We got to know our creative neighbors at Pecha Kucha

Image by Ken Hawkins/TheDigitelImage by 20081113-pecha.jpg Apologies for the quality, I'm not the usual video guy.

It went like this: 9 local speakers, each with 6 minutes and 40 seconds to talk about whatever. These mini-presentations were rolled loosely into 20 slides with the speaker spending 20 seconds on each.

Pecha KuchaCheck out our photo gallery or this one.

The small amount of time given to each speaker during Pecha Kucha Night stimulates a sort of byzantine self-editing by preventing speakers from droning on and on in a way reminiscent of a college lecture.

The dimly lit Memminger Auditorium played host to the free-of-charge night. A large presentation screen was front and center with some 150 seats banded around it in a semi-circle. Projectors projecting the contents of e-mails and text messages faced the black-painted brick walls. The perimeter of the space was also home to delicious free food and drinks made possible by their sponsors.

Some presentations had direct ties to the local area, like Whitney Powers' talk about blending architecture with the Lowcountry. While some presentations had looser ties, like Jacob Lindsey's presentation on the world becoming more urban. And some had little to do with Charleston, Justin Nathanson's short video about his thoughts on death.

But, the night wasn't just about the presentation, it was perhaps as much about getting to know who and what talent is in our community.

There were nine presenters in all (Jacob Lindsey, Urban Designer/Planner with Keane & Co; Whitney Powers, Owner of Studio A Architecture; Jonathan Sanchez, Writer, Owner of Blue Bicycle Books; Brady Waggoner, Designer/Musician, Partner in Hook; Tim Hussey, Designer/Photographer/Artist; Colin Quashie, Artist/Writer; Marcus Amaker, Poet/Designer; Nico Romo, Executive Chef, Patrick Properties; Justin Nathanson, Film Director/Producer) But, you can get a full rundown of who here.

Charleston's first Pecha Kucha Night was great, even if they experienced a few minor technical gaffs. But that's a rough edge they can polish when they do it again in January (hopefully). For more details on the next one, stay tuned to TheDigitel for more details or the local Pecha Kucha Night's Web site.

But just remember to RSVP early, the seats filled up fast this time.

Update November 14: Dan over at Xark does some speculating on how Pecha Kucha Night could be the start of some much-needed changes for Charleston's creative community to thrive. In part:
Personally? I need this to work. I gave up a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist this year because everything I'd learned told me the world was moving rapidly in another direction. Are there jobs for people like me? Sure -- and at the moment, they're in other cities. If Charleston isn't able to generate a broader and more sustainable economy for its cultural creatives in 2009-2010, then it's entirely likely that I'll have to move elsewhere. I know dozens of Charlestonians who will be facing similar dilemmas.

I couldn't agree more.

Also, the local Pecha Kucha site has more photos and rounds up other Pecha Kucha stories.

Update December 8: Here's another short video from the night.