There are two things Portlanders can't get enough of: yammering on about how great Portland is and quirky art projects. So it was perhaps inevitable that the Art Institute of Portland(AI) and the Mercury would join forces to put on "My Pretty Portland," a short film and animation contest. Together with AI, we've asked Portland's undiscovered Gus Van Sants to submit two-minute-long films on the subject of Portland. As Emily Wyant of the Art Institute puts it, the idea is "to show how cool and creative Portland is, and celebrate the school's decade in design."

I've had the pleasure of watching a few entries. Bad Art is a cheeky yet informative tour of all the ugly-ass public art around town, while American Makeover—in which the crafty filmmaker paints and sticks things onto Portland—also caught my attention. (Then again, I'm not sure my opinion should be trusted here, seeing as I am biased toward anything involving googly eyes.) Another entry, Constant, takes a more serious approach, stating, "The only constant is change." (Sounds like a nice slogan for gentrification.)

The Art Institute will screen the 10 best films on the street at their Rock the Block party on Saturday, August 30, which they're throwing in celebration of their 10th anniversary. A panel of expert judges (who I imagine will wear black turtlenecks and berets and throw around words like "pomo" and "deconstructionist") will determine which films are the best, and the winner will receive $1,000. And even if your favorite film loses, the party should still be fun: There'll be snow cones(!), live music, interactive art, and probably some hors d'oeuvres you can snatch out of the hands of starving art students.

"My Pretty Portland" at the Rock the Block Party, Art Institute of Portland, 1122 NW Davis, Sat Aug 30, 5-8 pm, free, all ages