If the world seems to be a little upside down, you’re not alone.
Keith Baker first imagined a topsy-turvy outlook as a kid watching TV shows upside down while lying on the living-room couch. During the long months as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, he would let his imagination run as he gazed over the horizon.
Back in Seaside, Baker has turned his longtime vision into a reality at the Inverted Experience, appropriately located at the former location of the Ferris wheel on Broadway.
Today, the room is decorated like a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers Hollywood stage set, with fixtures on the ceiling and upside down on the walls. Barstools are upside down at the “inverted saloon” and on a side wall, a 1950s kitchen scene hangs from above.
Reactions are “unbelievable,” Baker said. “It’s steamrolling.”
He developed the concept about 10 years ago, during those long moments on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea. “When you are isolated on a boat you have a lot of time to think,” Baker said. “You don’t have a lot of influences, TV or internet.”
The Inverted Experience is the product of Baker’s imagination and his love for Seaside.
A $6 admission fee gains entry; a family pass is $20 for four. Visitors pass their phones to an attendant, who snaps and rotates the shots so people appear to be hanging, floating, running or scrambling upside down.
The surreal images hang like a Salvador Dali in cyberspace. The emporium’s Facebook page is filled with children “diving” into a toilet bowl, families blown in the wind clinging to bicycle handlebars or holding onto a lamppost in midair.
Baker, who lives in Gearhart, is a fifth-generation North Coast resident. His grandfather was stationed at Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center, and family members remain.
He recalled the memorable upside-down Astaire dance scenes and the 1980s Lionel Richie video, “Dancing on the Ceiling.”
A Google search revealed a house in Orlando, Florida, made to look like a mansion uprooted by a tornado. Other than those, he said, he hadn’t seen anything like this before.
“It’s only come to light in the last four or five years,” Baker said. “Everybody has a camera. You just invert that on your phone. That is the nature of the experience.”
Baker designed the room at 111 Broadway himself, and called on friends to help install props.
Images include the Prom, a sidewalk, the “inverted saloon” and a vintage kitchen.
Baker plans on changing it up this winter and adding a mural. Decor will be changed at Halloween and Christmastime to reflect holiday themes. He hopes to make it a family-friendly destination suitable for birthday parties, receptions and reunions. Next door, the Pacific Pearl Coffee Co. sells T-shirts reading “The Inverted Experience” and “Inverted Lives Matter.”