Friday, September 27, 2013

Web Series Weekend

I have a guilty secret. I'm not an avid web series watcher. In fact, in the last 4 years since we formed Pearl Girls Productions and made Season 1 of That's What She Said, I can't recall actually watching any web series, except for the occasional episode of Awkward Black Girl.

Now that we're in the throes of producing season 2 of TWSS,  and since it turns out that there are so many web series to choose from featuring stories of queer people of color, I decided it was high time to finally sat down and watched some. We had a web series watching party last Saturday. Funny how watching media can be such a fun social affair. I should probably watch some of the episodes over again because I missed some dialogue due to our commentary and laughter.

These web series all excite me because they feature a variety of people of color, a variety of gender expressions, and high production value.

LESlieVILLE Web Series

Ah, a web series that, like Orange Is The New Black, you can binge on because they've already released their entire first season. And yes, yes we did watch all of the episodes in one sitting. This Toronto-based web series has delicious tension, fun writing, and a love triangle (which might be more of a square). Keep an eye out for their future crowdfunding campaign for a second season!

This Is Kelsey

Really enjoying this NYC-based show about hilariously awkward, newly on-the-prowl Kelsey as her friends help her negotiate dating. It's currently on episode two and I look forward to seeing where this goes. I really like their smart production- the series takes place primarily in about four locations. From my experience, affordable (or free, as in the case of TWSS) locations are tricky to come by. Also, the very handsome actor who plays Tyrone was almost on the cast of TWSS season one.

Dyke Central

Oakland-based Dyke Central released one delicious pilot episode in 2012 and is gearing up to start production on three more episodes. It's so great to see a longer format (20 minute) independent queer web series with such a broad representation of people of color and gender expression.  Support their Indie Go Go campaign (ends October 4) and/or sign up to be an extra.

And now, I twiddle my thumbs, anxiously awaiting the release of future episodes.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Support Generosity // #keepTNfree

Tuesday Night Project's fundraising campaign, KeepTNFree, has been extended for another two weeks: 
Keep TN Free has been extended with a special challenge to folkds 35-and-under: To encourage you to donate (and get into the mindset of giving), any contribution you make will be effectively tripled by an elder community member! Your $15 can become $45! Just leave your age in the notes when you donate online! 
Last year, I wrote the following testimonial:
My involvement with TN as a performer, volunteer, co-stage manager, and co-producer 2008-2012 made an indelible mark on me. I would not have spent five years living, learning, loving, and growing in Los Angeles if I had never met the ever-expanding Tuesday Night Project family.

1st & 3rd Tuesday Night Cafe may seem to run like a well-oiled machine, but behind the scenes, the process is deeply human– there is a strong commitment to openness, trust, transparency, integrity, and self-care. While I worked with TNP, the organizations that populate the Asian American community in LA (and beyond) became more than institutions: they became faces, stories, friends. Tuesday Night Cafe is part of a collection of stories that begin long before the first show in 1999 and stretches out far beyond Aratani Courtyard. I feel blessed to have been a part of that story, and I hope that many more will get the same opportunity for years to come, whether as an audience member, volunteer, performer, or staff member.
If you love Los Angeles, if you love outdoor spaces, if you love community-building, if you love music, if you love poetry, if you love theatre, if you love spam musubi and Sapporo on a warm summer night, please donate.
Additionally, here are a few things I learned as a co-producer and stage manager with TNP 2009-2011:

1. How to properly tape cables. Always across, never parallel. 
2. The joy of Fugetsu-Do strawberry mochi with crunchy peanut butter filling. Until these, I was a creamy peanut butter fan. I've seen the light. Oh, how I yearn for these soft little pillows. 

3. There were spaces which I got to watch in their beginnings, in their growth, and in their blossoming: Break the Silence Open Mic in Long Beach. OUTspoken SessionsCommon Ground OC

4. Places that I got to know because of Tuesday Night Cafe, Tuesday Night on Tour, and the interconnectedness of people doing work in the Asian American community in and around LA: Aratani Courtyard. Señor Fish. Lost Souls Cafe (gone now). Remy's On Temple. A house in Gardena. GoGo Boba (also gone now). Oiwake. Monrovia Library. Scripps College. Renato's Coffee. Cafe Metropol. Cafe Dulce. Rascal's. Las Galas. Fugetsu-Do. East West Players. Visual Communications. Equal Action. There is so much love in Los Angeles, I am overwhelmed. 

5. What I witnessed most and try hard to carry with me: the spirit of generosity-- so much of it and all the more beautiful for how natural it seemed for so many people to give of themselves, to give their time, their attention, their sweat, their monetary support, their creativity, their art, their food, their laughter, their willingness to connect. It is that generosity that made me fall in love with Los Angeles. That generosity is necessary to survive in a city like Los Angeles.

I donated to Tuesday Night Project this year because I know how important it is to have spaces which help anchor people to one another, in real time, in shared space. TNC was and still is that kind of space for me, wherever I am in the world, and I hope that it will continue to be that for others. 

So many sweet memories. (From TNP's website. Info's from 2010-- they need donations to help update it!)