There’s Something About Twenty

The Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) is challenging Yukoners to embrace “spring break up” in all its disparate meanings. To help with that, YAC is hosting a Pecha Kucha evening on Friday, March 13 at the Old Fire Hall.

Pecha Kucha, which translates to “chit chat” in Japanese, is a unique presentation format that will bring community members together to share ideas, thoughts, and stories.

Here’s how it works: Participants present a slideshow on a topic of their choosing, using exactly 20 slides, with each slide displayed for exactly 20 seconds before being replaced by the next one. So people talk for six minutes and 40 seconds around a loose theme.

Audience members can enjoy a drink and listen to the fun. “Pecha Kucha has so far been very popular in Whitehorse,” explains Michelle Emslie, one of the co-organizers of the event. “People love them.”

This evening will be the second Pecha Kucha Emslie has organized in Whitehorse, but she says the theme of “spring break up” is especially challenging for presenters. “We’ve tried to keep the theme as loose as possible — some people might take it to mean breaking up with a person, or a job, or a location, or take an angle on it we haven’t even considered,” says Emslie.

The theme originated from a “perfect storm” of activity at YAC. The gallery is currently playing host to two exhibitions that dive deeply into broken hearts and all the stories they reveal: The Museum of Broken Relationships and Sonja Ahlers’ War in Peace (Total Eclipse of the Heart). Ahlers’ exhibition will launch of her upcoming book, War In Peace, which explores the break-up that brought her to the Yukon.

Meanwhile, The Museum of Broken Relationships provides a chance for every broken-hearted person to deal with the end of a relationship in a creative way — by making a contribution to the museum and sharing it with the community.

While the gallery delved deeply into break-ups, the main stage sent patrons on a Blind Date, an improv performance in which Mimi the clown selected a different person from the audience each night as her blind date. “When we starting looking at the connections between the different departments these shows were creating, we got really excited about creating more collaboration between all of the work that is going on at the arts centre right now,” says Emslie, “And so the Spring Break-up Pecha Kucha was formed.

“I’m really excited to see what the presenters come up with,” she adds. “It can be a bit uncomfortable for them as they’re talking about such personal pieces and we try to recruit some unlikely candidates who aren’t often in the public realm, but we’re lucky that it’s such a supportive environment.”

The Spring Break-Up Pecha Kucha starts at 7:30 p.m. on March 13 at the Old Fire Hall. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance from YAC or at the door, if still available. 

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