BettaKultcha 1, Temple Works, Leeds

This review is bound to be biased as I was a co-organizer of this event and also the compere. The story behind it has all the classic markings of a vintage 60’s ‘Summer Holiday‘ movie, with a bunch of enthusiastic kids declaring. “Hey, why don’t we put the show on right here!”

Well, those kids were Richard Michie and myself and the “right here” was Temple Works.

BettaKultcha itself is a play on Pecha Kucha which has a rigid format for PowerPoint presentations – 20 slides lasting 20 seconds each. We elected to have 20 slides lasting 15 seconds each making each presentation exactly five minutes long. People can present about anything they want to and on the night, that’s exactly what people did!

We literally made it up as we went along including the room layout which took several shapes before it morphed into the most practical one. Temple Works is currently in the process of being renovated, however, people turned up with a ‘camping’ attitude – bags of alcohol, thermals and hamper loads of enthusiasm.

Richard has already catalogued all the presenters in his blog here so I will just mention my particular highlights of the evening.

A fun time was had by all and there were lots of give-aways including five very rare and precious twelve inch singles by the cult band Gentle Ihor’s Devotion. An invaluable little red book was also generously given out by Mike Chitty. One of the concerns that Richard and I had about the evening might be the lack of presenters. As a plan b we decided to put together a set of random slides in case someone was mad enough to get up on the night and spontaneously talk over the slides. ‘Yeah, right, ‘course they will’, we thought.

During the break in the proceedings I spoke to Lee Jackson who was attending but not presenting. He was enjoying the show enormously and, as he was a professional speaker, I suggested to him that he might like to take up the challenge of the random slides. I could see the mad glint in his eye and he said he would consider it. In the latter half of the show a couple of guys who called themselves The Story Hunters presented a crazy exploration of additional dimensions in the universe. This included a selection of videos which failed to play when required to do so. To their everlasting credit, the gentlemen improvised a spirited response to the blank screen which suggested that they were;

a) seasoned performers b) drunk or c) both.

At the end of the evening I announced the still vacant slot of random slides presenter and asked if Lee had made up his mind. He said that he would do it if the Story Hunters joined him in the presentation. This was an invitation that they could not refuse and we had an additional ‘performance’.

The main body of the evening was great. But what these guys did with their performance was to turn the evening into sensational. For those of you who weren’t there, this is the calibre of improvisation; a slide of a twopenny coin stumped the group for a story-line so one of them decided to faint. Yup, faint. How brilliant is that! The place was in hysterics. I do hope that this is included in any video footage released by Media Squared.

So funny, so dangerous, so unpredictable was this random slide slot that we have decided to repeat it for the next BettaKultcha but to have two slots instead of one. The only change to the format will be that each random slot will have 10 slides instead of 20 as people can only take so much danger.

Thanks to everyone who helped put the show on (and take it off) and we look forward to the next event which will be on April 27th 2010 at Temple Works.

Lee Jackson

Lee Jackson and one of The Story Hunters

Mike Chitty

Mike Chitty with a camera on his head enjoying the show

Richar Mitchie

Richard Michie setting up

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  4. [...] Way back on 02MAR2010, there was Bettakultcha I. Held in a draughty room at Temple Works a new arts venue which was undergoing renovations, it was the brainwave of Ivor and Richard who pretty much winged it to see what worked. Here’s the first ever trailer for the event and some early >reviews. [...]

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