TACOMA, WASH. - At the end of a hot, hazy summer day, when the light begins to change with the setting sun, something strange may appear in the North Tacoma neighborhood of Proctor.
“It's dreamy,’ Steve Laberge said. “It's fantastic. It's also scary.”
"It" is Crawlrus, the physical embodiment of insurance agent LaBerge's mid life crisis.
“It's a bucket list thing," Laberge said. “You turn fifty years old and you think what should I do?”
LaBerge and his wife Natalie celebrated that year by going to the alternative arts festival Burning Man.
“And I thought if I go back I want to bring something I built,” said LaBerge.
During business hours his head may still be filled with annuities, appraisals and adjustments, but at home, LaBerge has clearly been using another side of his brain.
He built a geodesic sphere using programmable LED lights fitted on a pole suspended eight feet above an old lawn tractor.
“It's actually quite entertaining in that he doesn't map this all out upfront,” said Natalie LaBerge.
Driving it around the Nevada desert during Burning Man is one thing. Around their neighborhood is something else.
“When you look at it, you can see the potential for falling over is huge,” says LaBerge. “It feels top heavy, but it's never fallen over.”
The Crawlrus isn't the fastest way to get around. It drives at about the same speed as --well-- a crawling walrus.
As you might guess the Crawlrus gets noticed, with cheers, waving hands and digital photos taken wherever the go.
“It's fortuitous art,” Natalie LaBerge said. “It comes out of nowhere. You're not paying for it. You're not expecting it and people feel excited that they got to see it.And it's fun to see their excitement.”
Keep your eyes open.
You never know what might be crawling down the street.
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