The Hippo


May 31, 2020








PechaKucha Night Portsmouth Vol. 26

Where: 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth
When: Thursday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. (presentations start at 7:30 p.m.)
Admission: Free, reservations recommended, space limited
Contact: 766-3330,,

Passion presentations
PechaKucha Night presents Volume 26

By Kelly Sennott

 Mike Teixeira started PechaKucha Night Portsmouth about six years ago after reading about the presentation format in Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds.

The style is framed with about 20 images, shown for 20 seconds each. Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture devised the format in 2003 in Tokyo because architects talk too much, according to (“Give a microphone and some images to an architect — or the most creative people for that matter — and they’ll go on forever!” it reads under the website’s FAQ section.)
Teixeira saw it as a more accessible TED Talk. He noticed other cities worldwide had picked it up, and not just for architectural or professional purposes — creatives were using the PechaKucha style to share their latest projects in music, art, design and film.
So he decided to bring PechaKucha to Portsmouth. He emceed the first at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel in 2009.
“They took a chance on this really wacky event, and it made me realize PechaKucha was not meant for the kind of meeting or conference room setting,” he said via phone last week. “Right after that, I started moving into more bars and club-type atmospheres, and that’s really where it excelled.”
The next PechaKucha Night Portsmouth meetings happened in restaurants like Portsmouth Gas Light, Flatbread and Street Food 360 but it found its permanent home at 3S Artspace when it opened in 2015. The next — PechaKucha Night Portsmouth, Volume 26 — happens there Thursday, Aug. 18.
When Teixeira first started the series, he’d just begun working at Calypso (where he still works) doing corporate design and communication. He said he’d been subjected to many awful PowerPoint presentations, crammed with bullets and slides and speakers who essentially turned their backs to the audience and read from the screen. He thought, at the very least, PechaKucha offered an opportunity to meet new creative people and show another way to present, forcing people to get to their points fast.
“I had always worked in collaborative arts — theater, filmmaking — and when I started thinking about it, I said, this is where it’s going to be exciting — when artists of all disciplines and collaborations share with each other,” he said. “Coming from the corporate side of things, I thought this would be an amazing place for people to discover how to present.”
According to, regular PechaKucha Nights happen in more than 900 cities worldwide. Some focus on specific topics, and in the beginning, Teixeira tried that, hosting themed meetings on taking chances, being home for the holidays and getting great gifts. One series surrounded the elements — earth, wind, water and fire — and another featured energy professionals. 
“It was awesome,” Teixeira said. “They spoke from the heart, and they spoke about the love of it, and what they want to do, and you were transported by their passion. … That’s what I really love at the end of the day, and that’s why I keep coming back.”
Today, the focus at PechaKucha Night Portsmouth is open-ended. It asks, “What are you passionate about?” Typically about seven or eight speakers are featured at each quarterly event.
People have presented about everything. One talked about raising tree frogs in his basement. Another talked about his hiking excursions with his dog, and another showcased a woman who loves crafting bowties. 
“The hidden secret of PechaKucha is that it’s not about the slides. It’s about the passion,” Teixeira said. “The biggest challenge is finding new speakers to come.”
Cora Paradiso, a photographer who’s designed the 2016 PechaKucha Night Portsmouth posters, said she likes the format because it’s interesting to watch people of all walks of life, ages 20 to 80, talk about the things they love. 
“I think that’s what’s awesome about it, and what draws people,” she said via phone. “You have 20 seconds and 20 slides. You need to be confident. You need to pick something poignant and interesting in order to impact people in a quick way.”
And when you go in, you never know what you’ll see or who you’ll get to meet.
“Normally, every night I go, there’s at least one speaker whose brain I want to pick after. I’ve met some really amazing people,” she said. “And as an audience member, you learn about seven different subjects you may have never otherwise heard of.”

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