Open TV is a web series platform empowering queer, trans*and cis-women artists of color to produce and distribute indie series. I had heard about the show Brown Girls from some online blog and went to a screening of the pilot along with two other Open TV productions (Afternoon Snatch and Brujos). So last week I binged a bunch of their shows. Well really only three, but that feels like a bunch. But since they’re web series (not more than 8 five to ten minute episodes in a season) you don’t feel that guilty for steamrolling through them all. Except for the fact that now you’ve got to wait at least a year for another ~30 minutes of content. DAMN MAINSTREAM MEDIA WHY CAN’T YOU GIVE THESE MARGINALIZED CREATORS MONEY TO PRODUCE THEIR CONTENT!
Anyway, Brown Girls has been getting a lot of press and I can see why: it’s about two friends (who are brown girls) and their respective challenges in getting a foothold in life in their mid-twenties. From the website: “Leila is a South Asian-American writer just now owning her queerness. Patricia is a sex-positive Black- American musician who is struggling to commit to anything: job, art and relationships.” It’s very funny, in my opinion, and beautifully shot. Also the music is ON POINT (specifically check out the “Brown Girls Theme” by Jamila Woods). The only flaw for me was how the ending feels sort of abrupt. It felt like there should have at least been one more episode in this season. Leila feels like she has a proper seasonal ending, but Patricia’s arc seems to hang more precariously after the final episode.
Afternoon Snatch, is also hilarious and has some super awkward moments in addition to some really great teachable moments. All packed into six short episodes! From the website: “Annie, the humor editor at the local feminist rag— Snatch Magazine— is navigating her recent breakup with the help of her friends and coworkers at Snatch. She and her best friend Sky tumble from one cringe-worthy moment to the next, as Annie eventually crawls out of her self-indulgent spiral.” The actress who plays Annie does a wonderful job at being hilariously awkward and endearing.
Brujos isn’t out yet, so instead I watched You’re So Talented which came out a few years ago; has two seasons under its belt; and is starring, written, and directed (in the second season), by the director of Brown Girls: Sam Bailey. You’re So Talented follows “Bea, an out of work Chicago actor, as she navigates her twenties and its inevitable dramas.” I found this very entertaining to watch. I’m not going to say relatable, because while I consider myself an aspiring “artist/creator,” the situations Bea gets into are far from things I think I’d get into (smoking a joint in the bathroom of a strangers house in Glencoe at a funeral/memorial service. Not my kind of thing.). However, the general sense (“you’re so talented, you could do anything” but feeling like nothings happening for you and you don’t know what to do), I get that. The acting and cinematography are wonderful. The music is great. Really the whole production is awesome. You should check it out.
When I was visiting a friend who works at Facebook, I was amazed at how truly idyllic and utopian the campus seemed. I also mentioned how it seems creepy because of how idyllic and utopian it is. She recommended I read Dave Eggers’ The Circle, which I have begun reading. I also started reading it because a film adaptation is coming out and I prefer to read the books before I see the movies of adaptations (the only except to this is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because the first 100 pages are SO BORING I couldn’t get through without knowing things got good later [and boy do they get good later]). The Circle is more engaging than the first 100 pages of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but it’s not as engaging as the last 100 pages of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (which is an absolute page-turner by the end). But I know things get good in The Circle so I’m hanging in there.