The Oregonian

Cool article in the Oregonian, short but sweet and to the point. 🙂

North Portland’s kite pro John Barresi says kites can bring people together and create good will |

“I saw this guy at the Marina Green in San Francisco, and I was like, ‘What’s he doing?’ He handed it to me and, well, I was hooked,” he says.

Four months later, he was competing nationally. Two years after that, he won his first national championship.

Now, Barresi has racked up 25 national kite-flying championships, publishes an online kite flying magazine and has his name on a signature series of the Revolution, one of the world’s most widely used kites.

The Revolution is not your typical one-string, four-corner affair. Designed by the San Diego-based Hadzeki brothers in 1988, the highly engineered kite has four strings that are controlled by marionette-like rods, allowing the operator to acrobatically manipulate the kite into precise positions that defy gravity and common sense.

With a twitch, it can pop 25 feet out and hover in place. Another twitch, and it does somersaults sideways.

But that’s not really important.

“Kite people are always looking up, you know. It’s a mindset,” Barresi says..

To Barresi, it’s more about what kite flying can do to engender communal good will — that sense of mindfulness that many musicians strive for when performing for friends or others.

It’s no surprise then that with his Portland-based team FlyForm or his national group Quad, Barresi develops tightly choreographed routines set to high-energy music.

“We’re really like a jam band; we love to fly and we like to do it really well,” he says. “People really seem to take a real enjoyment of it.”

Organized through online forums and Facebook, the international stunt and Revolution kite-flying community regularly host festivals and more recently, “mega flys.” Akin to flash mobs, mega flys involve dozens of people meeting up and flying together in synchronized formations.

At one such mega fly in Tokyo, Barresi met his future wife, TK Barresi.

“It was 2007, he came to a Tokyo Bay flight party,” she says of the 48-person then-record for mega flys. “He was No. 2 pilot and I was No. 3 pilot. We were right next to each other.”

TK served as Barresi’s cultural liaison, helping facilitate workshops.

“I see an obviously remarkable woman, and that’s cool. … then I see that she is flying kites,” he says with a wry grin.

Six months later, Barresi flew with TK again in the Japanese kite capital of Uchinada.

“I saw her and she was flying, and I pulled up behind her and just watched,” he says. “She didn’t see me. I was there for at least 15 minutes. At that moment … I had already my decision.”

To Barresi, kite flying has an almost spiritual profundity. Wherever he flies, be it Paris or Peninsula Park Community Center‘s indoor gym, he strives to share something different with people.

“People need to assess where they are and look for something that makes them feel divine, aside from spirituality or religion, just give them a sense of freedom,” he says. “At this point, the world needs that levity more than ever.”

— Peter Beland, Special to The Oregonian