PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 at Music Box Supper Club

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

My photo of the presenters from the March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 at Music Box Supper Club
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An evening of hugs and high-wow-factor presentations! That is what PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 was for me!

The evening's festivities took place on Thursday, March 7, 2024. Located on the shore of the Cuyahoga River, the Music Box Supper Club in the Cleveland Flats West, was the perfect spot. I had just been in this entertainment section of Cleveland two weeks earlier for Brite Winter 2024 (see my #Brite2024 photos and videos to learn more), and I was glad to be back in the area.

I am writing this blog post to try and capture some of the high-level excitement which is PechaKucha, but it cannot be fully described -- it is something that must be experienced in person! This blog post will act as a bookmark for my memory to help recall the feeling of the evening, and for those of you who did not attend, I hope it serves to encourage you to attend a future PechaKucha Night Cleveland event.

What follows are the official text and photos created by PechaKucha Night Cleveland to announce the presenters. I have then added my own text, photos/videos, and other resources related to the evening.




The PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 Presenter list is complete, and we could not be more excited for Thursday evening - March 07 - at Music Box Supper Club! Doors open at 7pm and presentations begin at 8:20pm! We can't wait to see you there!

March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 at Music Box Supper Club
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It is pretty amazing that PechaKucha Night Cleveland has been featuring creative Greater Cleveland people since 2008! We are fortunate to have one of the oldest PechaKucha Night communities in the world.

Here are my photos and a video of the presenters gathering, the event's opening, and views of Cleveland's Flats West Bank:

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.
Please feel free to pause the video to read the poster explaining 20X20 PechaKucha Night
and to read the names of the PechaKucha Night Cleveland Team members.



1) Photographer - Amber Ford

PKN Cleveland V40 Presenter Announcement - Amber Ford!

Ford is an artist & photographer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a BFA in Photography from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Her practice is primarily photography, she is never afraid to explore other mediums. Ford’s work in portraiture has gained national notoriety appearing in publications such as The New York Time & Washington Post and she has exhibited at moCa Cleveland, Kent State University Museum, Transformer Station & more.

Photographer - Amber Ford - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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What a strong start! As I am watched Amber N. Ford share her work on the big screen, I suddenly realized that I had seen it before!

I recognized Amber N. Ford's photography from the Cleveland Museum of Art 2021 Stories from Storage exhibition, including her photo of the CMA Director and President William M. Griswold, and a photo of Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art Sonya Rhie Mace. Learn more about this exhibition, and see her work in both my blog post and in the following other resources:

Here are two photos from my 2021 blog post that featured Amber N. Ford's photos:

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Amber N. Ford's photos were featured in Stories from Storage at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2021.
    Amber N. Ford's photo were used in the invitation to the opening of the Stories from Storage exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2021.



Amber N. Ford's photography was also featured during the opening of the Cleveland Foundation's new headquarters building. It is very impressive that Amber N. Ford's photography was selected to be the very first work ever shown in the brand-new Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space. She has met some very famous people working to make Cleveland a better place, who I recognized in the photos shown at the opening. Learn more in my blog post and in the following:

Here is my video about Amber N. Ford's PechaKucha Night Cleveland Volume 40 presentation:

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.



2) History, Nature, and Recreation - Mera Cardenas

PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 Presenter Announcement - Mera Cardenas!!!

Mera is a reformed journalist who delights in sharing connections between history, nature, and outdoor recreation. For the last 15 years, she’s been able to do just that through work with non-profits at two different National Heritage Areas. She’s currently the Executive Director of Cleveland-based Canalway Partners and co-director of the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Area. Now that a signature project – The Towpath Trail – is completed, Canalway is focused on offering free community programming and the full development of Canal Basin Park, a 22-acre riverfront greenspace. Mera will share the significance of Canal Basin and why that is still relevant to us today.

History, Nature and Recreation - Mera Cardenas - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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Mera Cardenas is the executive director of Canalway Partners. She made the focus of her PechaKucha talk the new Canal Basin Park. I was very interested in learning more about this project, since on Saturday, September 10, 2022, I had ridden my bike to the "Celebrate the Opening of Canal Basin Trailhead" weekend event. Thank you, Canalway Partners, for the FREE ice cream given out at the event! See details in these Canalway Partners articles:

I learned a lot about the Canalway Partners and their partners at their summer River Rally, and highly recommend attending this outstanding waterfront event -- see my blog posts:

Here are my photos and video from Mera Cardenas's PechaKucha presentation:

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.



3) The Perfect Wave - Sam & Caleb Skelton

PKN Cleveland Volume 40 Announcement: We are so excited to announce brothers Sam and Caleb Skelton!

Brothers Sam and Caleb's passion for surfing, combined with their love of freshwater, brings them all over the shores of the greatest lakes on Earth, exploring and documenting the coastline in search of the perfect freshwater wave.

The Perfect Wave - Sam & Caleb Skelton - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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I have been known to do some cold-weather camping once in a while (sometimes unplanned), so I am familiar with how your body can get used to living in the cold. What the Skelton brothers do regularly is not only far beyond my ability, but it is also beyond my ability to imagine. They surf on Cleveland's north coast on cold, mid-winter days, and plung into openings in ice-covered Lake Erie.

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.

During their PechaKucha talk, the Skelton brothers showed that they were recently selected by Cleveland Magazine as some of Cleveland's most interesting people:


I recommend going to their @theskeltonbrothers YouTube Channel. Here are two of their videos I enjoyed -- be sure to watch in full screen mode:





4) Violinist, Founder Opus 216 - Ariel Karas

PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40 - Presenter Announcement #2!!!

We are so excited to announce violinist Ariel Karas!

Violinist Ariel Karas performs and manages hundreds of events annually as the founder and director of Cleveland-based ensemble OPUS 216. Aside from weddings and private events, the OPUS 216 does both film and recording work and regularly collaborates with large clients, from the Cleveland Museum of Art and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Browns on music for unique moments and exciting projects. When she’s not performing, she serves as the Career Advisor at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Violinist, Founder Opus 216 - Ariel Karas - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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Violinist Ariel Clayton Karas's PechaKucha "talk" didn't have any talking - - instead she did a very clever presentation where the music she played reflected the words and emotions of the text in her slides. It was excellent!

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.

Ariel Clayton Karas is listed on the Cleveland Institute of Music's website as "Faculty, Conservatory" and "Career Advisor." Learn about OPUS 216 on their website and the OPUS 216 YouTube Channel.

Classically Trained, Unbound by Genre
Founded in 2012 by violinist Ariel Clayton Karas, OPUS 216 has appeared in every major venue in northeast Ohio, . . . Trained at top-tier conservatories like the world-renowned Cleveland Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard and others, our musicians make Cleveland their home for its vibrancy, professional development opportunities, arts and culture. . . . Equally versed in classical and non-classical styles, OPUS 216 has created a niche experience for high-level performances that can cover any genre, from classical to French café jazz, Top 40, hip hop, South American jazz, Irish fiddle, original music, and improvisation.



Break Time

It is a tradition at PechaKucha Night Cleveland to have a beverage break halfway through the presentations. I took the opportunity offered by the break to talk to Amber Ford, and let her know that I had seen her work at both the Cleveland Museum of Art and at the Cleveland Foundation Headquarters opening. It was great to meet the woman behind the photography featured at two events from which I have great memories.

Next, I talked to Sam and Caleb Skelton about their adventures. We talked about how the body can adjust to cold temperatures. Here is a photo I took of them during the break:

Photo I took of the Skelton brothers during PechaKucha Night Cleveland at the Music Box Supper Club.
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It was great to attend PechaKucha Night Cleveland with Tony Ramos. He took the following photo of me capturing Mera Cardenas's presentation about the Ohio & Erie Canal:

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Tony Ramos sent me: "A 'behind the scenes of the making of this photo' photo"
    Tony Ramos's photo of me taking a video of Mera Cardenas's presentation about the Ohio & Erie Canal.



5) Architect - Ted Ferringer

PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Vol 40 - Presenter Announcement - Ted Ferringer!!

Ted Ferringer, AIA, is a father, husband, and architect who works, resides, and advocates in Cleveland, Ohio. He is an Associate Principal at Bialosky. Born to a family of artisans & craftsmen on the edge of the Appalachians in rural Western Pennsylvania, he is a passionate advocate for innovative architecture and planning that serves the public good.

Architect - Ted Ferringer - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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Ted Ferringer started his PechaKucha presentation by stating that "this is how you can use AI to design as an architect” -- as you will see in the following photos I took of his slides, the artificial intelligence (AI) alternative urban vistions for Cleveland were pretty wild! I hope you enjoy some of his "But Cleveland ..." slides:

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.

Learn more about Ted Ferringer's work in this Crain's Cleveland Business Forty Under 40 2019 article:

Forty Under 40 2019
Theodore 'Ted' Ferringer,

Architect, Bialosky Cleveland

. . . “The biggest thing my parents drilled into me was standing up for the things I believed in,” said Ferringer, hired by Bialosky in 2012. “To me, there’s a moral and ethical responsibility that architects should have. Wherever your community is, it’s important to be engaged.”

. . . Ferringer is a founding member of Green Ribbon Coalition, a nonprofit pressing for development along Cleveland’s lakefront. Proposals include a Gordon Park expansion and a land bridge connecting downtown to North Coast Harbor.

. . . “It’s about doing what you can to make the world and your community a better place than it was before,” he said. “A few years back, I wouldn’t have imagined where I am today. As long as I’m contributing to the community and working on projects I’m passionate about, I’ll be all right.”



6) Trash Fish CLE - Eddie Olschansky

PechaKucha Night Cleveland V 40 - Presenter Announcement - Eddie Olschansky!!!

Eddie Olschansky founder of Trash Fish a Cleveland based organization dedicated to the health and accessibility of our regions waterways where you can use their fleet of kayaks, for free, to help remove some of the plastic garbage floating in our waters. Eddie will talk a bit about action based activism, the stressors facing our waterways and the worst type of plastic pollution that you’ve never heard of.

Trash Fish CLE - Eddie Olschansky - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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Having talked to Eddie Olschansky twice before at the Canalway Partners Cuyahoga River Rally (see my 2022 Cuyahoga River Rally and 2023 Cuyahoga River Rally blog posts), I expected that I fully knew his story of how he helps clean our local rivers, but boy, was I wrong! He started his talk explaining how he leads groups of people in kayaks to clean the Cuyahoga River, but then brought up a larger issue about which many are not aware.

I (and I assume many of the PechaKucha Night Cleveland attendees) have heard of the huge problem of single-use plastic products, but I have never heard about the horrible problem of plastic pellet pollution. These pellets are known as nurdles -- ". . . small round pieces of plastic used as a raw material . . . in making plastic products." Eddie Olschansky did an excellent job of educating the audience on how nurdles are zero-use -- yes, you read correctly -- zero-use microplastics that are getting into our waterways before ever becoming a useful product even once.

Plastic pellet pollution is a type of marine debris originating from the plastic particles that are universally used to manufacture large-scale plastics. In the context of plastic pollution, these pre-production plastic pellets are commonly known as 'nurdles'.[1] These microplastics are created separately from the user plastics they are melted down to form, and pellet loss can occur during both the manufacturing and transport stages.[2] When released into the open environment, they create persistent pollution both in the oceans and on beaches.[3] About 230,000 tonnes of nurdles are thought to be deposited in the oceans each year, where they are often mistaken for food by seabirds, fish and other wildlife.[1] Due to their small size, they are notoriously difficult to clear up from beaches and elsewhere.[4] . . . Nurdles are the second largest source of microplastics in the ocean. . . . Primary microplastics make up between 15% and 31% of the growing amount of marine microplastic pollution, which is related to the corporative expansion of large-scale plastic production. . . . between 3 and 36 million plastic pellets enter the environment from production sites every year.[11] These nurdles spill during transportation and production and due to inadequate precautions and regulations, millions of pellets of plastic end up in nearby waterways and eventually the ocean. . . .

Here are some articles about this pollution that you may have never heard of:

We are fortunate to have Eddie Olschansky cleaning the Cuyahoga River and educating the community about nurdles and other river pollutants. Here are the photos I took during his PechaKucha talk:

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.



7) Artist - Christa Freehands

PechaKucha Night Cleveland V 40 Presenter Announcement - Christa Freehands!!!

Christa Freehands is a freelance artist who specializes in acrylic paints and transforming exterior surfaces with her beautiful work. Her work varies in scale with many small-scale projects as well as large mural projects around the city. Surrealism and some pop or graphic art tend to be the main inspiration for her solo pieces, and she is always exploring different styles, mediums, and color palettes. Her work speaks about her own personal experiences, interests, and emotions. Her goal is for people to see her work and feel connected or feel like they know a little more about me.

Artist - Christa Freehands - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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During her PechaKucha talk, Christa Freehands showed samples of her artwork -- paintings, fashion, tattoos, murals, a public art display on Cleveland Public Square The Art Wall, and more. Ghoulish, LLC, is Christa Freehands's company, and she created the Red Lead Club to bring artists together.

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.


See Christa Freehands on the following web platforms:



8) Conductor - Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz

PechaKucha Night Cleveland Volume 40 Presenter Announcement - Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz!!!!

Matthew is currently serving as Music Director Designate of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with such musical luminaries as pianist Garrick Ohlsson and trumpeter Terrence Blanchard, and has conducted everything from the operas of Wagner and the symphonies of Beethoven to tribute concerts of Queen.

Conductor - Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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It was interesting to learn Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz's history of earning a master's degree in music and running an opera company. He is currently the Music Director Designate of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the Canton Youth Symphonies program.

Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz - Conductor
What is most important to me is communicating the emotional content of the music I conduct. I want each and every person in the concert hall to experience the pure magic that is live performance.

In his PechaKucha talk, Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz showed his process of preparing for a concert. It was interesting to learn how he needs to be able to read the music for each of the instruments. He sings the music as his way of studying all the nuances of a piece of music. See the pie chart from his presentation that shows what percentage of time he spends on score study, rehearsals, and performance. Over 50 hours of study is necessary to prepare for the 2% of his time in a performance.

I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.



9) Multidisciplinary Artist - Mixxed Rose

PechaKucha Night Cleveland Volume 40 Presenter Announcement - Mixxed Rose!!!

Mixxed Rose is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cleveland Ohio, She’s a Cleveland School of Arts alumni, and holds an Associates of Arts Degree from Cuyahoga Community College. She has been ranked #22 Woman Poet of the World as of 2022 and performed in many theatrical staged productions. All of her creative experiences has helped her develop her own poetic style she likes to refer to as Cinematic Poetry, a harmonious fusion between music, poetry, and storytelling.

Multidisciplinary Artist - Mixxed Rose - March 7, 2024, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 40
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I recommend viewing videos in full screen mode.

During Mixxed Rose's PechaKucha presentation, I took several photos in an attempt to capture visually the emotion that I was feeling by watching her performance. I knew that my photos and text could not even come close to sharing what I felt as I experienced her presence.

Her performance reminded me of the times in college when I would sit in the theatre department director's office, and watch friends of mine who were practicing for their upcoming theatrical competition event. A huge difference was that while my college friends were performing the writings of others, Mixxed Rose was presenting her own work.

Fortunately, you don't need to just look at my photos and video clips of her PechaKucha presentation, since Jamal Collins shared the full presentation on Facebook:


Please learn more about Mixxed Rose on Spotify, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube at:

I also found Mixxed Rose's biography and her email address, if you wanted to contact her, on the Sparrow's Fortune website. I was interested to read about her theatre background after being reminded by her PechaKucha performance of my actor friends in college:

Shatara "Mixxed Rose" Jordan

Shatara Jordan, a multi-faceted force in the world of storytelling, was born and raised in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Her artistic journey began at the Cleveland School of Arts, where she graduated from high school, setting the stage for a remarkable career that seamlessly blends poetry, theater, film, and content creation. In 2018, while still a high school senior, Shatara showcased her abilities by writing and directing her first play at the Cleveland School of Arts. . . .

As a multifaceted artist, Shatara made her mark in the realm of theatre, showcasing her acting talents in productions by professional institutions such as Cleveland Public Theatre, Talespinner Children's Theatre, Cleveland School of the Arts, and Cleveland State University. Shatara expanded her creative footprint into the world of film. . . . Embracing the digital age, Shatara evolved into a content creator on various social media platforms, pioneering what she terms Cinematic Poetry. Her unique approach involves creating poet covers set to various forms of music, seamlessly blending her passion for storytelling and performance poetry. . . .

. . . Shatara's journey is a testament to the power of storytelling, poetry, and the unwavering pursuit of artistic excellence. As The Cinematic Poet, she continues to captivate audiences, leaving her unique mark on the world of creative expression.



Fun After the PechaKucha Night Cleveland Main Event

Good times with Tony Ramos and Michael Christoff -- PechaKucha Night Cleveland
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My suggestion, when attending a PechaKucha Night Cleveland, is to stay around after the event. By staying, you will increase your opportunity to talk directly to presenters and other interesting people.

I made a point of talking to several of the PechaKucha Night Cleveland leadership team members to congratulate them on this most excellent evening. It is important to thank these leaders, since their work to showcase great things happening in Cleveland adds value to our lives. After the event, I also thanked the leaders on social media:

Thank you, PechaKucha Night Cleveland Leadership Team, for the fun evening!!!
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This was the first time Tony Ramos and I have seen each other in person since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. See in my 2019 blog post, "Ten Years of Exploring Possibilities," how it was the advice of two friends, Jim Evans (a good friend who passed away on May 8, 2018) and Tony Ramos, that got me started on using social media. On his own, Tony mentioned memories of Jim Evans while we talked during the break of PechaKucha Night Cleveland.

It was great that Lisa Buffo found me after the main PechaKucha Night Cleveland event. She had left the Cleveland area around 2014 (I can't believe it has been 10 years), and she messaged me about a year ago that she had returned to the Cleveland area. It was good to reconnect with her at PechaKucha Night Cleveland. (I did a search of my past blog posts, and saw that Lisa Buffo is mentioned in four of my blog posts that I wrote in 2013 and 2014.) Here is a photo of Tony Ramos and me, with Lisa Buffo and her partner, Rodolfo Ramirez.

Fun with friends at PechaKucha Night Cleveland!!
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I think that Tony Ramos and I were some of the last people to leave the venue, along with PechaKucha presenter Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz. At the end of the evening, it was great that Tony and I were able to talk to him one-on-one about his work as the conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. The three of us continued our conversation in the parking lot, so that the great people working at Music Box Supper Club could finally go home. It was a great way to end a Thursday evening.

The following two images contain the comments that Tony Ramos and Lisa Buffo wrote as replies to my social media posts. Thank you, Tony, for your kind words: ". . . You are a local if not national treasure. Please continue to exist." -- "Intrepid ace reporter Stuart O Smith Jr is on the scene!"

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Related Blog Posts

I always like to end my blog posts with a list of related blog posts. I hope you take time to explore some of the following.


In relation to the work being done by Canalway Partners, I always think back to this 2014 blog post when I see the great waterfront access developments that have occurred along the Cuyahoga Riverfront in the past ten years:


My Cuyahoga River Rally blog posts have information about both the Canalway Partners and about Eddie Olschansky's Trash Fish CLE:


I really enjoyed seeing Amber Ford's photography again, since it reminded me of the good times I had at these events:


See all my blog posts with the "PechaKucha" tag to learn about past events I attended in both Cleveland and Akron.

In 2016, the PechaKucha Night Cleveland leadership team asked me to do a special PechaKucha Talk at the first-time-ever PechaKucha Night Cleveland Past Presenters Happy Hour. See my PechaKucha slides, video of my talk, and read more in my blog post:


PechaKucha is always a good time. Thank you to the PechaKucha Night Cleveland leaders for making these great events happen!! I look forward to attending more!

Thank you to the PechaKucha Night Cleveland leaders for making these great events happen!!
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