Checking out the Portland Winter Light Festival

IMG_3320Last night we left our comfy pocket of country life and headed up to check out the last night of the Portland Winter Light Festival.  This is an annual event where light artists present installations and personal performances on both sides of the Willamette River for the public to enjoy for free.  The event is a family affair intentionally designed to take place when everyone is weary of the dark, rainy days and long nights of winter that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

You may walk across one of the bridges to see it all or take a boat that leaves on the half-hour.  Another option is to dress up in your best-illuminated paraphernalia and participate in the Light Parade that walks from one side of the festival to the other.

There was not enough time for us to experience more than the west side. (Darn- I reallyIMG_3330 wanted to see the neon Hoola hoopers) From what we saw, the fire dancer performance was the most impressive.  Though I admired the installations, by far the most enjoyable part for us was seeing the children’s delight as they interacted with the light exhibits.  Then, of course, was the “Keep Portland Wierd” factor.  IMG_3319We spied a plethora of illuminated strollers, dogs, and individuals creatively lit up with all manner of LED bulbs.  There was an awesome jellyfish gal that got away from me before I could take a picture…

If you happen to be in Portland in early February stop into the Winter Light Festival – a truly unique experience.

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Artful Austin, Texas

I just spent the last few days on an explore of Austin, Texas with family.  Having never been there before I was curious about the culture of the city having heard it mimics Portland, Oregon, the area where I reside.  Both cities sport “Keep Portland Weird” and Keep Austin Wierd” slogans.  I think Portland gets the credit on that one.  In the short time I was there I would say that Austin was like Portland with more torn edges and a cowboy overlay.  Substitute evergreen trees for oaks.  Portland is artsy but Austin exudes art to the extreme.  Street art is everywhere from graffiti to spectacular murals.

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The city library did not dissapoint with its edgy architecture, art installations and its current art exhibit “Testament Project” by Kris Graves.

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Green space is in abundance as well.  We had a chance to stop by Barton Springs, a popular swimming spot and the Zilker Botanical Garden.  So many things to see, too little time.  I will have to go back.

 

So Why Put a Bird on it?

4efEveryone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?

David Attenborough

One of the most famous sketches in the hit show “Portlandia” is the “Put a Bird on It” sketch” where Frank and Carrie, the actors mock the epidemic use of birds on crafty, artsy items that abound on Etsy, other internet commerce sites and of course, Portland hipster stores. (I live an hour from Portland).  Not too soon after, T-shirts, cups, and posters started appearing with the meme, “Put a bird on it.”

Beyond being a birder at an early age and loving the uniqueness of birds.  I have several feeders about my house and so love watching the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and juncos as they feed.  They are my neighbors.  They fascinate me as they have with humanity for centuries.

Continue reading “So Why Put a Bird on it?”