PechaKucha’s 36th edition and the final program of 2019 is back at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, Dec. 11, and will feature six new speakers, including photographer Michael Nye.

PechaKucha comes around four times a year in San Antonio and gives six influential people from various fields an opportunity to quickly and concisely present their ideas, experiences, and motivations.

Nye has attended a few PechaKucha events before and said he really admires the concept.

“It’s a lesson in simplicity, in saying less,” he said. “I think it’s really geared toward poets, because that’s what they do.”

Japanese architects invented the PechaKucha format in 2003. Each speaker gives a presentation that includes 20 slideshow images, displayed for only 20 seconds each for a total of six minutes and 40 seconds of speaking time. San Antonio’s first PechaKucha event was in February 2011, and more than 900 cities worldwide have hosted PechaKucha series.

Nye described the program as a way for San Antonians to get to know the people who make their city special.

“I think what makes cities interesting are the people that live in cities and work in cities …,” he said. “I think it’s a window into a larger world than our own neighborhoods. You get to see the city and the people who live in the city in such interesting ways.”

Photographer Michael Nye

The other speakers will be singer and producer Alyson Alonso; Reggie De La Garza, who restores discarded furniture; author Robert Lopez Flynn; artist Missi Smith; and artist David Zamora Casas.

Randy Beamer, a News 4 San Antonio anchor and previous host of PechaKucha events, and Rivard Report Editor and Publisher Robert Rivard will emcee.

A welcome reception begins at 6:30 p.m. with a cash bar, complimentary bites from local chefs, and live music provided by Travis Buffkin. Presentations will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased through the Tobin Center’s online box office.

Here are PechaKucha’s Vol. 36 presenters (biographies provided by PechaKucha):

Michael Nye, photographer/audio documentarian

Michael Nye practiced law before pursuing photography full time. His photography and audio exhibitions, Children of Children, Fine Line, and About Hunger & Resilience have traveled to more than 150 cities across the country. His new traveling exhibition and book, My Heart Is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception debuted in 2019. Nye is married to poet Naomi Shihab Nye. As a child he was called “Mikey,” in middle age “Michael,” and he is now back to “Mikey.”

Reggie De La Garza, upholsterer

Reggie De La Garza is an upholsterer, fabric hoarder, and business owner. After attending college to pursue music business, she discovered that salvaging roadside furniture was far more fulfilling and creative. She began her upholstery career by apprenticing under a master upholsterer and later formed her own business, Shangri-La Homestead. De La Garza aims to shed light on the carbon footprint associated with furniture from big-box stores and how we as a community can do our part in saying no to cheap, plywood furniture.

Robert Lopez Flynn, author

Robert Lopez Flynn is a native Texas cotton chopper and hoe hand, as well as a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, a past president and fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters, and a recent recipient of a lifetime achievement award from Marquis Who’s Who. Flynn’s life and work could be described as the search for morals, ethics, religion, or at least a good story in Texas and lesser-known parts of the world.

Missi Smith, artist

Missi Smith was born and raised in Louisiana, part urban, part rural. She was educated by family, friends, travel, and institutions of higher learning too numerous to account for in 75 words. Smith moved to San Antonio in 1984, establishing her longest residence to date and earning the proud title of “San Antonio Local Artist.”

Alyson Alonzo, producer/singer

Alyson Alonzo is a queer recording artist living and working in San Antonio. She has been producing her own personal brand of electronic R&B in her bedroom since the emergence of MySpace. She supports other local, national, and international LGBTQ+ musicians by hosting a radio show that goes by the name of “Queervibes,” where she carefully curates a playlist of LGBTQ+ recording artists from all around the globe. Alonzo is set to release her debut album by the end of the year. 

David Zamora Casas, artist

David Zamora Casas is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and a San Antonio native. His life practice is a conscious decision to move forward critical dialogue within topics of humanity, nature, and spirituality. Zamora Casas’s performance art functions as social commentary that explores identity, gender assumptions, and environmental plunder. The artist states that his work is a radical act that strives for an inclusive and eco-friendly, empathetic world.

Jennifer Norris

Jennifer Norris has been working in journalism since 2005. She's a native Texan, but a new San Antonian who is excited to get to know the city.