What I learned at Pecha Kucha

imagesFor the past two years, Dragonfly has sponsored Pecha Kucha Night in Dayton, Ohio.

Pecha Kucha, if you don’t know, is an event where people share their latest creative work, projects … or even vacation photos … in a relaxed, public forum. It was devised in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for young architects to meet and show their work in public, and it’s since “gone viral.”

Pecha Kucha’s simple, unique format — a presenter shows 20 images, for 20 seconds each — brings electricity to even the driest of topics. PK events are now held in more than 540 cities worldwide.

I support Pecha Kucha because every time I attend, I learn something new about storytelling, connecting with an audience, and the power of speaking in your own authentic voice.

Here’s what else I learned this time around.

  1. You can make a difference in your neighborhood. Joe Dierkers and 31 of his neighbors did. Together, they put together $53,000 to buy and renovate an eyesore property in Dayton’s St. Anne district.  The “dated, dirty, and disgusting” building is now slated to open as a brewpub in 2013.
  2. Yes, Dayton does have a hip hop dance studio. It’s called Funk Lab, and they teach “hip hop choreography, bboying/bgirling, popping, and contemporary dance styles.” (Note to self: add “bboy” and “bgirl” to editorial style sheet.)
  3. Listening to a guy talk about woodworking can make you cry, uncontrollably, in public. Thank you, Burt Saidel, for your moving talk. “Making things with your hands is joy, is life, is fun, it adds meaning to life … that’s all I have to say.”
  4. Over 25,000 people come to Dayton each year to attend Hamvention, the world’s largest amateur radio gathering. Together, they bring more than $7 million into the Dayton economy.
  5. 80% of the antibiotics used in the United States go to agriculture; the majority of that 80% is fed to chicken and cattle. Info courtesy of  Keener Farm, provider of locally-raised grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, and sausage and bacon made from pigs farrowed in a wood lot. (Daytonians take note: Keener Farm supplies Olive, An Urban Dive.)
  6. Jud Yalkut, a mixed-media artist and early pioneer in video art, lives right here in Dayton and is a columnist for the Dayton City Paper.
  7. Dubrovnik is known as “the pearl of Croatia.”
  8. Despite the omnipresence of GPS and iPhone maps, some people still like to see their geography laid out on paper. Jamie McQuinn, special acquisitions manager at the Dayton Metro Libraries: “Maps are about both freedom and place … they are metaphors for adventure.”
  9. Biking is a cure for writer’s block.

I need to remember that last item next time I’m working on a white paper …

Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial. Jill Davis, one of Dragonfly’s writers, helps to organize the Dayton Pecha Kucha chapter.

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