Smile Politely

Pecha Kucha Night C-U, take 24

The C-U Design Organization (or CUDO as it is more well-known) is responsible for a lot of professional arts events around town. They bring us the CUDO Pro Show each year, judge the Parkland Graphic Design show, and most notably – coordinate Pecha Kucha Night (PKN) about four times a year. It wasn’t as frequent at first, so it might be surprising to realize that we’re finishing up the eighth year of PKN C-U. Or it might not, if you’re one of those people who knows it’s “peh-CHA’ k’CHA’” instead of “PEH-chuh KOO-cha” as I embarrassingly used to say it. Hey, those guys, why are you even reading this? You already know what’s coming next. The rest of us, keep reading. 

PKNs were conceived by some brilliant architects who thought people might need a reason to brag about cool stuff other folk might not know about, and some structure to make that happen in an interesting way. The structure is this:

  • 20 slides
  • 20 seconds each
  • The talking and the slides should go together
  • The presentation subsequently lasts 6 minutes, 40 seconds

With such short presentations, this presents a challenge to Smile Politely Arts writers to find a creative way to tease the content without spoiling. Of course, I can introduce and put photos of the presenters, but how to give you more without making it pointless to also go to the event? Well, first, nothing can emulate the sweet sounds of DJ Mertz spinning before & after the show and during intermission. Next, there’s usually booze available at Stage 5 bar, since this volume will be held in the Krannert Center lobby. And finally, William Anthony Sebastian Rose II will be emceeing, and he is much more exciting in person than I am in writing. (But don’t take off your shoe if he asks you to… it’s a whole puppet thing)

Despite all those in-person benefits, I still didn’t want to give too much away. So to each presenter, I asked the following two questions:

1) Most PK presentations seem to be a) personal, b) educational, or c) for entertainment purposes only. Does yours fit into one of these categories, and if so, which? 

2) In 24 words or fewer, who would benefit most from hearing your presentation and why? 

In no particular order, here are their replies: 

Mallory Morris One People’s Summer Arts Camp!

Which? I think our PK is a combination of personal and educational.  It’s personal, because this work – serving the students in the community through the arts – is our passion.  It gives us energy and brings a great sense of joy to our lives.  It’s also educational because we want as many people as possible to know about the positive impact you can have when you serve the local and global community through the arts.  

Who? If you are sitting on idea that you believe can help make the world better and more joyous, consider this your permission slip.


Dave Hensleigh Walk across Juarez

Which? My “Walk Across Juarez” is both personal and educational.

Who? They told me “do not go there” and “take a gun”. But I took that walk at the height of the drug wars and it was life changing. It taught me to listen and understand.


Sanford Hess The C-U Hack Night needs YOU

Which? My presentation is educational.  I’m reaching out to the community to let people know about our CU Hack Night.

Who? Community members who want to work together to apply technology to local problems in collaboration with local governments, non-profits, businesses, and other residents.


Kristina Reese This is your brain on meditation

Which? [It’s] both personal AND educational. Meditation is a regular practice in my own life and something that I share with others. Meditation has helped me slow down, be more patient, and be a better communicator. Meditation is a tool available for anyone, with innumerable benefits such as stress relief, anxiety management, compassion, pain relief, and so much more!

Who? Meditation newbies will be awakened to the benefits of the practice and get a glimpse of how it could influence their lives for better.


Jared Fritz Wedding Toast for Dummies

Which? “Educational Entertainment” is my best categorical description. If I have to choose just one, I guess I’d say “entertainment”.

Who? If you ever hope to be a best man, maid of honor, or the like—I’d like to help transform your speech into a toast-to-remember


Meagan Glaser Food History: recreated and reheated

Which? I’d like to think it’s all three, since it’s my personal entertainment to become more educated on the subject. But I guess it’s more educational than anything, since it’s about history more than anything else.   

Who? People who forgot that just because we’re out of school, that doesn’t mean that silly classroom projects have to end.


Tim Montague Why solar power is going to explode in Illinois!

Which?  Educational

Who? Anyone interested in a cleaner brighter future for Illinois!


Paul Min (pictured left) was unavailable, possibly because You Cray Cray. (Not insinuating anything about you personally, that’s just the name of his speech) And Amanda Danowitz (pictured right, cred. Scott Wells) well, her speech is called Use as directed and I hear Ambien is involved so all jokes are off. 



Saturday, June 10th, show up at KCPA any time after 7:45 p.m. for a free seat to the 8:20 p.m. show. That will give you time to find a chair (it’s usually packed), get a drink, and chat with other like-minded community members all while DJ Mertz creates the ambience. 

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