BB Video – $5 Cover: Craig Brewer's New MTV Series on Local Indie Music Life

(Download MP4, or watch on YouTube)

In today's Boing Boing Video (brought to you in part by, director Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow , Black Snake Moan ) talks to us about his latest project: the MTV online series $5 Cover, which chronicles the internet-age lives and dreams of struggling musicians in Memphis, Tennessee.

$5 Cover is described as "a rough-and-tumble show set in the clubs, bars, and all-night cafes of present-day Memphis," and follows "young musicians as they fight for love, inspiration, and money to pay the rent." These are real people, but this is not reality schlock.

When I first saw clips of the series in production during a visit to the MTV offices, I knew it was going to be great. I grew up an MTV teen, but am not generally a fan of MTV's present-day on-air programming. I've felt for some time like the network no longer produced stuff I'd find interesting.

But this is different. Maybe part of what allowed something this authentic and engaging to incubate at MTV is the fact that this is primarily an online series.

And then there's the fact that Brewer is at the helm. I'm a big fan of his big-screen work, and he clearly loves the stories at the heart of $5 Cover — the lives and art of musicians who are his own community, in Memphis.

Boing Boing asked Brewer how the internet is changing what it means to be an independent artist, and how technology is changing the nature of what "local music" means. He talks to us about why he created the show, how this is different than directing for film or television, and why all of this matters so much to him.

When MTV sent us a DVD of the completed episodes, Boing Boing Video's editor and I watched them all, back to back, and then vowed to buy some of the music online. I'm not kidding, it's that great. We went particularly nuts about Amy Lavere, an artist featured in the first part of the Boing Boing Video episode. She's from Memphis, by way of TX and Louisiana. Al Kapone was another personal fave.

More about $5 Cover: New episodes premiere Friday nights at midnight on MTV and at throughout May. There are mini-documentaries about what went on in each week's episode here, and Flipside Memphis gives you an even deeper dive into the Memphis culture. The entire video series, along with music videos and other related video, is available on iTunes for download to own. The soundtrack is available digitally through services including iTunes and Rhapsody, and I've been googling my way to the artists' websites and myspaces and discovering lots more on my own.

RSS feed for new episodes here, YouTube channel here, subscribe on iTunes here. Get Twitter updates every time there's a new ep by following @boingboingvideo, and here are blog post archives for Boing Boing Video. (Special thanks to Boing Boing's video hosting partner Episodic)

Sponsor shout-out: Boing Boing Video is brought to you in part by, in partnership with Intel and Asus. is a site where users come together to "share ideas, images and inspiration about the ideal PC." Participants' designs, feature ideas and community feedback will be evaluated by ASUS and "could influence the blueprint for an actual notebook PC built by ASUS with Intel inside."