Northern New Mexico in the fall is a favorite time of the year for locals and visitors alike. In the air is an olfactory delight of green chile roasting, layered with the gray-blue smoke of piñón logs in the fireplace. There is a gentle cascade of foliage colors in an autumnal transition beginning deep in the mountains of Taos Ski Valley and continuing south of town to the rolling hills and mesas.
The 24th volume of Pecha Kucha reflects the beauty and complexity of this time of year in Taos with an eclectic mix of writers, musicians, sculptors and painters Sunday (Sept. 24) from 7-9 p.m. at Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. This time around, its theme draws from the opening weekend of the Taos Fall Arts Festival and The PASEO.
Pecha Kucha, which means “chitchat” in Japanese, is a storytelling format where the person onstage shows 20 images on a big screen for 20 seconds. The presenter talks as the pictures advance automatically, and they have only six minutes and 40 seconds to do all this.
J. Matthew Thomas, organizer of the event, said, “The weekend of Fall Arts and The PASEO is always full. After several days of walking, exploring and visiting with artists and community, Sunday night with Pecha Kucha comes as a little respite. To sit back listening to the stories of artists, who are sharing their process, their passions and many time bearing their soul. It’s a very inspiring way to finish off an incredible Taos weekend.”
The PASEO is a free art festival dedicated to bringing art installations, performances and projections to the Taos historic district. The Taos Fall Arts Festival, which celebrates its 43rd year, is a showcase of emerging and established artists within Taos County.
The lineup for the evening includes Taos musician Ryan Beckwith, who plays guitar for Katy P and the Business. Beckwith also performs as Ryan Nobody, a solo act. As Ryan Nobody, Beckwith records layers of guitar, bass, drums and keyboard to create songs. He plans to take the Pecha Kucha audience on a journey of “live looping” and how he uses it in a live performance.
Taos artist Brigid Meier intends to present in her sequence of slides an exploration of work she’d done in the past, but with a new twist. Meier explains, “Two and a half years ago, I went through several large portfolios of paintings on paper and culled out the best ones, the ones that had held up over the years. I cut out silhouettes of a person sitting in meditation posture to reflect my understanding of Buddhist practice.” Pecha Kucha is an “excellent way to send these works out into the world, as well as tell their backstory and the works that preceded them. The 20 slides of images feel like prayer flags on a line going out into the world fulfilling the mission.”
New York artist Kyle Depew is a member of “The Illuminator,” a New York City-based art collective founded during the Occupy Wall Street movement. The group has staged projection interventions in public spaces since its formation in 2011 and will be participating in this year’s PASEO festival. Depew plans to present a history of his collection and the work the group does.
Marty Munroe is a Reiki practitioner and a sound healer based in Taos. He intends to explore the Dagara medicine wheel onstage and its corresponding rhythms on the djembe drum. Munroe explains, “The Dagara is a West African tribe from the country of Burkina Faso. The people of this tribe use a five-element system that is made up of fire, water, mineral, nature and earth. Each has a set of particular healing characteristics, which in turn have corresponding rhythms on the djembe drum.”
Taos sculptor Sylvia Luftig will show her work in clay, she says, “with a skewed eye, everyday objects, usually large in scale using the firing process of raku. The results are never predictable, always imperfect and sometimes exciting. Pecha Kucha is a compelling format for reducing this process to the essential ‘why.’ It requires an intense winnowing of the unessential.”
Local award-winning sculptor-santero Gustavo Victor Goler plans to talk about why he moved to Taos and “explain some of the key experiences, opportunities and moments that have been critical for my development as an artist and the person I am today.”
Irene Loy, a Taos-based writer, performer and nonprofit professional, plans to discuss her book idea, “The Hero’s Desire is Not Enough.” Loy explains that “the core of the ‘hero’s journey’ is the ‘hero’s desire’ – the way he wants things and pursues what he wants in the world. However, if we look more closely at existing films, plays, TV shows and our own lived experiences, we can find myriad examples of other kinds of desire.”
Other presenters for the evening include filmmaker Barry Johnson; FaraHNHeight Fine Art Gallery owner Gregory Farah; artist, therapist, educator and creative strategist Ron Hutt; and California-based metal sculptor and PASEO participant Jamie Vaida.
What should audiences expect the evening of the event? “I’m excited to get the opportunity to hear from artists that I know, but didn’t know their whole story,” Thomas said. “This event allows us to share with our community the backstory of what has informed their work and what drives their passion. It’s a rare opportunity and the immediate sense of connection with community is incredible.”
Tickets are $10. For more information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit pechakuchataos.com.