After the huge popularity of Charleston’s first Pecha Kucha event back in November, folks made sure they snatched up tickets for Wednesday’s show & tell/open mike/happy hour event (Feb. 25). We’re told they sold out in eight hours. That’s pretty impressive for what is essentially a mini lecture series featuring the city’s creative elite. The big turn-out, plus the great speakers, reflects the strength of Charleston’s growing cultural community. Can we say inspired? (Scroll down for gallery.)

Over 250 people filled the American Theater for the event, and those who couldn’t get tickets were packed like sardines into Fish next door. Guests snacked on salty popcorn and beer, while inside by the stage a screen showed a constantly-updating stream of PK-related tweets and texts. After an introduction from organizers, we were treated to six short presentations (six minutes and 40 seconds to be exact … there was a timer) from the featured speakers about their artistic process. Here are some highlights:

  • Jimihatt. The bearded founder of Guerrilla Cuisine seemed at home on stage, with a can of beer in his hand. He rushed through a show-and-tell, with slides from past Guerrilla Cuisine events and fliers. When he started undoing his belt and dropped his pants at the end of his presentation, gasps were heard throughout the room. Luckily, he was just showing off his sweet Guerrilla Cuisine drawers. Gotta get me some of those.
  • Mary Norton. Dressed impeccably in a sparkly dress and some killer yellow heels from her last collection, this local and national handbag (and accessories) superstar gave us a lot of insight into what inspires her. Things like her dreams, her family, and Mrs Robinson of The Graduate (the reason for her sexy trademark leopard-print liners). She walked us through the thought process behind her latest collection, inspired by the senses. Suddenly, fashion really seems like a legitimate artform. At least in Mary Norton’s hands.
  • Michael Maher. After dealing with a few technical issues, Maher charmed us with his well-planned slideshow, that featured video clips of young people asking about issues related to civic design in the city. “Are you responsible for the buildings that stick out like a sore thumb?” “What about housing I can afford?” “What’s in store for the future of Charleston?” Maher answered all of these questions, then finished with one of his own: “What are you doing to make Charleston’s future better?” Whatever happens, it’s exciting stuff.
  • Diana Deaver. The beautiful young photographer talked about fashion in her lilting European accent. Her slideshow featured some gorgeous people from around town wearing great clothes, and she spoke about a project she’s working on that focuses on the art and power of personal style. It’s a creative outlet that should be embraced by everyone.
  • Gil Shuler. This renowned graphic designer presented a slideshow of some of his favorite designs from over the years, and, personally, made me feel pretty sad for my limited creativity. The way this guys’s brain works is a little astounding. Many of the designs and logos he’s created are M.C. Escher-esque, particularly the final slide he showed, of Alpha Dog/Omega Cat’s logo. Many of his designs seem simple at first, but when you look closer, there’s always a smart little twist that works into the concept (see, I can’t even put it into words).
  • Mike Moran. The young owner of Michael James Moran Woodworked Furniture was introduced as a tree hugger who likes listening to sad music when he cooks and sleeps with a teddy bear his sister gave him. How could you not like a guy like that? After giving a brief introduction, he stepped back and filled the majority of his six minutes with a video showing long, lazy clips of different kinds of trees. The guy is passionate about trees. And he loves using trees/wood to create beautiful furniture with his bare hands. But how does he justify the killing of the much-loved trees to make furniture? We know he’s got a good answer to that question … we just wish he’d addressed it.
  • Sharon Graci. With actor Paul Whitty, Graci spent most of the time performing a scene from the upcoming production of Hogs. The scene was tense, powerful, and a little uncomfortable (in a good way). What better way to understand their artistic process than by seeing it in action? –EJ

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