For the past few years, Sacramento’s Alternative Arts Collective has been doing stage productions—some of which (including last year’s two–part production of Tony Kushner’s ambitious Angels in America) SN&R’s theater reviewers gave a whole lot of love and five-star reviews. Now, the self-described “arts hub” is creating some pretty compelling drama via a web series posted to YouTube.
The first episode of TAAC’s new 12-part series Midtown Blue debuted on YouTube and in front of a private audience of cast and crew on Tuesday, March 24. Written and directed by TAAC artistic director David Blue Garrison, the pilot episode of the series, “Bad Night,” introduces us to three Sacramento artists (Ben, Jack and Sam) who all are fired on the same day. Also, according to a press release, each character has personal problems—“Ben has panic attacks, Jack is an alcoholic, and Sam is clinically depressed”—which viewers can start to see signs of in the first episode.
The debut episode has some seriously beautiful cinematography, showing outdoor shots of the city and a few cool places in town such as North Sac’s Mama Kim Eats, midtown florist Bloem Decor and Roseville’s Shady Coffee & Tea. The leads—Kyle Burrow (Ben), Brian Bohlender (Jack) and Victoria Timoteo (Sam)—do a convincing job at conveying their characters’ emotions, and the pacing definitely makes you want to see what happens from one moment to the next. The episode features music from local rock group Humble Wolf, which seems to fit well with mood of the story so far.
Garrison told SN&R via email that the next episode will come out sometime in the next two to three weeks, and they’ll pick up pace after that. In addition to being released online, Garrison plans to hold episode screenings in different Sacramento locations for the rest of the series. The following 11 episodes should all be done in July, but have no determined release date—and the dozen episodes will be followed with a feature-length film in August to end the Midtown Blue story. Head to http://bit.ly/midtownblue to watch the series, and find out more at www.facebook.com/midtownbluefilm.
Here’s the first episode: