Ethan Cox of Community Beer Works, opening the day at TEDxBuffalo 2011

If it was any other conference, there wouldn’t have been a beer on stage at just after 9 a.m. There might never have been a chance to consider the ties between a grandfather’s plastic-covered furniture and a grandson’s creative firm, or between Anne Frank and Meryl Streep and the Rwandan genocide. And a dozen other speakers and performers, and more than 100 audience members and hundreds more watching online, could never have seen a man in a lobster suit pull off a stage dive.

But that’s why the volunteer organizers, speakers, performers, and sponsors behind TEDxBuffalo chose to put on a conference under the banner of TED and its independently organized TEDx events. We wanted to see what happened when you put a bunch of intriguing ideas from many different communities together on one stage, on one day, as a free, not-for-profit conference.

It’s safe to say that most people who saw our first-ever event on Oct. 11, 2011 came away with some new ideas. Pretty soon, we’ll post videos of all our talks and performances, with the goal of spreading those ideas much further.

Update: Videos from TEDxBuffalo 2011 are now posted.

The TEDxBuffalo team had about five months to plan this first conference, starting with a dozen people gathered around a plastic card table. It put a real strain at times on some rather busy people. And not everything went perfectly at showtime (sorry about the lunch lines and live feed outages, folks). But volunteers gave their all, speakers and performers gave their time and talent, and everything, for the most part, worked out.

We’re eager to gather up some feedback, assess our hits and misses, and, after a bit of a sabbatical, start on a 2012 event. For now, we’d like to share some of the photos and web’s responses to TEDxBuffalo 2011.

First up, photos from that day at the Montante Cultural Center, shot by Scott Freeman:

Next, a curated Storify stream of the immediate Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube responses to the event (in rough reverse-chronological order):

Update: Embedded below is our playlist for TEDxBuffalo 2011, containing all of that day’s talks. Click to start playing, then, click the tiled screen icon (to the left of the closed caption/cc button) to choose between talks (or cherry-pick videos from the full list).

Finally, you can peek at the archives of our Ustream output for that day—incomplete and unedited, but a good idea of what viewers are remote sites were seeing.

Thanks to everyone who made TEDxBuffalo 2011 an unforgettable day full of memorable ideas.