Providence Celebrates 5th Anniversary of Pecha Kucha

pecha_kucha_soap1(3.26) In early 2009, newly transplanted Rhode Islander Stephanie Gerson (update: now Stephanie Lepp) looked around and more or less said, “Huh, look at all the cool stuff here. Why the heck doesn’t Providence have Pecha Kucha nights?” So the hula-hooping vixen kicked off a Providence version of the free-admission global phenomenon, whose name (pronounced more or less “puh-CHAK-chuh”) reflects its Japanese origin.

Wednesday, March 26, 7:20 – 10:30 p.m., 276 Westminster Street

Called everything from “show and tell for adults” to “PowerPoint performance art” to “micro TED talks,” Pecha Kucha has one universal concept: presenters show 20 slides and talk for exactly 20 seconds about each one. Boom, entire presentation over in 6 minutes, 40 seconds. Our own PKN had one notable exception, though: Providence Pecha Kecha Night occurred EVERY month, rather than bi-monthly or quarterly like the other cities (although now that PKNs have spread like jelly to a whopping 700 cities, others might match our frequency). Although my own attendance has seriously slacked the past couple years, Providence PKN has been going strong, and tonight they celebrate five years and their 60th Pecha Kucha Night, with the fitting theme of “longevity” for the presentations. Stephanie moved away a few years ago and turned the reins over to Michael Gazdacko, who is now co-organizing the nights with mover and shaker (and once-upon-a-time Daily Dose contributor) John Taraborelli. It’s kind of amazing that Providence PKN has managed to line up nearly 450 presenters on projects, installations, ideas, innovations, models, and more, and I’m sure there will be many more to come. Topics often go way beyond art and design, and performances can be more interactive than just the images on screen (for PKN’s 3rd anniversary, the Extraordinary Rendition Band managed to present and perform at the same time – and without being blinded by the projector to boot). I can’t wait to check out the 5th anniversary tonight, even if I’ll be the one nursing a drink and customarily grumbling about all the schmoozing.

PKN locations rotate to showcase various spots in our capital city, and tonight’s 5th anniversary shindig is at Aurora Providence. Although the venue is brand-new (as in, even though Aurora has hosted a fun New Year’s Eve show and a Martha Redbone concert, its grand opening isn’t scheduled until May 17th), the location sports some longevity of its own, having hosted Roots Cultural Center (formerly Roots Café), and before that, Providence Black Repertory Company.

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