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Issue Date: November 2010 Issue


Quick Pitch

It's like a PowerPoint presentation for the Twitter generation — with beer.
Ian Hoffman

That's PechaKucha and its mini-lecture format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each, any topic. Improvisational jazz, graffiti, totem poles, you name it. Presented by creative types in a quirky and informative showcase. Yeah, it's that fast.

"In most lectures you start zoning out," says Michael Christoff, an architectural designer and co-founder of PechaKucha in Cleveland. And if the 20-in-20 format doesn't work, there's another strategy: "Halfway through we have a "'beverage break.' " (Read: beer and alcohol.)

Devised in 2003 by two Tokyo architects looking to share their work with peers, the phenomenon has spread to more than 350 cities around the world. Although most presenters are relative unknowns, local celebrities have included the Cleveland Play House's Michael Bloom, East Fourth Street developer Ari Maron and WCPN 90.3 Around Noon host Dee Perry. So why attend PechaKucha, volume 10, at the Old Arcade on Nov. 19, at 8:20 p.m. (that's 20:20 military time)? Here are three good reasons.

  1. Perfect 10. There will be something for everyone in the 10th installment of PechaKucha. "We can guarantee you'll like one of the presentations," says Christoff.
  2. Walk the talk. "It is so informal that the presenter just goes back to the crowd — or back to the bar," Christoff says. "If you want to learn more, just go up and say hello."
  3. Free, where? PechaKucha costs $10 in Chicago, but not here. "In Cleveland we need to provide something for free so ... you can get a slice of every community," says co-founder Raseem Parker.

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