Holed up in the attic of a Cabbagetown shanty, Reeves and co-host John Dirga discuss the origins of their oddly monikered cable-access program. Airing weekly for the past several months on People TV (cable Channel 24), the charming cut-and-paste show centers on live performances and interviews of local musicians. But the show's unlikely duo also manages to work in sundry other concepts.
"I thought it was really neat that, with the blue screen, we wouldn't have to go exotic locations," says Dirga. "We could just pretend we're there. And there was some sort of fascination I had with time-traveling furniture. I just had to bring my couch into the studio and get it in front of the blue screen."
Though the low-budget production may suggest otherwise, Wayne's World in space this ain't. Dirga and Reeves -- assisted by a sprinkling of volunteers -- are more interested in showcasing local music than becoming TV personalities. "Both of us were excited about the local scene," says Dirga of the early days. "We'd go see bands together all the time."
"Yeah, and I was shooting them with my video camera," says Reeves.
After learning about Atlanta's cable-access opportunities, the pair enrolled in an intro television class. "We took the workshop and then nothing happened for a while," says Dirga. "Meanwhile he kept shooting bands."
Reeves says she had to convince Dirga that he could make it happen -- "that I could get people involved and get bands."
Armed with naive enthusiasm and bottomless zeal, "The Brown Couch Show" went on the air this past September. For an hour each week, viewers are treated to performances by the likes of Kodac Harrison and Greasepaint, filmed on location at Java Monkey and the Star Bar. Other acts such as 3D5SPD and Girl Chris have come to the People TV studio to perform.
"Anyone can film bands around the city," says Dirga. "But the angle I have is that if I get them in the studio and we do these special effects on the blue screen. Then it's a show that you can't go out to see; you have to watch the TV show to catch that particular performance."
Adds Reeves, "It's a really cool experience when a band comes into the studio. I mean, Hubcap City -- when they came in, it was just intense. Bill Taft was improvising all over the place."
"Hubcap City put a lot into their episode, which helped out a lot," says Dirga, who handles most of the post-production editing. "We try to catch the flavor of the band for each episode."
That flavor promises to be even more acute starting in January. Dirga and Reeves are courting a laundry list of local hopefuls for next season -- acts such as pH Balance, Shannon Wright and Rock*A*Teens. They're also cutting the number of shows from 13 to seven in order to give each one more time and attention.
"This last season wiped us out," says Reeves.
Dirga agrees. "The first few weeks were hell," he says. "We always had that feeling that if we just had another couple of days, the show would be great."
As for the namesake piece of furniture, the duo reveals the meaning beneath its worn cushions.
"It's a metaphor for life," Dirga says.
"Yeah," says Reeves. "Just because it's ugly and smelly doesn't mean it's not beautiful."
For more information on "The Brown Couch Show," visit www.dirgart.com/browncouch.
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