10 Years of Pecha Kucha Night Charleston

This past November 12th we marked a milestone for Pecha Kucha Night Charleston (PKN CHS) with a special 10th anniversary edition at the Charleston Music Hall featuring the original speakers from the first show. Props to Terry Fox and Charles Carmody for coming up with the anniversary idea and producing it. And to Professor Ping for serving as DJ and Steve Stegelin for designing the show poster.

In the years since that very first PKN CHS in 2008…

We’ve gathered 32 times.

We’ve benefitted from the kindness and support of over 130 volunteers working on everything from posters, speakers, budgets, music, food, drinks, venues, design, merchandise and communication.

We’ve had over 140 sponsors step up to make the shows happen.

We’ve featured over 250 speakers and emcees from all walks of creative life and corners of our community.

We’ve celebrated with around 15,000 attendees at the shows.

And perhaps most impressively, we’ve consumed around 35,000 total beers and wines.

Pretty impressive stuff, right?

I was fortunate to be part of the crew that got PKN CHS going back in 2008, and when I look back on all of this, aside from being insanely inspired by all the creative talent in our city, I come away with two major lessons.

First, always follow your heart. Time and time again we’ve heard inspiring stories from those who have followed their inclination to pursue an idea, passion or cause. That willingness to chase the dream often led to their success and accomplishments.

Second, that great things can happen just by throwing a party. We when we were trying to get started we asked various people to gather for meetings and committees but no one was interested in either of those things. So we threw in the the towel and threw a party instead. We ran with this new format out of Tokyo….over time it grew, which allowed us to channel that energy for some creative projects. To your rational brain, it seems like a backwards approach. But getting back to the first point, listening to your rational brain doesn’t always get you where you want to go.

As for the speakers, they packed a punch just like they did during the first show. What did we learn?

Jacob Lindsey (urban planner) – more water is in our future, and the Dutch have some lessons on how to deal with it.

Tim Hussey (artist) – you can learn a lot by giving some of it away.

Whitney Powers (architect) – architecture can weave Lowcountry place, design and community.

Marcus Amaker (poet, artist, musician) – honor the women who shaped you.

Steve Warner (regional planner) – Charleston’s creative industry is a force.

Nico Romo (chef and owner) – Yelp is a beating, so take it easy out there.

Brady Waggoner & Papa Robbie (musicians, designer, teacher) – CHS is a home for legit, chart topping, dancehall reggae.

Jonathan Sanchez (writer, bookstore owner) – the connection between The Catcher In The Rye and Stranger Things.

Justin Nathanson (film director and producer) – what kind of Charleston do we want today and in the future?

So, big round of applause to our hosts, speakers and attendees for an inspiring night. As always, PKN CHS is a reflection of what’s best about this city – the creative energy of its people. Keep your eyes and ears open for news of future PKN CHS shows. Stay creative, my friends.




^Whitney (and Olive)




^^Brady and Papa Robbie pictured at top of post.