>So I did the Pecha Kucha thing last night. I didn’t know entirely what to expect, having never been to one before. I have to give huge props to Ana Pinto da Silva, who heads up the organization team for Pecha Kucha Seattle. My impression from visiting the official international site is that most volumes of Pecha Kucha in the world (currently in 80 cities, and growing) focus a whole lot on architecture and design. Ana and her team managed to put together a wildly diverse roster:
Matthew Landkammer – Painter
Lulu Smith – Jewelry Designer
Myra Ganong-Varadi – Animal Rights Activist
Sage K. Saskill – Architect with S.A.G.E. Designs NW on sustainability (the bus depicted here once served as his home)
Aaron Briggs – Architectural Designer, on his trip to India
Gummi Brynjarsson – Photographer from Iceland
Sheila Siden – Fundraiser for Artist Trust
Ingrid Harten – Pathologist, researcher of Progeria Syndrome
Dave Clapper – that’d be me
For those unfamiliar with the format of Pecha Kucha (as I was), each presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each and may verbalize in any way they wish during that time. Most of the presenters last night (but for a very few) spoke extemporaneously about the images in their slides and how they related to their larger theme. In my case, the first two slides were off-the-cuff discussions about SmokeLong in general, and about the upcoming issue specifically. And then I let folks know that my nose would be buried in text and that they should holler when the slides changed. For the next 18 slides, I read as much as I could of each of the 15 stories in our upcoming issue, as well as the first 20 seconds each of Nadine Darling’s Aquarium, Melanie Rae Thon’s Translation, and my own Spike. Resonance. (which, of course, has never been in SmokeLong, but I had the microphone, right?).
It was a blast. I went last and a lot of the crowd had cleared out by then, so the audience was fairly small, but they were really enthusiastic, for which I’m very thankful. They hollered as requested, and each time they whooped, I tossed aside the page I’d been reading from (often mid-sentence) and moved on to the next. The effect was often humorous, as the tone from piece to piece varied wildly, and where many of the presentations had a certain calm to them, my presentation was more frenetic. At the end of the twenty seconds of the twentieth slide, someone yelled out, “Keep reading!” Thank you, kind person, whoever you are. You were far too kind. But it would’ve been unbalanced to have given Benjamin Weissman more time than the other authors, so I thanked everyone and urged them to read the full issue when it comes out on Saturday.
Lots and lots and lots of fun. Ana has invited me to present again at the next edition, which will take place in February. The theme of that night will be love (it’s happening a few days before Valentine’s Day). For last night’s, since we have an issue coming out so soon, the timing seemed perfect to do a sneak preview. For the next, we’ll still be about a month away from our publication date, so our lineup won’t be completely set. So…
What SmokeLong stories make you think of the theme love? I have some ideas, but I want to hear yours.