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Best Intersection of Art, Politics, and PowerPoint 

Pecha Kucha at EastSide Cultural Center

Shortly after its 2003 inception in Tokyo, the Pecha Kucha party format caught on throughout Asia, then bubbled up in European and American hipster scenes. It's a simple, creative idea: A group of artists (eight to fourteen, ideally) present twenty slides of their work for twenty seconds apiece. Originally designed as a forum for Japanese architects to showcase their portfolios, it's a useful format for business meetings, lectures, or any person wanting to present a wide range of material in a compressed time slot. Oakland's iteration of the party naturally has its own spin. Organizers Weyland Southon (of Hard Knock Radio fame), Maisha Quint (of EastSide Arts Alliance), and Estriya Miyashiro (Samurai Graphix) seek out artists who work in a variety of media and produce socially relevant, politically inspired material. Since launching the party last October, they've featured a wide range of local notables, from graffiti muralist Suzie Lundy to hydroponic gardener Eric Maundu to "thrift couture" experts from the women-owned company Conscious Fashionistas. Each party has an overarching theme (e.g., "new," "love," or "good/green/earth"), and participants are given lots of latitude in how they interpret it. "New" included "new-wave cooking" demonstrations by Oakland chef Bryant Terry while "love" featured a presentation on "homo thug love" by queer Filipino artist Joël Tan. In contrast to other Pecha Kuchas, Oakland emphasizes art and politics over entrepreneurship. It's clearly one of a kind. The party happens every other month on second Fridays.

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