What in the World is Pecha Kucha?


Don’t get freaked out about a weird name. Hang with us here for a moment.

We’ll get to what Pecha Kucha means in just a moment.

One reason it sounds interesting to me is it’s being hosted by Larry and Tish Harris. Larry Harris is an absolute killer poet who recently retired from teaching – he taught for 26 years at Pioneer High School. His wife, Tish, has been an activist for healthcare access for much of her career. Now she’s pursuing what she loves.

So what the heck is Pecha Kucha Night?


Tish: Pecha Kucha started as a reaction to the abuse of the Power Point program. Many of us can relate to the frustration of Power Point presentations that go on and on, with the speaker reciting word for word what you see on the screen. I think that’s why Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, two architects in Tokyo, decided to take Power Point to a whole new level by creating the 20 by 20 format. You have 20 slides and 20 seconds to narrate each slide. That’s it.

Next, take 8 to 10 passionate presenters, get an awesome venue, invite people of all ages, stages and orientations to attend, provide refreshments and, voila: You have an instantly fun, enriching, diverse community event — Pecha Kucha Night!

Pecha Kucha has spread virally around the world. There are currently 284 cities participating. That means that anything we produce in Redding has the potential to be viewed by a worldwide audience.
It sounds like this: Tokyo, Paris, New York, Glasgow, Redding, etc. We get 6 minutes and 40 seconds, just like they do.


Larry and Tish Harris
How did you discover Pecha Kucha and why are you both so passionate about it?


Larry: One day last summer, Tish and I just happened upon a Pecha Kucha Night in San Luis Obispo. We had no idea what was drawing such a diverse gathering of locals into a small coffee shop/gallery around a big projector screen. The pre-event atmosphere was electric and truly social (physical — social, not cyberspace — social). You could just feel those people crossing the invisible lines that tend to so often separate various sub-groups and keep everyone in his or her place.

Tish: That night in SLO, two things “hit” me. The first: In the same evening, I got to learn about resonator guitars, watch slides of premier surfing spots, accompanied by acoustic guitar and view several dramatized pictorials of the “faces of death” as depicted by different local artists. The second: I loved that teens and seniors were in the same room sharing their mutual experience. It was important, too, that the event was free.
Right away I said to Larry, “We’ve got to bring this to Redding.” And that’s just what’s happening.

What is Pecha Kucha Night NOT?

Larry: Pecha Kucha Night (PKN) is not intended as a soap box or a sales pitch. It is a grassroots celebration — REAL PEOPLE into a REAL ROOM, interested in each other. In fact, Tish and I made a handshake agreement with Tokyo to make NO money off Pecha Kucha. Of course, a natural outcome of sharing any passionate interest is the attraction of others to that passion. In that respect it could be very beneficial to the presenter.

And if the local businesses make money from the foot traffic that the event brings downtown, that’s fantastic! Which is why PKN-Redding and Viva Downtown are such a perfect fit.


How do you pronounce the words Pecha Kucha?

Larry: Well, that has turned out to be one of the little charms of the project — watching people struggle with the pronunciation of the words. First of all, it’s in Japanese, so we have no reference. From cities all around the world I’ve heard it pronounced many different ways. Even my own daughter-in-law, who is Japanese, when asked for a definitive pronunciation, alternated between two. This confusion is always the first part of the conversation about PKNight. At first I thought it was a problem, now I think it’s cool. It means that everybody who isn’t Japanese starts a little off balance asking: “How do you say it again?” I see using this confusion as a fun springboard to introducing the first evening.

When and where will the event take place?

Larry: Friday, April 16th, in the beautiful Atrium at the south end of Redding’s Downtown Promenade.

Who can present? Anyone. Children, seniors, teens, boomers — if you can talk, you can present.

What can be presented? Anything that you are interested in, that you love, that you are passionate about.

How does someone get involved as a presenter?

Entry forms for presenters are available:
• Online from Viva Downtown’s web page which has more info and links: www.vivadowntownredding.org/PechaKucha.html

• By email —  pechakucha_redding@att.net
• By phone — 244.6640

is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com
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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    How exciting . . . how fun . . . how . . . how . . . enlightening??!! I'm so sad that i will miss the April 16 presentation. Alas, I will be in, get this, TOKYO. Maybe I'll find a PKN there somewhere!!! I'll even ask my daughter-in-law how to say it. Maybe we'll get two different pronunciations!!!

    I hope it becomes a regular in the Redding scene!!

    • Avatar Bob Wallenberg says:

      Adrienne: You world traveler you! I made it last Friday. It was fun. An eclectic crowd. Next event July 16th. I'll be a presenter. See you there.


  2. Avatar Philbert says:

    Just to prove how nice people can be, Larry and Tish have even agreed to allow me to participate. They could have taken the prudent route and done their best to avoid the six minutes of Petya Kachoo misery I'm sure to inflict. But, no, they elected to stay true to the Pelted Kapchuck philosophy of inclusion. For this they should be lauded. Or, punched in the nose, depending on how your Petta Koopchick feels about things.

    See you on Putrid Koolwip Night in Redding!!!

  3. Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

    Anything Larry & Tish are into gets MY attention, every time!

    You two have done SO much for our community, families and children over the years already – I've seen it first hand! And now, this. In a world situation where we occasionally seem to be getting into extreme-polarizing or reclusiveness, the Pecha Kucha event sounds like a great, grassroots social reconnection…

    I'm saving the date – and can't wait to tell my kids!

    Thanks Tish & Larry & Jim!!

    (Proud Pioneer High Graduate)

    • Avatar Larry Harris says:

      Well, Alan, as I recall you are pretty handy with a camera…and even handier with great ideas and wonderful intentions. I see a Pecha Kucha Night presentation in your future.

      Great to hear from you,

      Larry Harris

  4. Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

    This really sounds like a lot of fun, assuming most of the presentations aren't about sales curves and auto parts distribution levels and proper installation of the D-34a capacitator in the new line of copy machines.

    Maybe that should be my presentation.

  5. Avatar Nikolas Allen says:

    When Larry and Tish first invited me to present at their first PKN-Redding, I was intrigued, but slightly confused.

    The more I hear and learn about the concept, the more excited I am to be included on the roster for the debut night of this highly original and entertaining event.

    I look forward to experiencing the diverse collection of presentations!

    See you there!

    Nikolas Allen
    An Explosive Brand of Art & Design

    • Avatar Bob Wallenberg says:

      Nikolas: You and your partner were terrific! I witnessed the 20/20. Now I am on the program on July 16th.


  6. Avatar Madeline says:

    Being the daughter of two of the most progressive and interesting people in Redding is one of my favorite things about my life. I am so sad to be missing it due to school, but I know you all are sure to have a blast.

    I've heard all of their little plans for the night and I'm so jealous not to be a part of it. Have fun everyone!

    Love you guys:)


  7. Avatar Claudia H. says:

    Sounds like great fun! I'm putting it on my calendar! Love you two.

  8. Avatar Michael C. says:

    Well, wasn't able to attend, but hoping to see some or all of the presentations online. I'm sure some, if not all, spectators were entertained out of their gourds. Hey, sounds like a good PowerPoint presentation for next time 🙂

  1. February 4, 2011

    […] to explain in detail here, so take a look at this great, informative article  published on anewscafe.com and then click on over to vivadowntownredding.org for additional […]

  2. October 2, 2011

    […] more information on Pecha Kucha Night, see Jim Dyar's article "What in the World is Pecha Kucha?" or visit the official Redding Pecha Kucha […]