My first Pecha Kucha Night (audience version) – Part 1

by Oliver Adria on 25/03/2009

If you don’t know what it is, you can read about Pecha Kucha Nights here.

pechakuchanight_websitesnapshotSo excited!!

So tonight I went to my first Pecha Kucha Night, this one was held in Cologne, Germany. I arrived there half an hour before they would let people in and I thought I’d be on the safe side and I’d be the first person to arrive. To my surprise there were already about 15 people there! 15 minutes later the line behind me was already 20 meters long (about 66 feet for the non-metric people reading this). By the time they let people in I couldn’t see the end of the line anymore, it must’ve been 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) in total, if not more. Unfortunately, a fellow blogger (he has a German blog on presentations) who wanted to go there with me couldn’t come because he had difficulty walking (I hope you get better soon,¬†Michael!). But it did give me a chance to listen in to some of the conversations around me.

Who is the audience?

The people infront of me were talking about Facebook and New York, while the guy behind me was showing a girl some pictures on his Blackberry. I suppose many people had some cool technical gadgets… I almost felt left out without a cell phone that doesn’t have internet capability. I saw a lot of design and architecture students (at least that’s what I think they studied, from what I could gather/guess). I asked several people where they heard about Pecha Kucha, and a majority apparently had read a recent article in a popular German online magazine calling Pecha Kucha the “Pop stars of PowerPoint” (ironic that tonight’s event used Macs and Apple’s Keynote program). The hosts of this night actually changed the venue from a bigger hall (Pecha Kucha Night Cologne a year ago) to a smaller place with an ‘alternative/art’ feel to it, because the last few times the places weren’t filled enough. But I suppose they underestimated the power of the magazine article and were overrun by the popularity.

When I got in (5 EUR for entrance, that’s abot 8 USD) I took one of the seats in the 5th or 6th row and had a really good view (there were still about 15 rows behind me and a lot of people had to stand). As the room filled up, it was funny how people were getting creative about their seating. Some people sat on the floor in the aisle, while others sat infront of the first seating row.

Line at Pecha Kucha Night CologneCredits: Annette Etges (original image edited a bit)
The line that just wouldn’t stop growing.

View from the front stageCredits: Annette Etges (original image edited a bit)
The view from the front stage. (If you’ve read my article on The Rule of Thirds, you’ll notice that this is actually an exciting picture from a composition point of view.) That’s me on the left, by the way, wearing a black shirt and looking to the right.

And so it began…

Then, about an hour after they let people in, the Pecha Kucha Night began. There was only a short introduction by the host before the first presentation started. And there was the first presenter: A man in a chicken costume who is protesting against the use of fur with his punk band by singing about a love story. I never thought I’d live to see that! Well, I guess Pecha Kucha Nights make it possible.¬†Even one of Germany’s few web celebrities had a chance to do a presentation, she’s from a show called Ehrensenf (literally translated that means “honor mustard” and it’s an anagram of the German word for television) which shows daily 3,5 minute clips online and has gained popularity in the last few years. One presentation was even in English and I think no one had trouble understanding the jokes… which made me happy: I can do a Pecha Kucha Night presentation in English as well, then :-) . (I will post a link to this English presentation once it’s online.) After a total of 6 presentations they announced a 20-minute break.

Chicken-Suit Punk-Band Anti-Fur ManCredits: Annette Etges (original image edited a bit)
I wasn’t joking about the chicken suit man!

Read Part 2: More on the evening and Insights+thoughts on Pecha Kucha Nights

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