Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sound of Chitchat

Leave it to the Japanese to come up with a methodology for the ADD set.

PechaKucha, from the Japanese term for the sound of chitchat, involves a presentation of 20 images discussed for 20 seconds.

Kind of like presentation Twitter, if you will.

Not surprisingly, it's also known as "ignite" or "lightening talk" but no matter what you call it, things move quickly.

The Library of Virginia did a pechakucha event today using members of the staff all talking about their personal collections.

It's tied into the new "Lost and Found" exhibit which examines the changing fabric of the world, what we keep, what gets destroyed and what we toss away.

I'll say this for pechakucha; it's tough for even the briefest of attention spans to get bored in 20 seconds.

A church choir singer was the first speaker and collected old hymnals and tune books, mainly Presbyterian (making for numerous jokes on her part).

Next up was Greg Kimball who collected old 78 records, his first having been acquired for a penny each.

He showed an old Blind Lemon Jefferson record, then others called "Cotton Mill Colic" and "Death's Black Train is Coming."

His was the only pechakucha that included sound. He not only occasionally played music clips, but finished with playing a record on an old Victrola.

One woman collected old school globes, commemorative state plates and vintage telephones.

She got a laugh when she showed a closeup of her Kansas plate.

"Kansas is the plate that rattles every time my furnace comes on," she informed us.

An Air Force brat who'd moved around her whole life showed her collection of childhood memories.

There was doll house furniture, a pretend check she'd written to her grandfather, a notebook of girly stuff (romance tips, a PMS diet, pictures of hottie boys) and her passports since birth.

One woman's stuff revolved around her beloved grandparents.

Granny Franni loved culture, art and travel; her grandfather Alan loved Franni.

When Franni was in her sixties, she commissioned a nude painting of herself which hung in their living room.

"It was unnerving to sit in her house under a nude of my grandmother," she laughed, showing the painting.

She finished by acknowledging, "It's amazing that what belongs to other people can become so important to us."

The last series of slides were from a home movie collector and he showed some great stuff.

His earliest reel was from 1926 and had been found at a flea market.

Footage of a little dog nipping at a kid's leg had the kid in tears. On camera.

You gotta love parents who keep rolling film even when the child is clearly distressed.

He had film of kids having a mock wedding, a flailing baby's first haircut and endless vacation video.

He explained that while finding old home movies on e-Bay wasn't as much fun as discovering them at a flea market, in either case you had no way of knowing what you'd bought until you screened it.

Kind of like I had no idea what pechakucha was until I sat through the lightening fast parade of images and words.

The Library of Virginia is hoping to do another such event and invite the public to share this time.

I'm thinking of digging up old ticket stubs to shows I've seen over the years.

The hard part for me will be limiting myself to only 20 seconds worth of words for each concert story.

Brevity has never been my strong suit.

In fact, now that I think about it, I am so not pechakucha material.

Not that I won't happily go watch others do it Japanese-style.

I do like to watch.

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