Inspiring PechaKucha Night at 21C … the Mayor and 12 other Thinkers.


In my travels, I always have trouble explaining to people just how exciting it can be to live in Louisville, and nights like last night at 21C reinforce how cool it is to live here. 21C Museum Hotel hosted Louisville’s fourth Pecha Kucha event last night to a standing-room-only crowd. It was one of those evenings that made me proud to live here among such creative, innovative, and optimistic people.

The Pecha Kucha started in Japan in 2003 as a way for designers to present new ideas in a forum as concise as a bento box, and the format has spread around the world.  Essentially, twelve people are given 400 seconds each to talk to the crowd, each speaker accompanied by a timed PowerPoint that features 20 slides for 20 seconds each. There were lectures on architecture, there were ideas for community development, there were speeches on lifestyle changes, and there was a lot of brainpower. There was also the mayor, and Metro TV, lots of community leaders, media folks, artists, and tons of folks I don’t know, all of who listened attentively and reacted in the most inspiring ways.

I’m biased, of course, as my sweetie was one of the twelve presenters. Warning: here’s the part where I gush about David. I’d never really seen him in his element. Usually I’m the one going on stage while he claps politely from the audience. But his “Creativity Fund” presentation was just fantastic, and I loved seeing the crowd’s reaction when he spoke of cultivating and nurturing Louisville’s innovation leaders in a real, i.e. pecuniary way. It was absolutely inspiring, and I think I wanted to vote for him for President of the Universe by the end of his presentation.

But I digress … there were loads of great presenters last night. Christine Brinkmann gave a wonderful talk about not just eating locally-grown food, but of teaching children about whole foods with gardens and cooking lessons. Documentary photographer Sarah Hoskins showed twenty black and white photographs, each with its own charming story. Ideas about developing the South End, driving less, crazy technology, and architecture galore, made the evening not just exciting, but well-rounded. It was like being in school, but without pressure and always with a professor you loved (and beer).

I could go on and on about the different ideas, but what I loved most about the evening was how each brief lecture was  conversation kindle. Intermission — and may I say now how much I adore an event with an intermission?? — was a time to discuss ideas with genuine excitement.  I also stayed out WAY too late in the hotel bar sitting around with friends old and new just talking about the future and how we can make it great.

Louisville isn’t the only city with PechaKucha nights, but the popularity of the event here reminds me of what a great city it is. It also reminds me that I should go out more often. There are all kinds of events that offer the same kind of mental stimulation, from visiting an art museum to attending a rock concert. I’m thankful to live in a city that has so much to offer. Now I just need to start taking advantage of it. So what else is going on this week?