Portland’s bike and open mic cultures collide: Open Bike Night

Dan Kaufman, CEO (Chief Event Organizer) of the world's first Open Bike Night, right here in Portland.
Dan Kaufman, CEO (Chief Event Organizer) of the world’s first Open Bike Night, right here in Portland.

It was bound to happen.

For a city at the epicenter of North American cycling that also has active comedy, open mic and music scenes, it was only a matter of time before an evening of live performance about bike culture emerged.

Voila: Open Bike Night

The brainchild of Dan Kaufman, it finally happened last week at Velo Cult in NE Portland. The ever prolific Jonathan Maus documented the evening on BikePortland.org.

Meanwhile, playwrights take note. A musical or play that either focuses on or even peripherally includes Portland’s bike culture would instantly have national legs. What could you do here? Maybe a love story about a bike messenger? Les Mis on fixies? URINETOWN with the ZooBombers, screaming down SW Fairview? The ANGELS IN AMERICA of our time?

This is no a joke. Given the instant audience and Portland cred, there is huge potential to create a crossover hit about bike culture. Sharpen up those pens. Don’t go small: go big. Put it on at Portland Center Stage with a cast of 15-20 in the summer at peak tourist season. Great music, comedy, 20 somethings, and the outline of Mt. Hood glowing on the back wall. It would be an open-ended sensation unlike anything this town has ever seen.

I can already picture the hit movie adaptation: sunrise over the Steel Bridge as our hero Stella pedals elegantly onwards…then bursts into song.

If you want to say you were there at the beginning (well, the second night), Open Bike Night happens again the next two Wednesdays (the 23rd and 30th) at the same time (7:00 pm) and same place (Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern, 1969 NE 42nd Ave).

Think of it as an off or under the radar Fertile Ground event the night before the official festival begins.

But this is the real deal – a popular culture eruption into performance that will catch fire fast.