'$5 Cover' universe opens this week

Ben Nichols and his band, Lucero, are among the stars of Craig Brewer's 15-episode MTV series, '$5 Cover,' which premieres  Thursday at the  Malco Paradiso.  Tommy Kha

Ben Nichols and his band, Lucero, are among the stars of Craig Brewer's 15-episode MTV series, "$5 Cover," which premieres Thursday at the Malco Paradiso. Tommy Kha

Craig Brewer's made-in-Memphis MTV series, "$5 Cover," a dramatic serial set in the studios, nightclubs and bedrooms frequented by Midtown musicians, debuts online and on cable television May 1.

Ben Nichols and his band, Lucero, are among the stars of Craig Brewer's 15-episode MTV series, '$5 Cover,' which premieres  Thursday at the  Malco Paradiso.  Tommy Kha

Ben Nichols and his band, Lucero, are among the stars of Craig Brewer's 15-episode MTV series, "$5 Cover," which premieres Thursday at the Malco Paradiso. Tommy Kha

But the "$5 Cover" universe opens for Mid-South visitors next week with three nights of public theatrical sneak preview screenings.

As already announced, Brewer's complete 15-episode -- or "webisode" -- "$5 Cover" series premieres Thursday at the Malco Paradiso, 584 S. Mendenhall. (Shown in sequence, the episodes essentially constitute a 90-minute feature, about half of which consists of musical performances by such artists as Harlan T. Bobo and the River City Tanlines.)

The two early shows -- at 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. -- are sold out. Some tickets remain for the 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. shows. Tickets can be bought in advance at indiememphis.com.

But the "$5 Cover" concept isn't restricted to Brewer's serial. Related projects debut Monday and Tuesday, prior to their May 1 unveiling online.

"Flipside Memphis" -- a collection of close to 20 mini-documentaries on people and subjects that make Memphis unique -- screens at 7 p.m. Monday at Malco's Studio on the Square, 2105 Court.

Created in partnership with the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau by Sarah Fleming and Christopher Reyes of Live From Memphis (with additional videography and editing by Brad Phelan and Eric Swartz), the documentaries cover such subjects as roller derby, the Cooper-Young Festival, cellist Jonathan Kirkscey and the dance style known as "jookin'."

"$5 Cover Amplified" -- 12 intimate documentaries about many of the musicians featured in the Brewer series -- screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Studio.

Created by photographer/ filmmaker Alan Spearman of The Commercial Appeal with editor Eileen Meyer and producers John Hubbell and Andria Lisle, the short films offer insights into the offstage lives of such performers as Amy LaVere, Valerie June, Al Kapone and Ben Nichols of Lucero.

Tickets to the "Flipside" and "Amplified" screenings are $5 each, and become available at the Studio box office at 3 p.m. the day of the screenings. All three nights of sneak previews are benefits for Indie Memphis.

© 2009 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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