IMAGES: Christine Taylor

We aren't gonna lie: The recession has been a major buzzkill for Portland's art scene, from shuttered galleries to ballerinas begging for handouts. But the tumult has also fostered a new sense of boldness as artists push forward on their projects, money be damned. From a theater company that welcomes the audience with beer and couches to operas that are more at home in the barroom than the ballroom and dance mavens inspired by Japanese contract killers, Portland's artists are finding inspiration in the oddest of places. We've highlighted some of the shows and works we're most excited about this fall in dance, theater, classical music, books and visual arts (we hope to come back this winter to do the same for the first half of 2010). And arts lovers, don't worry if you see only passing mention of PICA's Time-Based Art Festival in these pages. WW's big preview guide to all things T:BA hits newsstands Wednesday, Sept. 2. See you at the show.