In a way, the seventh installment of Pecha Kucha, emceed by Nathan Durfee, was all about the future. Each presenter shared a vision of what they want, or don’t want, for themselves and for our city.
A vulnerable Mitchell Davis used comic book panels to show his growth from a lost twentysomething to the founder of BookSurge and eventually BiblioLabs, a company that is striving to revive millions of out-of-print books from all over the world. Local artist David Boatwright presented a planned mural depicting his view of Charleston 15 years from now. We’ll be underwater, sea turtles swimming past King Street’s shops. Jazz Artists of Charleston founder Leah Suárez took only a couple of her six minutes and 40 seconds to give a spoken-word speech. Then she invited Nick Jenkins on stage and gave a performance that inspired flirtatious tweets on the real-time Twitter wall. Before the break, a nervous Christopher Zorn introduced us to the next step for search engines. His Collecta (collecta.com) gives you real-time results for whatever you’re looking for. As he spoke, a dizzying array of pictures flashed behind him, from Justin Bieber to a topless woman.
Stephen (pronounced “Steven,” as he informed us after a snafu by Durfee) Ramos represented Architecture for Humanity, an organization that believes in providing good design for those who need it most. They are currently conducting the HuB competition, bringing in plans from all over the world for a convenient mass transportation hub in Charleston. Ayoka Lucas showed 20 slides of before and after pictures, reminiscing on the lack of fashion the city once had and how we’ve improved, warning that if we don’t encourage our local designers and boutiques, downtown might start looking more like Northwoods Mall. Social owner Brad Ball emphasized the importance of finding yourself and revealed plans for his new sparkling wine venture, La Bubbly, as well as a soon-to-launch blog (wineawesomeness.com).
The night concluded with a self-serving (and I mean that in an absolutely positive way) presentation by Robert Prioleau, the strategy director of Blue Ion and a member of Parliament. He explained that one of the biggest industries in Charleston is the creative one, with 30,000 individuals bringing more than a billion dollars into the local community. And he invited each one of these professionals to join Parliament, whose website (charlestonparliament.com) went live earlier that day. Volunteers even handed out special I.D. cards and stickers created by Stitch Design Co. and Sideshow Press. While Pecha Kucha may have taken place in the Sottile Theatre, a venue that seemed to dwarf the presenters and the crowd (though the event was sold out, there were plenty of empty seats available), the space couldn’t encompass the amount of energy the audience radiated as Prioleau finished his speech.