Pecha Kucha 12 got back to its roots Wednesday night with a return to the American Theater, the site of one of the first Pecha Kuchas. Tickets sold out in a record 50 minutes, and the lucky few who snagged them packed into the ballroom to be inspired, entertained, and occasionally befuddled by the roster of speakers.
After grabbing a Westbrook brew and listening to some jams from DJs Cassidy and the Kid, we settled in for the main event, hosted by Lunch and Recess' Ethan Jackson. Josef Kirk Myers and Will Willis of Visualive started things off with an energetic presentation that left a few people scratching their heads. Through the use of random YouTube videos and a tutu, their message essentially boiled down to using the power of the internet and crowd-sourcing for promotional purposes. Bob and Kris Galmarini were up next with their story of how they started their own children's clothing line, Neve Inspired. And inspiring it was — who wouldn't want to achieve their dreams of working from home surrounded by your spouse and two adorable kids?
The City Paper's editor Stephanie Barna then took to the podium, demonstrating her story-telling skills with entertaining tales of life as an alt-weekly editor. This included everything from bomb threats for boobalicious covers to getting bitched out by old ladies for advertising defective penis pumps. This writer even received a shout-out for allowing a potentially insane ink-covered man into her office years ago. Oops. SPARC's John Smith finished out the first half of the night. The main thing we remember from his speech was the part about keeping your employees happy by apparently going to retreats in exotic locales. We hope you heard that, Mrs. Barna.
After the intermission, the room heated up when Barnfly Productions' John Barnhardt and photographer Abigail Marie took the stage. Their bit featured a lengthy video of scantily clad girls (including Marie) dancing, cuddling, and hula-hooping provocatively. We can't remember much of what they talked about, because, oddly enough, videos of girls spraying each other with water-hoses can be a little distracting. The energy level in the room definitely shot up (as evidenced by boner-ific tweets on the tweet wall), but we have to admit to being a little disappointed that, as one of the few female presenters at a notoriously male-dominated event, Marie didn't talk much about her work as a photographer, choosing instead to shimmy on stage while a sexy video of herself played in the background.
Charleston Mix's Ryan Eleuteri broke the mood by joking about the lack of lesbian porn in his presentation, going on to talk about being a car salesman and how he hatched the idea for Charleston Mix while suffering from a wicked hangover. Then graphic designer Jay Fletcher gave a thought-provoking talk about talent and passion, but we really wish he'd shown off more of his amazing work. After that, Chris McLernon wrapped things up with the rambling, name-dropping tale of his years working as a musician. He went way over his allotted time (Pecha Kucha party foul!), but when he finally left the stage, we were treated to an invigorating surprise performance from North Charleston's African dance/drum troupe Wona Womalan.
Pecha Kucha is always a mix of speakers who inspire us and make us proud to be Charlestonians, and others who make us wish we could get those six minutes and 40 seconds of our lives back. But no matter who the presenters are, they give us something to talk about the next day.