Kids at heart: Adults gotta play, documentary shows
Portland has a purported reputation in the United States: It's the city where young people go to retire.
But is this idea, that of young adults not wanting to "grow up," actually a trend in other places?
Recently, local filmmaker Jason de Parrie-Turner, longtime participant and now board member of the Portland Adult Soap Box Derby, embarked on an adventure to investigate that notion, culminating in a forthcoming 2018 documentary called "Rewind Play."
The 48-year-old father of five started the filmmaking journey following completion of a previous documentary called "Veer," released in 2010, about Portland's bike culture. He's completed other projects for clients through his production company, Heliorana, including the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
"I came across a lot of grown adults who were doing these fun activities like bombing down hills on little kids' bikes and 'Sunday Funday' and activities like kickball," de Parrie-Turner says.
"So the idea that you work for 30 years at a job, and retire, then go have fun — I see a swap of that."
— Jason de Perrie-Turner
It's true: Take a walk around Northeast Portland's Irving Park on certain warm afternoons and onlookers undoubtedly will be treated to lively games of kickball by teams of millennials, toting coolers of beer for post-game beverages.
"So, as a kid at heart myself, I wanted to know, is this a Portland thing?" He refers to "Zoobombing," a Portland-centric phenomenon (with its own Wikipedia page) in which young people carry their bikes on the MAX, getting off near the Oregon Zoo, and then ride rapidly down the hills in that area.
He, too, has been "battling with the growing up thing" for a long time.
Using money from crowdsourcing, he and his wife, Jeanne de Parrie-Turner, traveled to several other major cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York to do research.
What they found is a change in how adults are approaching aging and work. People want to connect more on a "human level" and yearn for a different type of work culture, de Parrie-Turner says. People want more "play."
"I saw groups who would be total strangers at the beginning, then they'd play games, have a couple beers and hang out, and become friends," he says. "And part of what's interesting is big companies like Google and other startups are using it as a way for team building. … If they're going to attract the tech stars of tomorrow, they need this play to be part of the hiring package."
He adds, "So the idea that you work for 30 years at a job, and retire, then go have fun — I see a swap of that," de Parrie-Turner says. They're cashing out their 401k retirement funds, taking risks and starting strange ventures.
For instance, in "Rewind Play," de Parrie-Turner focuses on one person who quit a day job to focus on his skee-ball skills, starting an arcade in San Francisco called "Joey the Cat." He rents out skee-ball machines to places like Google and Intel.
In Portland, aside from filming at the soap box derby, de Parrie-Turner features two brothers in the documentary who go by Pips and Bounce — also the name of their ping pong social club on Southeast Belmont Street, Pips & Bounce. The two also quit their day jobs and used retirement money to open the club, which is based on their childhood recreation room.
"I just think, we only get one ride through life, and I think people are redefining what it is," de Parrie-Turner says.