A handful of people in this town have elevated beer-making to an art form, but never before have the brewers of Portland been asked to create, well, art beer. That's exactly what the Portland Art Museum and Portland State University's Art and Social Practice Program proposed earlier this year. PSU's Eric Steen challenged Zack Beckwith (New Old Lompoc), Ben Flerchinger (Lucky Labrador) and Chad Kennedy (Laurelwood) to choose an artwork from the museum's permanent collection and create a pint of suds inspired by what they see. They'll serve the results at Shine a Light, a giant nighttime party the museum is throwing this Saturday dedicated to new ways of connecting with art, from watching local musician Honey Owens of Valet serenade The Liberation of Peter by Gerard van Honthorst to taking oddball tours and dancing to E*Rock beats out in the sculpture garden. Each brewer reacted to the project in a wildly different way: Laurelwood's Kennedy crafted a historically accurate molasses- and honey-rich brew based on The Homesteaders, a rustic Works Progress Administration oil painting by Arthur Runquist of a group of men building a house. "In the painting, to the right of the man working, is a jug with a cork in it. And instantly it was like, 'Ah-ha! I can tie that in to what I do,'" says Kennedy. "The homesteaders remind me of our industry of small craft brewers." Beckwith took the mixed-media approach of Whiting Tennis' Bitter Lake Compound as inspiration for a "beer collage" that blends a variety of New Old Lompoc brews together, including a Belgian saison flavored with grapefruit rinds, black peppercorns and candied ginger. And Flerchinger? He's aiming for a brew with a creamy head that mimics the swirling texture of Jules Olitski's abstract piece Noble Regard. "The painting just jumped out at me," he says. "It looked just like a pint of poured nitro."
WEDNESDAY SEPT. 16
The Norwegian Björk can warble and wail with the best of 'em, and tonight she plays with Haley Bonar, whose songs are sweet and sentimental in just the right way.
Portland's biggest, best live music blowout kicks off with Will Sheff of Okkervil River at Berbati's. Venues all around Portland. Wednesday-Sunday, Sept. 16-20. Info and wristbands at musicfestnw.com.
THURSDAY SEPT. 17
counterbalances existential bleakness with touches like chandelier sculptures and oversize umbrellas bedecked in thrift-shop scarves, gloves and coats. It's an energizing triumph of a show.
FRIDAY SEPT. 18
Finally, a movie brings together Robin Williams and autoerotic asphyxiation! Actually, Bobcat Goldthwait's bleak comedy is very good. Maybe he's giving us what we didn't know we wanted.
SATURDAY SEPT. 19
Our homegrown Japanese percussion ensemble concludes its 15th season with a program celebrating Oregon's sesquicentennial.
[DISH] PORTLAND VEGFEST
All hail vegetables. The city unites in meat-free celebration. Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 235-7575. 10 am-8 pm. $5. $1 off coupon at portlandvegfest.org.
SUNDAY SEPT. 20
The former American Music Club leader hits the road with just a pianist, and his stark songs should be even more illuminating in the sparse setting.
[ARRR] PORTLAND PIRATE FEST
PDX's pirates attempt to break the Guinness record for most pirates in one location this Sunday at 2 pm. Cathedral Park, North Edison Street and Pittsburg Avenue, portlandpiratefestival.com. 10 am-10 pm Saturday, 10 am-6 pm Sunday, Sept. 19-20. $12 advance, $15 door. All ages.