The arts

TSV hosts first Pecha Kucha Night

Event features presentations by Taos creatives in the 20/20 format


Taos Ski Valley is different from other regional resorts. Winter attracts skiers who travel far for a ride on the Kachina triple chairlift to a peak elevation of 12,481 feet just to experience the adrenaline surge of snow. In the summer months, there are full moon hikes to Williams Lake, kamikaze-style mountain biking and, for the first time in its 62-year history, a blossoming relationship between the Taos art colony and the quaint alpine village known as Taos Ski Valley.

Volume 23 of Pecha Kucha Night is planned Friday (July 28), 7-10 p.m., at the Martini Tree Bar, 6 Ernie Blake Road, in Taos Ski Valley. The event promises a night of diverse presentations from Taos creatives. Organizer Matt Thomas said he hopes the event will stimulate interest in the summer activities of the alpine village, which has undergone a gradual face-lift since December 2013, when conservationist and hedge-fund billionaire Louis Bacon purchased the resort from the Blake family, which had owned it since 1954.

“It’s a perfect time to head up to the cooler climate and make a weekend of it. Take a hike, grab a bite and settle in for a night of local flavor – Pecha Kucha style,” Thomas said.

Pecha Kucha, which means “chitchat” in Japanese, is a storytelling format where each presenter shows 20 images on a big screen for 20 seconds. The presenter talks as the images advance automatically.

A common thread links the lineup of presenters for the evening to the mountain. Artist Jameson Wells has been a ticket scanner at the base of Chairlift One every season for the past several years. She has an “exquisite view of Wheeler Peak from her office” and says she is rejuvenated by the staggering beauty of the mountain. She plans to take the audience on a journey of her work, some inspired by theosophist Alice Bailey’s detailed exposition of the “seven rays,” the fundamental energies that are behind and through all manifestation, Wells explains. She hopes her creative work will bring about “an awakening or healing energy to the planet.”

Kendra Adler is planning an “energetically interactive” experience with the audience using “words as the movement.” Adler plans to introduce the work in her first three slides and then, accompanied by a solo drummer, move through a “word map.” She will be joined later in dance by Janice Sandeen and Paul Gruber. She hopes to show the audience “a bridge from the spoken word to the body.” Adler developed the practice as a personal exploration of how to drop into the feeling body with the power of words. “I think about words and how I frame things. Some continue to be useful, others are discarded.” She is inspired by the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector and plans to go to Brazil this year to learn another dance form.

Kristina Ortez de Jones from the Taos Land Trust calls her presentation “The Audacity of Forever.” She plans to take the audience on a journey to the places we love in Taos and the less familiar spaces in Northern New Mexico that “we have protected for 29 years.” Ortez de Jones will talk about plans to build a park with input from the community. She says the priorities for how our wild places should be used are different culturally. She likes the Pecha Kucha format: “That’s how our brain works, speaking through images.”

The instructor for the daily summer yoga in Kit Carson Park, “Baxter” is in the lineup to talk about her new customizable iPhone app designed to chart and coach people with high blood pressure by regulating their breathing habits. The Australian entrepreneur is planning to discuss the ancient practice of yoga and the breathing practices she says have proven to help people with high blood pressure.

“The app will allow the user and medical provider to work together with the information the device can track on the user’s wrist or a home blood pressure measuring device.” Baxter plans to talk about entrepreneurship, as well as the ups and downs of inventing and investing in your ideas. “If you find doors are opening and the process feels fluid, keep going.” Baxter says she is most creative when she is doing what she loves. She swims every morning with the Taos Tiger Sharks and continues the Taos tradition of offering yoga in the park during the summer months.

Pecha Kucha organizer Thomas said he is excited about moving the event to the mountains this summer. “The themes of nature, the environment and meditation are perfect for our 23rd volume in [Taos Ski Valley].” He sees the opportunity for the Taos art community to collaborate with the ski valley and further define the resort from others in the region with a focus on local art. “We have held the event in Peñasco, Questa and Taos with a lot of excitement tying the community together. We hope the move to the cooler summer temperatures in the ski valley will turn into a day trip with hiking and maybe a stay at The Blake hotel.”

Tickets are $10 at the door.

Volume 23 will feature live entertainment by Christof Brownell and hors d’oeuvres provided by 192 at The Blake. Drinks will be available at the Martini Tree with plenty of time for “chitchat” with local creatives.