Authors’ Night Out

Last night, Steve and I braved the Cold and Dark to journey across the river, to the old Hathaway Factory, which is now a combined condo/retail establishment, and includes the justly-famous Hathaway Creative Center.

Why did we do this, you ask?

Because it was PechaKucha Night.

In fact, the 14th PechaKucha Night in Waterville.  I was plying my secretarial arts at Colby when one of my favorite professors tried to convince me to present at either the first or second PechaKucha Night.  I thought he’d lost his mind, but figured that I’d get to one someday soon, when Things Calmed Down.

Then I quit my day-job and lost track of things like PechaKucha Nights.

What brought it back onto my radar was the announced participation of Doug Thornsjo and of Uri and Gabe Lessing, all of whom we think kindly of.  And, really, PechaKucha seemed a fine ending to a week fraught with dental adventures.

So, anyway, there we were with a record crowd of almost 200 like-minded residents of the Waterville/Winslow/Wimsy megapolis scrunched into the Hathaway Creative Center to hear seven presentations on passions.

If you’ve never PechaKucha’d, it’s a system of presentation that lasts six minutes and 40 seconds, or 20 slides x 20 seconds, with commentary.  Here’s a link to the Official Description.  Presenters speak on a variety of topics; the PechaKucha tag-line is: Share Your Passion, Present What You Love.

Last night, for instance, we heard a presentation on the joys of old-fashioned paper mail pen-paling; the process and purpose of making feminist paper dolls; the efforts of Rotary International to eradicate polio in Nigeria and other far-flung places; and the high points of a work-study session spent tagging sharks in the Caribbean.  We heard from a visual communications teacher at a local high school, and from three of his students.  Doug spoke about his current creative projects, including the production of the Zirkus of the Magi Tarot Deck.  Uri and Gabe were co-emcees for the event, introducing each presenter, and reading copy for the “spotlight ads”.

It was a startlingly positive experience.  Everyone seemed to be having fun.  The presenters were all well-prepared and engaging; no one was at all rushed during their 6 minutes and 40 seconds of fame.

If you have a chance to attend one of these things, I’m betting it would be worthwhile, if only for the real-time reminder that people are endlessly fascinating.

If you’re within the sound of the Waterville/Winslow/Wimsy megapolis, the next Waterville PechaKucha is on Friday, April 11; then, proceeding quarterly, on July 10 and October 17.  The group has a Facebook page, here.

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