Speak at Odd Salon

Odd Salon Leonard Apeltsin

At our core, Odd Salon is made up of a community of speakers, researchers, and enthusiastic nerds brought together by a shared love of discovery. We welcome new brains interested in facing the blinding stage lights and talking passionately about strange things for 10 minutes in front of drunk strangers. Join us!

If you’ve never spoken for Odd Salon but are interested in potentially joining up with us for a future talk, join our announcements email list, and we’ll loop you into brainstorming sessions, calls for submission, and news about upcoming salons. Odd Salon Email List>

Want to submit a specific idea for our curator’s consideration? Send it in any time via the below form, and we’ll make sure our curator’s see it.  

Speakers FAQ

  • How does this thing work?

We produce live salon evenings in San Francisco and New York City, featuring six short talks on stories from history, science, art, and adventure.

We welcome both subject experts and enthusiastic amateurs to join our salons. If you are excited about getting up and facing the blinding speaker’s light to tell a little something weird from history, science, art, or adventure, we’d love to hear from you. Speakers are selected by the evening’s curator between 2 weeks-30 days out from a salon. You can, however, submit a story idea at any time via our story submissions form.

Are there any restrictions on who can be a speaker?

Our events are generally ages 21+, so all speakers must be over 21. Otherwise, no.

What’s the selection process like?

The curator acts as the editor and official cat wrangler for their salon. They will select speakers from the submitted pitches, and reach out to potential speakers via email.

Please note that we have many more submissions than spots in each salon, but we do hold space for new speakers and welcome your submissions. Submit early and often! Due mostly to a general state of gently managed chaos on the curation side of salons, we may not get in touch if your story is not selected for an upcoming salon. WE ARE WORKING ON THIS AND WE’RE SORRY.

What kinds of stories?

Our primary areas of enthusiasm are history, science, art, and adventure, and we try to include at least one story from each of these in every salon.

For example, we love great ideas from overlooked corners of history, tales of underdogs and also-rans, disasters and bad ideas, animals behaving badly, historic jerks, epic badasses, and objects of mystery and intrigue. We love the back stories behind famous works of art, literature, and architecture, tales of serendipitous good luck and tragically bad luck. We love rivals and pirates and mad scientists, tinkerers, eccentrics, and masterful thieves.

We try to anchor our stories outside of living memory: Usually before WWII

We encourage our speakers to find stories outside their areas of expertise, to better cultivate the arts of research and storytelling – so please feel free to submit ideas that are outside your field or specific expertise. But more than any great topic, what we are after is great stories and interesting angles, so we ask you to not just tell us what you want to talk about, but how you want to approach it.

If you have expertise or passionate enthusiasm about a certain odd subject that does not necessarily fit a specific upcoming theme, by all means let us know. We often find ways to make those work.

What’s not appropriate for the Odd Salon stage?

Odd Salon is not the stage for promoting personal projects or contemporary issues. We also steer clear of overt soap-boxing at Odd Salon, so talks espousing any specific ideology or personal philosophy are unlikely to make their way to a salon, even if we personally agree with them.

What should I expect as a first time speaker?

If you are selected to speak, we’ll send you a whole bunch of info to get you started, and loop you into conversations with the rest of the speaking group. Your curator will help get you oriented, and show you the ropes. 

  • The quick answers are:
  • Talks are generally 10 minutes
  • You should plan on providing your own slideshow (we use Keynote, but can import from Powerpoint or Google Slides)
  • You’ll most likely have about (or less than) a month to prepare
  • We do have training resources available to new speakers
  • We encourage stick figure history
  • We buy your drinks

How does the Fellowship work?

Odd Salon is centered around our Fellowship, an active community of speakers who act as our advisors, frequent speakers, and mentors to new speakers. Fellowship is by invitation of the Curators, and to qualify for Fellowship, speakers must complete at least three Odd Salon talks, volunteer, and actively participate in the wider community.

Something else? Drop us a line>