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From Crosscut: MTV’s $5 Cover gives Seattle’s music scene its closeup

I wrote the below review for Crosscut. Expect to read more about MTV’s $5 Cover: Seattle when the series airs online in June.

Seattle’s music scene got its closeup Monday night (March 2) at SIFF Cinema during the world premiere of local director Lynn Shelton’s MTV’s “$5 Cover: Seattle.”

So how does the local music community look on the big screen? Like real people, not film characters.

The last time Seattle’s music scene was captured well on film was in “Singles,” Cameron Crowe’s 1992 tribute to the glory days of grunge. Shelton’s non-Hollywood production likely won’t get as much hype but it is far superior. The characters of her film aren’t really characters at all: They are genuine people playing their real-life roles on film. This should bode well for “$5 Cover: Seattle” in this era where musical tastes steer toward authenticity over mass-produced pop stars, and MTV’s music content is relegated to the Internet, not the television.

Set to be released on the Internet in June, Shelton’s film is a glowing love letter to Seattle’s music scene. The 60-minute movie follows 13 bands through a weekend in Seattle, via 12 episodic and scripted vignettes. Given that MTV has long lost its credibility with musicians, this project could’ve been a disaster. Thankfully Shelton, with her affection for local musicians, made sure this was a genuine and accurate representation of Seattle’s music community.
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