How to deal with the Portland winter? Author and Portland resident Mykle Hansen has found one way to combat the darkness.
Lightbar is a yearly transformation of Hansen’s backyard into a creative space where he and his friends can inspire and “enlighten” each other, he says. A few years back Hansen and his friends were sick and tired of the depression that residents of the Pacific Northwest must battle for the eight-plus overcast months out of the year. Hansen recently writes:
Words alone cannot fully capture the bleakness, the torpor, the world-weariness and soul-sapping ennui that is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. This desperate psychological condition runs rampant in Portland, Oregon during the dark, cruel midwinter months.
Instead of waiting around for a groundhog to decide, Lightbar was envisioned as a way for its participants to usher in Spring through creative performance and community gathering. To make up for the missing sun, a dome-like structure is constructed to bream light out
Mykle and his friends are creating Lightbar by pulling together everyone’s skills and available materials. He began last month by planing the structure: a 5/8 dome out of 170 sticks of bamboo and some duct tape. Bamboo can be harvested using a Forest Service permit to remove non-native species, he points out, but soon he realized he needed more and was able pick up a variety from the yards of friends. “Lightbar eats more bamboo than a giant panda” he remarks.
Most recently, leftover tarps have been added to cover the dome and a stove has been installed for heating and grilled-cheese sandwich-making. He’s looking for the community to next bring in decorations of all kinds.
Opening night is tonight starting at 8pm where Hansen has instructed anyone attending to “wear white and sunglasses” to match the night’s color theme. The party will then continue throughout February on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. He says that “if this dome be lit — we be OPEN!”
If you’ve got some free time today, Hansen would appreciate any help with the final touches of Lightbar. You can check out the latest on his wish list and follow the magical transformation on Hansen’s blog and see photos of the event on this site’s photo album.
- Tender Loving Empire: 170 artists, a roster of musicians, and a screenprinting studio
- SXSW: Getting Crafty With the Geeks
- Chiptune Music
- DIY in 2009
- R.I.P. Gocco