Bell Tower Brewing opens its doors for Rainbow Weekend with a lineup of brews and art

"The design is amazing, it's such a unique space," said Tricia Adams, the front of house manager and event coordinator. Asha Blake/ The Portager

Looking forward to its first Rainbow Weekend, Bell Tower Brewing Co. has rolled out a full slate of musical, visual art and comedy performers.

Behind the applause, though, Bell Tower is dead serious about ensuring a safe, inclusive space for employees and patrons alike. Brave Noise is a beer that resonates with a nationwide movement of the same name.

“The recipe was created and shared among breweries that are committed to rooting out particularly sexual violance but also discrimation in the beer industry, which has seen its fair share of issues in this area,” Bell Tower co-founder Bridget Tipton said.

To get the beer recipe, breweries had to submit their core value and policies that reflect zero tolerance for discrimination and harrassment in the workplace. Bell Tower took it one step further.

“We have zero tolerance when it comes to patrons. We would have absolutely no issue removing people who don’t follow our general policies, particularly if it’s toward an employee. We’ll protect our staff,” Tipton said.

See all the events taking place during Rainbow Weekend, Oct. 7 and 8.

Bell Tower donates a portion of Brave Beer proceeds to Townhall II’s rape crisis center.

Bell Tower’s involvement in Rainbow Weekend allows the brewery to showcase its core values.

“We employ people who are part of the LGBTQ community,” Tipton said. “We will protect them. We want to celebrate them through art and music and comedy. It is very much a part of who we are as a company, what our policies are about, what our staff is like, and how we want to be viewed in the larger community of Kent.”

Textile art on display

Bell Tower will host the Rainbow Weekend Art Exhibit from noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Textile artist Laicee Blackwell is studying at KSU for a master’s degree in Sculpture and Expanded Media. Per her website, Blackwell’s work investigates queer history, theory and culture.

On display will be Post-Mortem Pride, Deceased Grandfather’s T-Shirts. The piece is not for sale.

Stephen Tornero is a textile artist and Weaver from Canton. After learning how to weave at Kent State, he started to create pieces based on photographs he takes of the interactions between electric and natural light.

“The pieces are meant to be a bridge between traditional string and weaving methods of the past combined with the technology of the future to create new colors and new structures,” he said.

Tornero will have three pieces on display: Laser Wash 1, Laser Wash 2, and G.L.O.W. Each one is for sale for $1,200.

Blackwell and Tornero are connected with the LGBTQ community, but the pieces themselves may not center around LGBTQ themes, Tipton said, adding that Bell Tower is excited to be able to accommodate large pieces other galleries may not be able to handle.

Not just beer, there’s a flower bar too

Besides being a Bell Tower founder, Tipton also created her own business: Bellflower, which allows her passion for flowers.

Imagine a flower buffet. Or more accurately, a bar laid out with any number of colorful flowers just waiting to be shaped into a bouquet. Customers can either create their own arrangements or ask Tipton to do it for them. Anything from a single flower to an ornate arrangement can be the result, she said.

“I imagine a lot of people will be coming out with their partners,” Tipton said. “Flowers are often gifted to one another in romantic relationships or friendships, so that’s the direction with the flower bar. It’s fun and festive. There’s nothing more celebratory than flowers.”

Rainbow Flower Bar by Bellfower will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. The cost will be from $3 for a single stem to $35 or $40, depending on the size of the bouquet, she said.

Saturday afternoon folk, evening comedy

Morgan Mecaskey is a folky singer-songwriter who lives in Cleveland. Per her website, Mecaskey’s earnest lyrics delve into metaphysical questions while vivid soundscapes, whimsical motifs, and fat beats build bold and beguiling music.

Special guest will be musician Jess Miller. Mecaskey and Miller will perform from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

They’ll be followed by Moop Troop, a four-piece improv comedy group that is no stranger to Bell Tower.

“It’s not stand up and it’s not fully scripted,” Tipton explained. “They do something in between where they do some prepared sketches, and they play some improv games similar to ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ or ‘Saturday Night Live.’ They will yell out a random word, and the sketch is built from audience participation.”

Moop Troop will perform from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.

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