Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #14

Edmonton’s fourteenth Pecha Kucha Night was held tonight at the Myer Horowitz Theatre on the University of Alberta campus. It looked like it was going to be a smaller crowd tonight, and though not quite a sell-out, the theatre did fill up just in time for the presentations! There were six women presenting tonight, the first time since PKN4 that women have outnumbered men on stage (I mention it only because many folks noticed the split tonight, and recent PKNs have indeed featured predominately male presenters).

In order of appearance, these were the presenters at PKN14:

  1. Dave Mowat, Light it Up, #yeg!
  2. Sunniva Van, Ride to Learn
  3. Pamela Colleen, The Universal Language: and No, It’s Not Love
  4. Wang Yip, Design Is…
  5. Shawn Kanungo, I Love the Spelling Bee
  6. Renee Vaugeois & Chelsea Freeborn, Imagine a Dream
  7. Jacqui Fraser, A Split Second
  8. Daniel Schneider, That John Denver is Full of S@#*
  9. David Zip, 3D Workflows for Historical Refacading
  10. Brittney Le Blanc, Bragging is Good

Alberta’s Minister of Human Services and Government House Leader Dave Hancock was slated to speak tonight but had to cancel at the last minute.

On the whole I’d say tonight’s slate of presentations was better than average. The presenters were all new to presenting at PKN, and I thought everyone did a great job! There was a good mix of newcomers in the audience, and more than a handful of people who had been to five or more PKNs. Only a few of us have been to every one though!

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton #14

Dave kicked things off with a talk about light. Light makes people happy, he told us. He showed examples of some of our favorite cities from around the world, including New York and Paris, with their recognizable structures all beautifully lit up at night. He then showed Edmonton’s bridges at night, all very dark, and none that you would see on a postcard. He added some light to the Groat, High Level, and Low Level bridges to get us thinking about what could be. He then exited the stage on crutches that lit up! It was a really strong start to the evening.

Next up was Sunniva who shared some great stories from Ride To Learn. Very inspiring and strong images too. Pamela took us through the universal language – that would be music, not love! She seemed to have a strong dislike for heavy metal, mentioning a few times that plants forced to listen to Metallica for too long would soon die. It was a very thoughtful talk, and definitely made me think more about how the music I listen to has an impact on what I’m doing. Wang was fourth, and he talked all about the power of design. His talk was sort of the prototypical Pecha Kucha talk, and I mean that in a good way. He showed a variety of designs and encouraged everyone to think about what design means to them. The highlight slide was a design for a divorce lawyer’s business card that featured a perforation down the middle.

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton #14

Shawn gave the final talk before the intermission, and I think it’s safe to say he brought the house down! It was smart, funny, and he delivered it with such enthusiasm and stage presence. If there were ever a “Pecha Kucha All-Stars” in Edmonton, Shawn’s would no doubt make the cut. I won’t do it justice, so just watch it:

I also totally love that he was inspired by Omar’s wonderful talk on cats from PKN13:

First up after the break was the tag team of Renee and Chelsea. They had a cellist join them on stage and they delivered their talk over the music. It was a good concept, but it really didn’t work. I also thought their talk could have done with some focus. Jacqui was up next with a very thought-provoking talk that touched on everything from why some colors are used for certain things to why the Fibonacci sequence is so powerful. Daniel had the eighth talk of the night, a cleverly crafted talk about why he loves being a country boy. It was a bit slow starting, but finished strong. I loved the hand-drawn images that illustrated most of the talk! David had the penultimate slot, and talked about historical refacading. He didn’t touch as much on the 3D workflows part as I thought he might, but he did certainly point out some intriguing architectural observations. For instance, he noted that Starbucks does a great job of making its locations look as though they have been in the neighbourhood for decades (as opposed to say a McDonald’s where each location looks the same on the outside).

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton #14

The final talk of the night was the much anticipated presentation from Brittney. I didn’t know what to expect based on the title “Bragging is Good” but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a call to action for Edmontonians to speak up about the great things we have in our city. I am not a fan of the giant baseball bat on 118th Avenue, but Brittney is, and she speaks up about it (and notes that it spins!). I also like that she touched on the importance of going from “should” to actually doing something. It’s easy to say something should be done, and much more difficult to actually do it. Here is Brittney’s talk:

Like I said, everyone did a great job tonight, but my favorite has to be Shawn’s. Based on my completely unscientific read of audience reaction in the room and on Twitter, my guess is I’m not alone in feeling that way either!

Edmonton’s NextGen received a lot of complaints about the service charges that Prime Box Office charged for tickets. I was even charged $3 per ticket when purchasing at the door. NextGen was not happy about the charges either, but couldn’t do anything about it as PBO is the exclusive ticket retailer for the venue. If you want to complain, get in touch with Prime Box Office and the Myer Horowitz Theatre. This was the third PKN at the Myer Horowitz (the only repeat venue) and while the size of the audience has greatly reduced the number of potential venues, perhaps it was the last.

Our hosts tonight were Doug McLean and Karen Unger, and they did a nice job of keeping us on track while adding a dash of humor. As has become customary, the Edmonton Journal was once again livestreaming the event. Major props to Ryan Jackson for an amazing job and for getting all of the videos uploaded to YouTube before the event even ended!

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton #14

Stay tuned to @EdmNextGen on Twitter and check out the website for updates on PKN and other events. Also note there’s a new hashtag in use: “#pkn14 is just one night, #yegpkn is forever.” See you at PKN15 in March 2013!

You can see more photos of tonight’s event here, and check out all the videos here. You can read about past Pecha Kucha Nights in Edmonton here.