Party Planner: ‘Drunk PowerPoint’ at Kafe Kerouac

Erica Thompson
Ryan Branch and Phil Liddell [Photo by Chris Casella]

It's surprising it took this long. Beloved campus bar Kafe Kerouac is full of students, graduates and other intelligent people having beers and working on presentations late into the night. And there's a stage in the back room. So why not create an event centered on drinking and showing PowerPoint slides?

And who better to create it than Phil Liddell, a former lead tech at the Greater Columbus Convention Center?

“I was basically running different PowerPoints all the time, everything from ‘The Epidemiology of Pig Feces' to very coded corporate language for, ‘You're all fired,'” Liddell said during a mid-September interview. “It just turns out if you add alcohol to business things, it's kinda fun.”

Thus “Drunk PowerPoint” was born approximately two years ago.

“I just made the Facebook event, and then like 60 people signed up,” said Liddell, who used to run sound at Kerouac. “It was crazy.”

The next show takes place Friday, Sept. 21. Following an open-mic-style format, attendees sign up to give 10-minute presentations on a projector screen. Topics have ranged from “The Trials and Tribulations of Kanye West's MacBook Air” to “The Elements of Time Travel.”

“[The presenter] got stuck in a time loop halfway through for like three or four minutes, [showing] the same slide,” Liddell said of the latter presentation.

“It allows you to pick something inane or purely educational, and pull out the little elements of it that make it ridiculous,” said co-organizer Ryan Branch, who gave a presentation on evolution called “These Animals … Why?”

“I decided to highlight a bunch of the creatures that really should not exist,” Branch said, citing the ocean sunfish as an example. “It's a huge, 10-foot-by-10-foot, bony fish that can barely move. … It can basically only eat jellyfish that float toward it. But it spits out hundreds of millions of eggs in a clutch, and that's the only reason it's even alive right now. Seals eat them for fun. They don't even finish.”

While many people inject comedy into their presentations, it isn't required. Alcohol definitely helps, which is why each presenter gets a free beer.

In addition to the time limit, there are just a couple restrictions: “offensive, threatening or agitating” talks are not allowed. And if you're presenting on a community of people, you must be a member of that community.

It is not required that PowerPoint slides be well-designed.

“Just do what you're mildly interested in,” advised Liddell. “And then carry it to its most ridiculous extreme.”

Kafe Kerouac

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21

2250 N. High St., Campus

‘Drunk PowerPoint’