Craig Brewer's $5 Cover was the canary in the coal mine, and another MTV production, Savage County, followed. This weekend, a new Memphis-shot web-based film series premieres in the form of Headshop, a series that follows nine characters whose lives intersect around a local headshop where a new designer drug is being sold.
The series features a primarily local cast and crew and was filmed at locations such as the Tennessee Brewery, Mollie Fontaine's Lounge, and the Arcade Restaurant.
A free screening of the first two episodes tomorrow night at the Ridgeway Four. Reception at 6 p.m. followed by screening at 6:30 p.m. There will be a Q&A with the series' writer/director Giri Swamy afterward.
In an announcement posted on the front page of their popular web site, the pioneering arts community organization Live From Memphis announced last week that it will be ceasing operation. “The bottom line is that our site has far outgrown our resources to run it,” the announcement reads in part. “We had the passion, just not the financial support.”
Livefrommemphis.com launched in 2001, but the roots of the organization go back to the late 1990s when Christopher Reyes, an avid electronic music fan, saw a performance of bluegrass band the Mudflaps at Murphy’s in Midtown. “They did this acoustic fucking jam of the century, and I was like, ‘Oh My god! This is amazing!’ There was only 20 people in the room. It changed my perspective on music,” Reyes said.
One of Reyes’ earliest innovations was the Creative Directory, an online space where talented Memphians of all kinds could create profiles and post their credentials and resumes so people and business requiring their services could easily find them. In the days before MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn took social marketing mainstream, the directory proved to be a valuable asset to Memphis creatives.
Rolling Head Orchestra
Live Election Night Stream, 6-7 p.m.
After an unexpected 8-month hiatus, the Nothing To See Here podcast returns to the interwebs this week with a brand new home - the Shut Up And Listen network - and a dynamite first guest, actor/comedian (and Memphis native) Chris Parnell.
NTSH creator/host Kirk Rawlings spoke to the Flyer this week about re-launching the podcast and more.
Memphis Flyer: Tell me how the idea for doing this podcast started.
Rawlings: Two years ago I got heavily into podcasting as a listener. I had a new job sitting on my ass in a cubicle all day so I needed something to kill time after having gone thru all my music. They were pretty great on many levels. They helped kill the time, but they helped in a lot of other unexpected ways. It was refreshing to hear people be themselves instead of some stuffed version for radio, television, or print. So, I wanted to try it.
Memphis electronic-rock band Fast Planet made their live debut only a couple of months ago, but the video for the band's single “Lost” is already in the mix for a potential rotation spot on MTVu.
The video is among five “freshmen” spots competing in an online vote that's open now and closes on August 17th.
You can vote here.
The video was directed by local filmmaker Matt Weatherly and won the Audience Award at Live From Memphis' last Video Music Showcase this spring.
Here's the clip:
Pera landed a notable cult actress, Ann Magnuson, for his last film, the under-recognized Woman's Picture. And he's done it again for his next feature project, casting the terrific veteran character actress Grace Zibriskie for Only Child.
Zibriskie, now 70, might be best known for recurring roles in the television series Seinfeld, Big Love, and Twin Peaks (where she played murder victim Laura Palmer's mother), but she has also appeared in films ranging from Norma Rae (her debut) to indie classics from Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho) and Twin Peaks' David Lynch (Wild at Heart).
For Pera, Zibriskie will be playing the mother of Amy LaVere's wounded, mysterious Loretta, a character spun off from Woman's Picture. But Only Child isn't so much a sequel to Woman's Picture as a continuation of a series Pera has vowed to explore in both feature and short films.
To raise funds for the project, Pera set up a Kickstarter campaign where those offering donations can get items related to the film or the local arts scene. The campaign, already at its goal, concludes today with a live video podcast interview with Zabriskie and LaVere, at 6 p.m.
Here's a promotional video Pera shot for the project:
At a campaign event last night, with the right Rev. Al Green apparently in attendance, President Obama croons a little "Let's Stay Together."
Ladies and gentleman, the radical socialist Manchurian candidate bent on the destruction of all that is American, in action:
Venerable local arts/film/music organization Live From Memphis will celebrate its 11th birthday this Friday night (01/13) at 7 p.m. with an open-house party at company headquarters (1 S. Main).
Founder Christopher Reyes spoke to the Flyer this afternoon via telephone about the past, present, and future of LFM.
Flyer: What does it mean to you to be celebrating 11 years of Live From Memphis? Did you ever think you'd make it this far?
Reyes: Oh, no. I never thought we'd get to 10. Now I'm thinking about if we can make it to 20.
This week the website Live From Memphis unveiled the latest addition to its already robust arsenal of freely distributed online components promoting Memphis music, film and creative work, a weekly podcast titled "Nothing To See Here." Live From Memphis will celebrate the launch of the new podcast with a party this Thursday, August 25, 7 p.m. at the Lamplighter Lounge.
Hosted by local musician Kirk Rawlings (Organ Thief, The Oldest Profession) and musician/filmmaker Chris McCoy (Pisshorse, The New Intruders, the still in-the-works Antenna Club documentary), each installment of "Nothing To See Here" will feature a 30-minute conversation with a different local artist. The first episode withThe Hi-Tone Cafe owner/booker Jonathan Kiersky, can be heard here.
Rawlings and McCoy spoke with the Flyer this morning about what the new podcast is all about.
Flyer: What is the mission of "Nothing To See Here?"
Rawlings: There is no real mission in mind for this show beyond having as much fun as we can. It is not a means to an end or something we have grandiose dreams for, we just wanted to try it. The show is about bullshitting over drinks (sometimes many, many drinks) and getting to know someone. Memphis so often keeps each other at arm's length, and while it can be for good reason, we are bored with it.
The Onion's AV Club is doing an online travel series called Pop Pilgrims, in which a three-man crew is road-tripping to visit 36 pop culture landmarks around the country and shooting five-minute videos at each destination — one city a week for 12 weeks, three landmark locations in each city. Among the initial stops have been California locations that are featured in films such as Vertigo, The Graduate, and Reservoir Dogs. The crew's visit to Memphis is featured on the site this week. The three Memphis locations featured are:
The Arcade Restaurant, where they visited with Shangri-La Projects' Sherman Wilmott to talk about his experience as a production assistant on Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train:
Ardent Studios, where they talked to owner John Fry and studio manager Jody Stephens about the studio's history.
Sun Studio, where they took in the studio tour, including getting some input from Goner Records' owner Eric Friedl.
In a partnership with the Center City Commission, Live From Memphis today launched "Get Down," a series of short web-based films promoting downtown life and culture. The series, which will debut a new episode each Thursday for the next 10 weeks, is co-directed by Live From Memphis' Christopher Reyes and Sarah Fleming and co-hosted by local actors John Pickle and Brett Magdovitz in fictional guise.
The trailer for the series:
The first full episode, which features South Main bar/club the Rumba Room, sushi restaurant Blue Fin, and kite flying at Tom Lee Park, can be seen here.
This place right here is the best website on the Internet right now and for the next week-plus. In celebration of the impending 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon (you remember the one: Neil Armstrong, American flag, footprints, sound stage in California), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is recreating the event as if it were happening in realtime in our techno-geek age. Website, Twitter updates, photos, audio, and who knows what else will unspool 40 years to the moment after it really happened.
The launch is July 16th at 8:32 a.m. CST. Right now everything is in the prelaunch stage. Armstrong put boot to moon on July 20th.
Some Memphians may have been disappointed in the national impact Craig Brewer's made-for-MTV series $5 Cover: Memphis had, but apparently MTV was satisfied.
The network's new media division is going ahead with plans to turn Brewer's $5 Cover concept — semi-fictional short films set in real places and starring real musicians — into a new franchise, with $5 Cover: Seattle set to begin shooting sometime this summer.
W&H: What are you working on next?
LS: I'm shooting "$5 Cover Seattle", a music-based web series being produced by MTV. It was the brainchild of another independent filmmaker, Craig Brewer, whose original version, "$5 Cover Memphis", can be seen on MTV.com right now. I'm very excited about the project because it's a great fit for my creative style, plus I get to work intimately a bunch of sexy rockstars..pretty much a dream come true.
Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer has found some 10-year-old rehearsal footage he shot for the Memphis Confidential Burlesque Show at the Hi-Tone Cafe, and has posted on his BrewTube channel: