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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pecha Kucha: A Deliciously Entertaining meeting of the Minds!

Written by Meghan Kelly
Photos courtesy of Martim Thomaz
In 2003 Pecha Kucha began in Tokyo, Japan as a networking event for designers. Less than ten years later 455 cities around the world currently hold at least quarterly, if not monthly, Pecha Kucha events - all mirroring that first night in Tokyo. While the name might be tricky to say, the platform is simple: a presenter or performer who has something cool to share explains what they are involved with in 20 seconds, and they present twenty slides for their presentation, 20/20. Now on to the name, go ahead try and say Pecha Kucha. If you aren’t familiar with the Japanese language you might not get it. Try this, say “What’s up wit cha,” and rhyme it with Pecha Kucha.  Pecha Kucha (PK) which translates in English to chit chat, is pronounced, pa-cha ka-cha. There you have it and that’s what’s up. 

Photos courtesy of Martim Thomaz
Ponder on the enormity of it for a minute. Imagine if you and your friends decided to plan an event for local people that you find to be noteworthy…cool and in less than 10 years millions of people all over the world took your one little idea and, like wildfire, it spread. The facebook page for PK Columbus has almost 5,000 fans! Multiply that by 455 cities and one guesstimates an average of about 2.3 million fans. It’s pretty amazing what the power of networking and social media can pull off. Columbus PK has one of the strongest followings, this is a testament to the fact that we have grown beyond our boring cowtown stereotype.
Columbus PK has emerged as a local favorite for those looking for an alternative evening out. As opposed going to hear music, to a festival, or say networking event at a bar, with PK you get it all in one. 

Photo courtesy of Columbus Alive
For those of us who bore easily with the mundane, PK events offer variety as the venue and lineup change with each event. Past venues included the Columbus Museum of Art, The Wexner Center, Junctionview and the Eartha Limited Warehouse. Past performers included just about every good band or cool person the 614 has to offer including Way Yes, The Wet Darlings, Trisha Dehnbostel, Nick Dekker, and Erin Moore and on and on.

Photos courtesy of Martim Thomaz
The fall PK was held in November at 400 West Rich Street an old sanitation factory which now houses, allows, and encourages artist to create, perform and have fun.
The inside was transformed into an open meet/mingle space with a stage flanked by makeshift box chairs. Dimly lit, the factory provided a unique, industrialized space that gave way to the creative energy which flowed throughout the building. Tucked away, ‘Abx Art Collective’ set up an incredibly impressive, large, one night composition show; the art was very complimentary and balancing for the space it was provided.  

Photos courtesy of Martim Thomaz
‘Columbus is Funny’ provided the intermission entertainment while the lovely Ginger Lees kicked the event off with their country, folk style and representing Starfish Designs. Dan Mushalko from WOSU was the MC; he carried the night along smoothly with his expressive, endearing personality. All the best foodie trucks were on site, as well as a seasonal bonfire. Reps from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ecohouse, a museum historian, librarians, activist, storytellers and a partridge in a pear tree were all on hand to provide a very entertaining night for the crowd.
The organizers have a gift for mixing up locations and presenters - and the event sparks the basic human interest we all have in our world and each other.  In our over technological world, PK has given people another outlet beyond their televisions, computer screens, cell phones or pad devices to connect with people in person. It has taken back reality TV and turned newsworthy information in to an actual event. 

Photos courtesy of Martim Thomaz
PK is personifying people to further engage in their community, by presenting a platform which encourages emotional ties. This direct connection will hopefully encourage and inspire people to get more involved in a better future for all of us, one in which were not laughed at by other nations on a continual basis.
The next PK will be this winter, date and location to be decided so keep an eye out. If you’re anything like me, then most networking events make you want to puke; but the PK events pull it off in a very subtle and appealing way. Eating bangin’ food from a truck, drinking free beer (or a soda, but you have to buy that) while listening to entertaining music and hanging out with nice people are a bonus to the night.  And there’s that whole ‘learning something new’ which may eventually lead to growth, that may be worth your while aspect. All in all, Pecha Kucha is well worth it for a Thursday night out in the C.O.

Please check out more information @
Special Thanks to Martim Thomaz for the photos


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