Of the three Pecha Kuchas that I have been to, Wednesday night’s was by far my least favorite.
A main reason for this is it felt like we spent more time waiting for things to start or to continue than we did listening to presenters. The night got off to a late start, which was soon followed by a too-long intermission. Think about it: Seven presenters talking for six minutes and 40 seconds — if they just went consecutively, with introductions, we’d be out of there in maybe a little more than an hour. My other PK experiences had intermissions as well, but I think they were more noticeable this time around since the event was at the Music Farm; to say that seating was limited would be an understatement.
PK has used this venue before, so it was a little anticlimactic to discover earlier in the week that this was the secret location for the eighth round. And the casual atmosphere detracted from the show. While thankfully the audience was respectful and attentive during each of the individual speakers, a roar of chatter and clinking beer bottles arose each time emcee and Skirt! founder Nikki Hardin took the podium to introduce the presenters. It was a rowdier environment than I was used to.
But the night is about the speakers, and they did not disappoint. Brian Wurst discussed creating solutions to “architectural chafing,” and Marjory Wentworth recited poems while her friend Mary Edna Fraser’s vivid paintings flashed on the screen. Elizabeth Beak’s speech on fostering the local spirit was the most inspiring of the night, but was oddly juxtaposed with Patrick Emerson’s talk on wine — I doubt even the most devout locavores would restrict themselves to local vino.
After the intermission, one of John Pundt’s friends handed him a beer as he told us about using blood to make art, borrowing a pig, and presenting the most visually appealing slideshow of the night. Gary Collins “talked Canadian” about identifying the different values within a community. And Robert Lange (did you know he was a math prodigy?) was a wise choice to wrap things up. He gave us a sneak peek at a months-long art project he’s planning that he wants to involve as many Charlestonians in, artists or not.
While it was not the most atmospherically appealing Pecha Kucha, it was not lacking that creatively stimulating buzz that I’ve come to love. You’ll still see me at the next one.