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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

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“Trauma (for your momma) … not really”

Written by Raad Shubaily and Josh Weiker

 Photos contributed by The Hot 17 Magazine

That simple, single word has an entirely outrageous implication of imagery and sensorial exploration for the people of Columbus. 
    Technically speaking, ‘trauma,’ is:
  1. a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident
  2.  an experience that produces psychological injury or pain
In Columbus, ‘Trauma’ is one of those words that means much more than its defined terms (however, they both might still apply). Simply labeled as ‘a Halloween fetish party,’ this yearly extravaganza has got to be one of the biggest [non-festival] parties in the city.

            Now, if you haven’t been, I know you might be thinking – ‘Hold up, what do you mean fetish party?’ – Well first, let me just start by saying, don’t let that little part scare you off. Instead, start with the ‘Halloween’ part – it’s a giant Halloween party! Aside from that random guy, dawning a hoodie featuring his favorite professional football team (and matching backwards cap to boot), standing creepily alone in the balcony; just about every one of the party-goers is in costume – each way better than mine. 

Secondly, … ya, okay, it’s a fetish party. It’s not all chains and whips, however they are present – it’s not celebrating disturbing fetishes (like people who really like feet), but the more presentational and even artistic expressions, such as Burlesque, body modification, and even one of the most wide-spread fetishes of all – dancing.  As a final note, if you are one to be a bit squeamish at times, or prude about partial nudity, than perhaps Trauma isn’t for you. Nudity is an abundant resource at Trauma – from pre-painted-on costumes, to bodies being painted, to performers striping down to pasties and panties – the nakedness at Trauma makes the nakedness at Comfest seem almost non-existent.

Photos by The Hot 17
About half-way through the night, you should pretty much get de-sensitized to the various displays of nudity, so that should be no big deal. The height of Trauma’s “yikes” factor probably hits right around the time people start swinging from human-sized fish hooks from the ceiling (sorry, I could have worded it more kindly, I just couldn’t help myself). More properly known as, flesh hook suspension, these performances evoke a spectrum of reactions from awe to “Aaahh!”

Photos by The Hot 17
2011 happens to mark Trauma’s 10-Year Anniversary, and the festivities will once again be held at the Bluestone (because what better place to have a Halloween fetish party, than in an old church). While the venue once known as BoMA has changed its name to Bluestone, it is nice to know that the ruckus yearly events have remained. This year, Trauma will be held on TWO nights (October 27th & November 4th), with the same line-up being featured each night. The venue itself is a ridiculous space – three floors, a handful of stages, and a patio that’s bigger than most bars in the city. There are bars in just about every corner, spread out like little alcohol oasis’s – but they are kind of pricy, apparently convenience comes at a price.

            As expected, the entertainment is right on par to mark such an occasion: over 30 performers (featured acts/individuals/groups); more than a dozen DJs; and a line-up of bands that will rock your socks off …

Photos by The Hot 17
Walking into Trauma can be overwhelming.  Disregarding the suspension and performance artists, there are upwards of 10 musical performances spread over 4 separate stages.  Trauma’s home, the Bluestone, is so large that it’s not only difficult to figure out what room you’re in, but also what room you’re about to step into.  Though it’s impossible to catch every musical performance of the night, there were certainly a few highlights.

I’m not entirely sure if I’ve ever seen so many DJs in the same venue at the same time.  The first one I noticed was Raintrain, who can often be found at the monthly Dig! dance party that takes place at Circus Columbus bar. Rocking his trademark Adidas sweat suit, his set includes clips of the James Bond theme song remixed with dance beats, 3-D lights, fog and a bubble machine. The guy knows how to entertain.
          Another outstanding set was DJ Self Help and Jared “Path” Young.  Path’s showmanship is on a level that’s not easy to come by.  Backed by Self Help’s spinning and scratching, their performance was one of the best all night.  As an emcee, Path’s fluid rhymes flow effortlessly and mix perfectly with Self Help’s beats.  
          Though a D.J. could be found in at least one of the Bluestone’s large listening rooms at any given time, there were some rock bands in the house too.  Ranging from the indie synth rock of Town Monster to Cleveland’s Megachurch and local dark-rockers the Phantods, Trauma didn’t skimp on finding the right performers.

 I was only able to catch the last few songs of Megachurch’s set and was delightfully surprised.  Judging by their recordings online, I expected many more televangelist samples.  However, this is not what I ended up hearing in their last few moments.  They straddle the fringe of metal and hard rock, but they’re quite melodically complete.  They’re a tight band, with a solid sound that could be considered aggressive, but are not overly aggressive.
          Dually entertaining was the Phantods’ set for the evening.  I’m not typically a fan of minor or darker rock music, but the energy they put out was excellent.  Donning costumes from the original Star Trek from the 1960’s, they had a good presence on stage.   One of the most interesting things to observe about different bands is how the members work together while performing.  Phantods have what could only be described as a natural chemistry about them, blending their instruments into one cohesive unit.

If you go to Trauma, don’t expect to see every band or D.J. that is there.  It’s simply not realistic.   Many of the attendees don’t exactly go for a specific band in the first place, $25 to see a band you can catch playing around town for $5 isn’t exactly the best deal. To simplify, a good idea is to look at the wide array of entertainment on the schedule and pick maybe three or so musical performances to watch.  There’s plenty of good people watching to do, and the other entertainment is definitely worth checking out as well.   

 All in all, it’s a wicked fun party.                                     

Special Thanks to: Jacob Wooten, Meghan Ralston & All of the AMAZING performers that made Trauma 2011 so spectacular, the wonderful folks at Evolved Body Art and Kobo Live, and the staff at the Bluestone.

For more information about ‘Trauma,’ check out their website:
Purchase Ticket Now @

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