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PechaKucha night brings enthusiasts to campus


Ten presenters discussed their field of interest during Pueblo’s third PechaKucha night Thursday, Jan. 26, at CSU-Pueblo’s Art Gallery.

John Wark, a photographer, presents his aerial photography to a crowd of about 50 people Thursday, Jan. 26. Photo by Ye Ming.

PechaKucha, which is Japanese for “chit-chat,” is a forum for enthusiasts to share their interests with others using a 20 by 20 format. Meaning, each presenter uses 20 slides and has 20 seconds per slide to discuss their knowledge on a chosen topic. The format allows for each presentation to be six minutes and 40 seconds long.

Pueblo County clerk Gilbert Ortiz and election supervisor Dena Abeyta presented on the importance of voting, registering to vote and updating addresses to vote in Pueblo County. Their 20 slides included photos of first time voters in other countries, which they said should inspire the Pueblo community to vote.

“I wanted to show you the pride in these people’s eyes as they vote for the first time,” Ortiz said. “That’s how important it is for us. So go vote every time you have the opportunity.”

Ellen Mueller, CSU-Pueblo artist in residence, presented a satirical slideshow about preparation for the end of times called “Apocalypse.” Mueller went through eight scenarios pertaining to how the world might end in 2012 and offered advice on survival tactics. The instances included zombie attacks, projectile from space and aliens.

“Begin praying now,” Mueller said as she offered advice for the possibility of a ‘deity-induced’ apocalypse.

The presenters also included two photographers, Ye Ming and John Wark.

Ming presented, “City life, Homesick, Nostalgia,” which detailed the lifestyles in Shanghai and Beijing through photography.

As a CSU-Pueblo international student from China, Ming told the crowd of about 50 people that she is often asked what China is like, and her aim was to illustrate that life through photographs.

Photos included the streets of China and people in their daily routines, such as a man window washing and a woman peering down from her apartment.

Wark presented his aerial photography called “Floor of the Sky.” Wark, a pilot, explained his process of taking photos and that as he is flying above an area, he opens the door to his plane and shoots, Wark said.

Photos included aerial shots of the Pueblo Steel Mill, the Colorado State Fair and local livestock and farming fields.

Artist Brian Spillman, founder of B.Vant.Garde, a Pueblo art studio, presented on the live art format of his studio. Spillman’s team of artists create live art by painting on-the-spot at shows and in the studio, he said.

“All we do is paint,” Spillman said. “A whole lot of art built literally from the ground up is in the gallery.”

Burlesque performer ‘Str0ker Ace,’ of the Pueblo burlesque troop Harlequin Aces, spoke on the history of burlesque, detailing its roots from its arrival in the U.S. in the early 1800s where skirts above the knee were risqué to its loss of popularity when strip clubs became legal in the ‘70s.

Ace credited Dita Von Teese, a burlesque dancer who premiered in the ‘90s, with bringing back the art form.

Ace’s photos primarily included barely-dressed women. Concluding her presentation, she told the audience, “You can uncover your eyes now.”

Sam Sumeracki, self-professed “waiter/bartender/to-go specialist” and a CSU-Pueblo mass communications major, read aloud a comical poem about his life as a waiter as photos from the movie “Waiting” appeared on the screen behind him.

“Waiting is all about the Benjamins, or scratch that, it’s more about the Alexander Hamiltons. They really add up. But I’d really like a Jackson every now and then, too. But usually it’s a Lincoln or a Washington,” Sumeracki said about earning tips in his poem.

David Bemis, a graduate student in CSU-Pueblo’s chemistry department, presented on his work with gold nanoparticles called “Fabrications of Gold Microstructures.” Bemis included pictures of his work with gold at a microscopic level.

Using gold, Bemis creates objects, such as the Venus de Milo, on extremely small scales using lasers. He used fractions of the human hair as the point of reference for the size of his creations. Bemis made a PechaKucha logo at this microscopic level, which was on display at the event.

Mathias “Mo” Valdez, who owns LastLeaf Printing, told the audience about creating posters through the process of silk screening. Valdez explained the process through a series of photos, which showed the hand-labored method. The posters shown in Valdez’s slideshow were made for the Pueblo band “The Haunted Windchimes” tour.

 Emily King, the event organizer, is proud to host an event where people of all walks of life can share their interests in a unique and quick way, she said. King is also enthusiastic about having CSU-pueblo students join in the PechaKucha nights and would like to see it happen more often, she said.

Jeanne Gibson, an audience member and director of the English Language Institute at CSU-Pueblo, was impressed with both the variety of topics and the quality of the presentations, Gibson said.

“Anybody would have found at least one thing they really liked tonight,” she said.