PKN #15: All Stars

The gloves came off quickly when PechaKucha Night presenters faced-off in an unprecedented All Stars edition at the Boyce Theatre across from the Saddledome on February 22.

Ten crowd favourites, all previous speakers from PechaKucha Nights past, wasted no time defending their hard-won titles. One particularly keen competitor kick-started the competition before the crowd even made it to their seats.

Editor and writer Shelley Youngblut drafted her twin daughters into the battle for hearts and minds, conducting a social experiment of sorts. The trio offered audience members balloons and a couple of pieces of Double Bubble gum on their way to the theatre doors. “I figured, who refuses balloons from two little girls?” Youngblut laughed later. More than you would think, as it turned out.

The evening's host, Protospace's Will Knoll, explained the rules of the game: presenters could either retool their previous PKN presentations, with the usual format of 20 slides per speaker for 20 seconds each, or address any of the previous 14 themes. Speedskating champ Kristina Groves told us about the joys of her 20-year wait to carry the Olympic Torch, while architect Jeremy Sturgess assured us that “if you get the city right, creative space will take care of itself.” To nobody's surprise, only a couple of people raised their hands when cardiac surgeon Paul Fedak asked, “who in the audience has cut open somebody's chest with a saw and held their beating heart in their hands?” Were they Fedak’s operating room crew?

After Shelley Youngblut wrapped up her power play on work, branding and metaphysical bubble gum with a real-life balloon fight, the remaining speakers fought their way through a balloon-strewn debris field. Artist daniel j kirk revealed what it was really like to live in a glass box on Stephen Avenue for five days, while blogger Mike Morrison tried to justify how his planned six months in Calgary stretched into 88. After cook and illustrator Pierre Lamielle made the convincing argument that “potatoes are vegetables, tomatoes are fruit; ergo fries and ketchup are salad and smoochies”, and offered up a prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the audience was ready to declare a winner of the evening's contest - all of us. Since admission to the East Village sponsored event included an InvestYYC gift card, the love keeps spreading around. Hello. Hi. Hey.

Don't miss the next EV-sponsored PKN #16 on June 3, when the theme is "sweet sixteen".