Tonight's show at the Contemporary Art Museum isn't your typical show. Yes, it has people on stage who are talking and an audience who is listening, but it's got a different objective than to just simply entertain; it also educates and, most importantly, inspires.
Pecha Kucha nights began in 2003 in Tokyo as a networking event for young professionals to showcase their works. In early 2010, the event came to St. Louis, and since then, dozens of local creative thinkers have enthusiastically presented on their passions in an effort to pull back one new layer of the city others might not have known existed.
Each presenter creates a slide show of images and words in a 20-x-20 format with 20 seconds allowed for each of their 20 slides. Some people nail the art of timed speaking while others might not, but each presentation is unique and effective in its own way - much like the city of St. Louis.
Among nearly a dozen presenters, tonight's free show features Eric Thoelke of TOKY Branding+Design and Bill Streeter of Lo-Fi Saint Louis.
To keep with the who's-who nature of the evening, we've paired PK Night with one of the institutions of the Central West End: Duff's. Evenings at the restaurant are chill and familiar, with ample outdoor seating that only amplifies your desire to people-watch.
The onion soup gratinée is a favorite here, with crispy, melted cheese on top that drips over the sides of the bowl, served piping hot from the oven. An interesting item that's on the new spring menu is the Asian-inspired Thai Lemongrass Chicken, made with brown Jasmine rice and a handful of delicious al dente vegetables (red pepper, snow peas and asparagus to name a few) and served in a bowl of spicy coconut sauce topped with a basil sprig. It's fresh and light, yet the tender slices of chicken breast allow for a substantial meal. But also great here is the rotating menu and specials that change with the seasons - and with whatever new local purveyor the ever-inventive chef Jimmy Voss has decided to take to his liking.
Duff's Restaurant, 392 N Euclid, Central West End, 314.361.0522, dineatduffs.com; Dinner served 4:30 to 10pm
Pecha Kucha Night #6 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Blvd., 6:30pm, free