FrontBurner Field Trip: Pecha Kucha Vol. 4 at the Wyly Theatre

Last night, I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the fourth installment of Pecha Kucha Night. At least the fourth here in Dallas. The idea started in Tokyo and similar events happen all over the world. I happen to have some thoughts, so let’s go ahead and jump in case it gets long and I forget to click the button that makes a click-thru and everyone gets mad at me for dominating the page. And jump over here to FrontRow, where Peter Simek has some thoughts, too.

The setup has been mentioned around these parts before, I believe, but I’ll go ahead and reset: 12 speakers — six before and six after a 20-minute intermission — each are allowed 20 slides and 20 seconds to explain each slide (or not explain, depending). It seems fast, and it is, but a lot of information can be transmitted in those 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

The name: it’s not PEH-chah KOO-chah like I, and just about everyone else I talked to, had been pronouncing it. It’s more like one word: peh-CHAK-uh. (I think. That is at least closer that what I was doing.) Anyway, it means “chit chat” in Japanese.

It’s hard for me to accurately convey what the night was like. A great dinner party without the dinner? I mean, I could tell you about the speakers. I could tell you about Bill Holston’s talk based around objects that have ended up in his office during his work as a human rights lawyer. But I don’t think I could capture the emotion present, especially when one slide displayed a letter from a client and he read from it. It got very dusty in the Wyly then, if you know what I mean — and yet Holston’s talk I wouldn’t really classify as sad.

And there’s no way I could do an adequate job of replaying Buck Johnson and Camp Bosworth’s sort of vaudeville back-and-forth routine about Marfa. Or Bruce Webb from the Webb Gallery’s reminiscences about the folk artists he met on his road trips and how they impacted his life and art, that — for some reason that made total sense at the time — ended up with him jumping up and down onstage in his cowboy boots. I need all the slides from Elizabeth Wattley’s talk about her Food for Good Farm on the former football field at Paul Quinn College so your eyes get as wide as everyone in the room when she showed what is going on there.

Suffice to say, each deserve their own post, or an extension of the story they told. And I’ll probably work on making that happen over the next few weeks.

But next time, you should go, too.

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