Some of Charleston’s most creative and interesting minds will once again gather under one roof on Tuesday night. PechaKucha 38 (PK) will bring eight local artists, entrepreneurs and professionals to the Charleston Music Hall.
PechaKucha, which is Japanese for “chit chat,” involves concise presentations from each guest, all within specific timing requirements. Each presenter is allowed to display 20 slides, and each slide lasts 20 seconds. This keeps each presentation at a tight 6 minutes and 40 seconds, and ensures fast-paced talks. Presenters are allowed to talk about whatever they like, whether that be their personal careers, a specific project they are working on or a topic relevant to their field of expertise.
PK is organized locally by the Charleston Arts Festival, an arts advocacy group founded in 2015 by Andrew Walker and Terry Fox. Fox is the principal force behind Charleston’s PK events, bringing in speakers from all of Charleston’s communities. The series, which has been hosted internationally since originating in Japan in 2003, was brought to Charleston in 2008.
PK36 was held in February 2020, just weeks before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a lot of effort, Fox was able to bring back PK last year for 37, but needed to be cautious. Despite a difficult road back, it went well last year, and Fox is excited about mounting this month’s event.
“It really is important to have the creatives all in a space together,” Fox said.
The Charleston Music Hall has COVID-19 protocols in place to keep audiences safe, including requiring vaccines or negative tests for entry.
PK38 brings together a packed slate of great minds. The artists on the roster this year are FAB workshop founder Randi Weinstein, jazz artist Gino Castillo, Donnelley Foundation executive director Kerri Forrest, James Beard Award semi-finalist Alex Lira, artist and Yo Art Inc executive director Greg Colleton, entrepreneur and strategist Allyson Sutton, piano virtuoso Stephen Washington and brand identity designer Josh Capeder. PK house DJ Professor Ping returns for the event, and former presenter and yours truly, City Paper contributing arts editor Michael Smallwood, will serve as the evening’s emcee.
“I’m always interested in unique and newer talent,” Fox said. “I like to focus on what’s going on that’s current. Personalities that are vibrant and engaging.” Fox also gives lots of consideration to the gender and racial makeup of each event, wishing to present the widest possible look at the creative minds in town.
“Who has the total package to make a good PK presenter?” That’s a question Fox asks not just himself, but also the community at large. He welcomes Charleston residents to suggest voices they want to hear from as well.
Randi Weinstein, who has worked in the food and hospitality industry for much of her life, is one of the presenters this year. Her presentation will be about her life since moving to Charleston from New York, and how it’s led to her passion. “That is a longer story, but I began as a garment center kid, moved to working in restaurants, onto owning a wholesale children’s accessory showroom, moved to Charleston and began finding myself here,” said Weinstein of her journey. Weinstein is the organizer for FAB, a business workshop for women in the hospitality industry.
“There’s been a number of occasions in which people have been really self revelatory in ways that are surprising and very brave,” Fox said.
Weinstein’s personal reflection is just the sort of story that fits right in with previous PK presentations.
PK is a great way for Charlestonians, both long-time locals and new transplants, to discover, meet and learn about exciting people in our community. Fox and company are hoping audiences will come to the Music Hall and hear some of these exciting and interesting presentations.