People piled into the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, grabbed an Alamo Beer from the bar, found a seat that fit their needs, and settled in to watch eight speakers grace the audience with their individual stories for the 19th round of PechaKucha. While some presentations were humorous and others were sad, each speaker evoked emotion that seemed to resonate with audience members. WOAI-TV anchor Randy Beamer, as always, served as emcee.
Mark your calendars now for PechaKucha 20, in partnership with SA2020, at the Majestic Theatre on Dec. 1.
First to the stage was Susan Snow, an archeologist for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, who coordinated San Antonio’s quest for UNESCO World Heritage status for the Alamo and four Spanish colonial Missions here.
“We are thrilled with this designation … but with this designation comes a great deal of responsibility,” Snow said.
Next was Mary Heathcott, the executive director of Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum.
“Contemporary art has taught me so many lessons and I’ve become convinced that it has something to teach everyone,” Heathcott said.
Yvette Benavides, an English professor at Our Lady of the Lake University, spoke about her passion for writing and the inspiration imparted by her friend and mentor Sandra Cisneros.
“(Cisneros) blazed trails for minority writers,” Benavides said.
Local Musician Joe Reyes, a Grammy-award winning producer, recounted his family’s history and the impact it made on his decision to become a musician. His grandmother played the piano and gave him lessons as a child. As he grew older, he gravitated to acoustical guitar.
“The piano was kind of like a machine and I really wanted to touch the strings of something,” Reyes said.
Chef Diego Galicia, owner of Restaurant Mixtli and Mezcalería Mixtli said the hard work and long hours required to open a business has often left him with seemingly endless stress, but the end results have been rewarding.
“If there’s one thing we have in life, it’s time,” Galicia said. “Make it, you’ll be glad you did.”
Southwest School of Art President Paula Owen said she and her mother were infected with polio when she was a young girl. Although she fully recovered, her mother remained sick for the rest of her life.
“Experience taught me that determination pays off,” Owen said.
Lloyd Walsh, an associate professor of art at Palo Alto College, had the audience laughing so hard they were almost crying. While presenting his photography to the audience, he told the back story to each one of his pieces. Most often than not, the story was steeped in humor.
“I’m meticulous with my paintings but photography allows me to go out into the world and find associations, like geometric angles,” Walsh said.
Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff told the story of a time he was accused of sensationalism by City Manager Sheryl Sculley for an article he wrote regarding contaminated soil at the Food Bank. The article proved to be untrue. Chasnoff recounted the history of the term sensationalism, pointing to Donald Trump and the hyper-news coverage of his inflammatory public statements about immigration as a current example of sensationalism.
“I think (Sculley) pointed out something valid when she called the article sensational,” Chasnoff said.
*Featured/top image: The Empire Theatre hosted the 19th round of PechaKucha. Photo by Scott Ball.
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