“I’m not a rock star,” Don Van Vliet (a/k/a Captain Beefheart) once corrected a journalist. “I’m a soft person. I’m not a rock.” Undeniably a true American original, modern-music innovator Van Vliet’s brash, bluesy avant-rock has influenced everyone from David Byrne to the White Stripes. Celebrate his contributions tonight at Beefheart Night at the Knit, which kicks off with a screening of rare Beefheart film clips and documentaries, followed by a reading of Van Vliet’s poems and some reminiscing, with Kurt Loder, Lee Ranaldo, Alan Vega, Roswell Rudd, Danny Fields, and Hal Willner, among others. While Van Vliet himself, who is busy these days with his career as a painter, isn’t expected to appear, fans will be treated to the next best thing—the long-awaited return of the acclaimed Beefheart instrumental cover band Fast ’n’ Bulbous, featuring ex–Magic Band member and guitar virtuoso Gary Lucas, known as one of the best interpreters of the captain’s surreal compositions.

Wed., April 9, 8 p.m., 2008