One year anniversary of PechaKucha
PechaKucha allows Brown and others to share their quirky passions and career choices with the community at-large.
“Just do it” was Tammy Rabideau’s oft-repeated motto last Friday night, Oct. 22, as master of ceremonies for Volume Five of the Waterville PechaKucha Nights. PechaKucha, which means “chit-chat” in Japanese, is a unique public event featuring local presenters speaking on topics of their choice.
PechaKucha Night (PKN) was developed in Tokyo, Japan in 2003 and has since become so internationally renowned that hundred of cities around the world host PKNs. “Richard Caro presented the idea that we should start a PechaKucha Night in Waterville….We decided just do it,” Rabideau explained to the audience. Caro, Rabideau and Martin Kelly are the co-coordinators of the event series. The first Waterville PKN was held on Oct. 20, 2010, making last week’s event the one-year anniversary.
An article in the Morning Sentinel previewing the first PKN had the headline “Artists to meet, share ideas,” which sums up the concept quite well. Anyone, from amateur to professional, artist to art lover, can send in a presentation proposal. The only constraint: the presentation must follow the simple formula of 20 images, 20 seconds per image. Each presenter then has six minutes and 40 seconds to impart the root of his or her passion to the community.
Presenters at Volume Five spoke on topics ranging from printmaking to portrait photography, from Rubik’s Cubes to river damming. Rabideau introduced each presenter, reading quotes from family and friends describing him or her. Brian Zemrak, presenting on his business On Screen and Beyond, was described as “Colby’s Forrest Gump.” Zemrak works in ITS at the College, but in the past he has also been a disc jockey, an amateur filmmaker and now a celebrity podcast host.
Zemrak does casual interviews with big-name celebrities and posts them on his website, onscreenandbeyond.com. “I started putting up the podcasts,” Zemrak said, “and one day I had over 100,000 hits in two hours.” Zemrak has now interviewed over 182 celebrities, including Bob Barker, Taylor Lautner, Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady, Debi Derryberry, the voice of Jimmy Neutron, and many more.
Artist Leigh Rose shared images of his abstract sculptures. Rose “has spent most of his life on the oceanside away from town,” Rabideau said when he introduced Rose. Machias, Maine, Rose said, “is where I found a great love of rust.” Many of his sculptures are made from found driftwood and metal scraps. One, entitled “Peter,” is a three-dimensional collage of unique knotty weather-distorted driftwood. While most of his sculptures are lasting pieces, they have a sense of time and a feeling of impermanence. One temporary piece made on a beach in Honolulu embodies a natural transience reminiscent of renowned nature sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
Heidi Blair ’12 presented on her travels abroad in Santiago, Chile and the controversy over the plan to dam the river system in Patagonia. Rabideau said, “Heidi wants to change the world for the better and is one of those people who probably will.” Her images showed Chilean citizens peacefully protesting the dams, which would be an exploitation of Patagonia’s natural resources and would flood many valleys in the area. This flooding would wipe out homes and drown the animals native to those areas, such as deer. One image showed a political billboard depicting a drowning deer as an environmentalist’s plea.
Since the beginning of PKN Waterville, students and faculty of the College have been involved as presenters and as promoters. The Colby-Waterville Alliance (CWA) helped organize and publicize the event. PKN Volume One, attended by almost 200 members of the community, included presentations by students, Ai Yamanaka ’11 and Molly Bennett ’11 and photographer and Assistant Professor of Art Gary Green. Other student presenters have included Sarah Hirsch ’12 and Qainat Khan ’11.
“We did have a sense that [PKN] was a special opportunity for all of us in and around Waterville, Maine,” Rabideau said. “Over the last year we have all been participants in cultivating an awareness of the creative mojo right here at hand in our community.” PKN Waterville is produced with the aid of much community support. Waterville Maine Street, the Waterville Public Library and the College’s Museum of Art are among the largest supporters. The Hathaway Creative Center has hosted more than one PKN and Barrels Community Market provided free snacks last Friday.
Karen Heck ’74, co-founder of Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) and mayoral candidate in the upcoming Waterville election, celebrated these community outlets. In her presentation, “Je t’aime Waterville,” Heck elaborated on the many things she loves about Waterville, from local business to her HGHW coworkers and from town workers to Maine seasonal changes.
PKN Waterville Volume Six will be on Jan. 20, 2012. If you have any interest in presenting on a creative topic of interest to you, the proposal deadline is Dec. 28 and Rabideau urges you, to “Just do it!” For more info, go to pecha-kucha.org/night/waterville. Having celebrated one year of successful nights, PKN has become a new and unique tradition in Waterville.