Thursday, October 14, 2010
A dozen speeches on Wednesday proved Dallas is doing a lot creatively
Pecha Kucha, as it was called, brought inquiring minds together to share their ideas.
DALLAS At a “poetry slam meets show-and-tell” Wednesday night at the Wyly Theatre, we were treated to a dozen quick-fire speakers who shared their insights about, well, everything. It was Pecha Kucha, a one-night hosted during Idea Week and just before TEDxSMU.
Pecha Kucha (pronounced Peh-cha kuh-cha and meaning “chit chat” in Japanese) was started in Tokyo as a way for creatives to share ideas. The speaker told us what we already know: “Creatives can get up and talk about their work for three, four, five hours” – but no one really wants to listen that long. And thus blossomed Pecha Kucha, where each speaker gets 6 minutes and 40 seconds to talk while they show 20 slides every 20 seconds.
Each speaker did it differently: Some came with pages of text they read through calmly as the slides passed in perfect time. Others winged it, sometimes getting ahead of or behind their slides. And some did a little bit of both, glancing at their notes but generally speaking from what appeared to be a memorized speech. Two of the 12 speakers are frequent PegNews commenters, and we were glad to see them in the flesh: Bill Holston and Rawlins Gilliland.
The evening, for me, centered a little more on entertainment than innovation. It was fun to listen to local stories, but it was more like they were teaching us about what they were doing than asking us to join in. For future events, it would be interesting to listen to someone who didn't have it figured out already. But it sure was fun.
Here's a brief recap:
Dallas robotics guy Steve Rainwater says, “We need to make Dallas weird.” Donning red Chuck Taylors, he took us through an array of fun robotics and software-based projects happening in Dallas we had no idea were going on.
Elizabeth Wattley, director of service learning at Paul Quinn College, told about how the school's football field was turned into a working farm after they realized the neighborhood needed a place to buy groceries.
Nick Ley, a local tattoo shop owner, showed us photos of tattoos he and his employees have done.
Janice Provost, of restaurant Parigi, explained how their family-oriented restaurant uses local supplies and is empowering young people interested in culinary arts.
Fulbright Scholar Jessie Zarazaga explained the poetic significance of architecture in a small village in Chile.
Violinist Richmond Punch was the only “speaker” who didn't speak: He played three pieces set to music to show us how he's inspired.
Artist Cathey Miller gave a hysterical explanation of how her paintings developed into space-age art, including silly images like ladies dressed in anti-gravity lingerie.
Lawyer Bill Holston gave a heartwarming talk about how he helps people seeking asylum in the United States after being persecuted elsewhere. He had letters from people he helped find a better life. He also wore a cool blazer given to him by one of his clients.
Architect Mark Gunderson gave a play-on-words speech about the non-dualist world we live in.
Buck Johnson and Camp Bosworth told why they moved from Dallas to the teeny town of Marfa, Texas, and lived to tell about it.
Artist and store owner Bruce Webb gave tales of his travels as he met seemingly-crazy artists like the Rhinestone Cowboy, who influenced his own art.
And Rawlins Gilliland, the son of “activist artist” parents, treated us to stories about his fancy mother who was the only woman on the block to serve clam dip to his Cub Scout troop, much to his embarrassment.
This year's Pecha Kucha was hosted by Brian Murphy and Sarah Jane Semrad was first time the once-small event attracted a few hundred people. From the buzz before, after, and during the “beer break,” it seemed lots of Dallas folks were excited about what could blossom from the brainstorming session.
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