what's still out there waiting to unfold. Chimborazo.

A regular on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, Rives also starred alongside model Bar Refaeli in the 2008 Bravo special Ironic Iconic America, touring the United States on a "roller coaster ride through the eye-popping panorama of American pop culture." Flat pages can't contain his storytelling, even when paper is his medium. The pop-up books he creates for children unfold with surprise: The Christmas Pop-Up Present expands to reveal moving parts, hidden areas and miniature booklets inside. 

His latest project—the Museum of Four in the Morning—is an ode to a time that may well be part of a global conspiracy. In a good way.  

More profile about the speaker
Rives | Speaker | TED.com