Tonight, you'll finally be able to get a load of Hustling, an original Web series conceived by, written by, directed by and starring Sebastian La Cause, a staple of Broadway Bares perhaps most famous for his titular turn on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hustling is about Ryan Crosby, a turning-40 hustler still turning tricks even though he's now more of a rentman than a rentboy. He's sick of that life—and also of his fading porn career—and is looking for something else he's really good at (hint: you'll be drooling watching him do it).
If you think the hooker premise is well-worn (said the writer of the novel Boy Culture), I can assure you the execution is very fresh. I attended a private screening of several episodes on Monday in TriBeCa and was thoroughly impressed that La Cause—a first-timer behind the camera—had come up not only with an interesting and likable character but with a witty script filled with unexpected humor and situations.
The series also looks good (important when you're filming your own gorgeous physique); it has an edgy but unpretentious style to it. My only criticism would be that the sound mixing is definitely problematic in some spots. But considering the episodes were churned out on passion and empty pockets, they are quite an achievement.
One person was overheard afterward saying, "I care about these characters...I care what happens next," and that's high praise for a Web series. So often they're worth only one click and then are abandoned in favor of Expedia, Towleroad, pornography or Facebook.
La Cause isn't the only person deserving praise—he credits his associate producer (there was only a crew of three, y'all!) Andreas Anastasis's voice being "very much a part of the overall look," and points out that Anastasis directed Hustling's undeniably sexy, atmospheric teaser. (Which I love, but which is not an accurate depiction of the humorous tone of the episodes.)
I think along with having above-average writing featuring many laugh-out-loud moments, La Cause's project benefits greatly from an outstanding cast. Upcoming episodes feature Broadway star Brent Barrett and CSI's Gerald McCulloch while installments La Cause screened Monday had Boy Culture favorite Andrew Glaszek as Ryan's smokin'-hot pot buddy, Greg Gunter turning a potentially lame fat-guy scene on its head as Ryan's "biggest" fan, a wonderfully earthy turn by Daphne Rubin-Vega as a high-and-dry landlady, the always hysterical Stephen Guarino doing a somnambulant agent not so subtly pushing Ryan toward daddy porn and a stand-out appearance by Gary Cowling as a fussy headhunter. I'll leave some of this to the imagination, but suffice it to say that Jessica Press's bombshell makeup artist doesn't go to waste just because Ryan's clients tend to have penises. Everyone in it seems to have something to contribute.
The screening itself was a blast! I attended with my buddy Jason. We got there early and were checked in by none other than Broadway's Dave August (pictured), who I'm sure everyone was checking out. I snagged La Cause for an interview (see video above) and took some B-roll as well. Amazingly, Monday was the birthday of both Glaszek and Guarino and yet they showed up and submitted to my questions, including asking them (in the same video) how much they'd charge to sell their bodies. If the going rate is $300 (as Ryan agrees to in one episode), either of them would be a steal.
After some drinking and La Cause's heartfelt introduction, everyone watched and gave the films a terrific reaction. I'm sure more than one person there was surprised that someone they know could pull something like this out of his ass and have it come out smelling like a rose!
Be sure to check out Hustling tonight at 7PM EST at blip.tv.