NOTE: PK XXV has been rescheduled due to Hurricane Matthew to Nov. 18. Previously-purchased tickets will be honored, but refunds are available through the Charleston Arts Festival here.
Since its inception in Japan 13 years ago, PechaKucha has always celebrated collaboration, provided a unique venue where creatives can communicate, and encouraged fresh ideas. Now in over 900 cities, the presentation format was created by Tokyo's architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham. PechaKucha's aim is brevity, each presentation totalling six minutes and 40 seconds and divided up between 20 slides at 20 seconds apiece.
"It forces these presenters to make a concise statement," says Charles Carmody, director of the Charleston Music Hall, where the Holy City's 25th PechaKucha, abbreviated PKXXV, will happen tonight. "I think it makes for really creative and wonderful talk."
This isn't Carmody's first rodeo, so to speak. While he has been involved with five total PechaKuchas, this is the fourth edition hosted by the Music Hall. "It's the ideal venue. Originally the goal was to move locations for every PechaKucha," says Carmody. "But once we did PechaKuchaXX, the Music Hall is just set up for this type of thing. You can fit so many people in here that it works great."
Each PechaKucha has a theme. Last August, PKXXIV focused on entrepreneurs, while this week's has been dubbed All Things Musical. So Carmody and Terry Fox — founding member of Charleston Parliament, PKXXV's co-host — have put their heads together and curated a local lineup that can provide insight into every nook of the music industry. "We wanted to present a diverse group of men and women," says Carmody. "And we also want to be diverse as far as people's jobs within the industry."
That's why they've called on locals like Lisa Moran, owner of the Art Counsel, an artist management company that manages artists like Sufjan Stevens and specializes in live concert production, and Jerrod Wilkins, partner at Gold Mountain Entertainment, an artist management firm with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, and Charleston.
PKXXV will also present folks who make their living in front of a microphone, like songstress and comedian Lily Slay, Charleston hip-hop royalty Matt Monday, and soulful vocalist and songwriter, Ann Caldwell. Other presenters include Dan McCurry, founder/director of local record label Hearts & Plugs, Alex Harris, owner and talent buyer of the Charleston Pour House, and our very own music editor, Kelly Rae Smith. Charlton Singleton, trumpeter and conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, will emcee.
Normally, PechaKucha consists strictly of presentations, but considering the theme, Carmody and Fox couldn't help but stock the night with live music performances from four acts, including local a cappella group the Plantation Singers. "They kind of represent something that's been getting overlooked here, which is the Gullah roots which are the roots of what we are as a city," Carmody says.
Also on the bill is She Returns From War's Hunter Park, who'll perform solo acoustic. "She's a very outspoken trans musician," says Carmody. "I look forward to having her on. She kind of represents that country-acoustic side of the evening." And closing the night is Very Hypnotic Soul Band, who originally formed for last year's Hi Harmony, a post-Emanuel-shooting community concert celebrating musical diversity. "[The music] is like hip-hop with R&B with kind of indie rock that just makes this beautiful little thing," Carmody says. "For me, it was very important to get them on this. I want us to be moving forward in our diversity in this town, within the music scene. And they're perfectly made to show musicians coming together."
That leaves one musical performer left unnamed, and there's a reason for that. "The first act is kind of a secret surprise," says Carmody. "And it's gonna be really fabulous."
PKXXV is also the opening event for the first ever Charleston Arts Festival, which encompasses a culinary presentation at High Wire Distillery, the Women & Radiohead performance at the Hall, and the finale, a.k.a. Jailbreak, at the Old City Jail. "It really is all about connecting," says Carmody. "An architect meeting a chef meeting a graphic designer meeting a musician, all of that — a beautiful collaboration can be created out of it. It's an amazing way for people to connect with other people in their communities."