On Saturday, Clif and I went to Waterville for another rousing PechaKucha Night, or PK Night, as it is more commonly known. (PechaKucha means chitchat in Japanese.) Here is a little background info about PechaKucha gleaned from the official website:
“PechaKucha…is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in their gallery/lounge/bar/club/creative kitchen, SuperDeluxe, in February, 2003.”
Why 20 images, each for 20 seconds? Because some people have a tendency to, ahem, go on a bit too long when they have a microphone. The 20 x 20 format keeps people in reasonable bounds and often leaves the audience wanting more rather than wishing for less.
The thing I love about PK Nights is that they “are informal and fun gatherings where creative [and local] people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format.”
Clif and I have been going to PK Waterville for several years. We so enjoy listening to and watching the various presentations given by everyday folks who are living creative lives.
Saturday’s PK Night was held in the Hathaway Creative Center, formerly the Hathaway Shirt Company. My father once worked at Hathaway Shirt Company, and it was one of the cornerstones of Waterville’s economy. However, the great factories in Waterville are gone, either torn down or converted into some other use, the way Hathaway Shirt Company has been. Times change, and Waterville is struggling to find a new way to support itself.
Hundreds of people came to last Saturday’s PK Night, and the huge meeting room was packed. A snappy jazz band, Mes Amis, played before the presentations started, and there were tasty appetizers provided by the Last Unicorn, a restaurant in downtown Waterville.
The presentations began, and they included a young woman recreating her stylish grandmother’s clothes and wearing them around NYC; another young woman, in Elizabethan garb, who has started a low-budget Shakespeare company; an acquaintance of ours—Pat Clark—who outlined her experience as a lumberjack and Jill coach at Unity College, where she works.
A little about Pat’s presentation: In Maine, there are lumberjack competitions at various fairs and colleges where young women and men compete to see who can saw the fastest and straightest, among other woody activities. They use hand tools, and let’s just say that these young people are in very, very good shape. Clif and I have never gone to one of those competitions but after listening to Pat and looking at the slides, it is on our must-see list. (Colby College in Waterville just had a woodsmen’s and women’s competition. Next year Clif and I will go.)
Then there was Tim Christensen’s “Art in the Holocene Extinction.” Christensen is a potter who lives in Down East Maine, and he makes exquisite etched-porcelain pottery. He regards potters as the record keepers of humanity, and his concern is the natural world—the systems that hold the world up, the weather, waves, and tides.
Christensen went on to speak of some alarming observations. One spring there were no smelts, and the lobsters shedded earlier. How to save the animals? Finally, he spoke of how he etches about life Down East, how life emerges form the vernal pools, how bees pollinate, how hummingbird moths feed. He etches chickens in the coop, and life as man and animal.
Here is a link to Christensen’s website were you can see his beautiful creations.
When the evening was over, I came away inspired and informed, as I always do. The next PK Night is in July, and if the schedule allows, Clif and I will be there.