PechaKucha is making its debut at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the largest venue yet for the speaker series that has visited such locations as Confluence Park, the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, and Trinity University.
On Wednesday, Dec. 19, six local artists, chefs, and writers will share stories in the classic PechaKucha format – talking through 20 slides for 20 seconds each, for a total presentation time of six minutes and 40 seconds. The format was invented and popularized by Japanese architects as a way to articulate their ideas concisely and creatively. PechaKucha San Antonio has been hosting presentation nights since 2011, and more than 900 cities around the world have their own version of PechaKucha.
The Dec. 19 event is the last PechaKucha of the year. Acclaimed poet, author, and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye, who recently published Voices in the Air – Poems for Listeners, is among the presenters. Also joining the lineup is artist Justin Parr, who worked with local glass artist Adam Smolensky to contribute 300 glowing glass tubes to this year’s Luminaria as a tribute to the city’s Tricentennial. The program also features Rivard Report Publisher and Editor Robert Rivard.
Troy Peters, the music director of Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA), will join News 4 San Antonio anchor Randy Beamer as the night’s emcees. The welcome reception and happy hour before PechaKucha presenters speak will feature live music from Alyson Alonzo of YOSA and free food from Pharm Table, Box Street Social, Ming’s Thing, Tio Pelon’s Salsita, Cultiva Collaborative, and Liberty Bar. Food and music start at 6:30 p.m., and presentations begin at 7:30 p.m.
Here are the presenters of PechaKucha San Antonio Vol. 32 (biographies provided by PechaKucha):
Alex Paredes, cocinero
Alex Paredes was born in Michoacan, Mexico, and raised in Morelia, Mexico; Boston; and Southern California. He earned degrees from the University of Texas at San Antonio in both fine arts and economics, but was always a closet cook. After cooking in kitchens around San Antonio and Mexico from French and Italian to New American styles, he ran his own Mexican fine dining pop-up called GALLOTORO. He now owns Carnitas Lonja, where he works on making traditional Mexican food great again.
Robert Rivard, co-founder/author
Robert Rivard is the co-founder of the Rivard Report and author of Trail of Feathers: Searching for Philip True, about the 1998 disappearance and murder of San Antonio Express-News reporter Philip True in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains and the years Rivard spent pursuing his killers. He is also founding captain of the Third Street Grackles cycling team. Rivard is married to Monika Maeckle, founder of San Antonio’s annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival. They have two adults sons, Nicolas, and Alex, who live and work in San Antonio.
Kelly O’Connor, artist
Kelly O’Connor is a contemporary artist who works in collage and installation-based works. She has been included in the contemporary art survey exhibition Texas Biennial and art publication New American Paintings. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum and the City of San Antonio, where her work currently is on view. O’Connor has been a longtime steward of the Linda Pace Foundation. She began her career with the foundation as artist and philanthropist, served as Linda Pace’s studio manager, and oversees programming and communications for the foundation’s new identity, Ruby City, a contemporary art center designed by Sir David Adjaye.
Justin Parr, neo-traditionalist
Justin Parr is a contemporary artist, glass blower, photographer, and gallery owner from San Antonio. He is the caretaker and artist-in-residence in the historic Hot Wells Hotel Ruins on the San Antonio River. His gallery, FL!GHT, run alongside artist Ed Saavedra, has part of the San Antonio contemporary art scene for 18 years. His glass work often includes some imperfections, and he is known for his glass-blown marbles.
Naomi Shihab Nye, writer
Naomi Shihab Nye graduated from both high school and Trinity University in San Antonio. She and her family have lived downtown for 40 years. A writer, editor, and faculty member at Texas State University, she has put together more than 35 books and worked in numerous classrooms. Her most recent book is Voices in the Air – Poems for Listeners, published by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.
Elizabeth Johnson, chef/wellness advocate
The chef and founder of Pharm Table, Elizabeth Johnson has received local and national attention for her innovative, plant-based cuisine and Ayurvedic approach with local Texas ingredients and a “toque Latino.” Referred to as a “food as medicine guru” by the James Beard Foundation, Johnson is passionate about healing people with food and raising awareness about the city’s heritage foods, its food culture, and its designation as a Unesco City of Gastronomy.