Saturday, April 27, 2013

Friday Screening of "The Americans" in the No Ho Arts District

Last night I had the pleasure of getting to view an advanced screening of the season finale of "The Americans".


I usually don't watch the season finale of a television series if I have not actually watched the whole season. Unfortunately, I don't have cable and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was holding a free screening last night. One of the perks of being a member of SAG-AFTRA is the variety of free or low cost industry events. Most of these events are held at the main office in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles. However, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is in the NoHo Arts District and a few blocks from my apartment. How could I refuse? When my friend Theresa called with an extra ticket I said what the hell, let's do it!. I am not "Mr. Industry Networker" but I figured this would at least get me out and about on a Friday night.

Goldenson Theater
I arrived at 7pm, choosing to park on the street so I had time to stroll the NoHo Arts District which is finally after living here for years is slowly developing a cultural pulse. The courtyard of the Academy had a tasteful sculpture garden of celebrity busts. Hahha! Yes, by that I mean, the heads of famous television stars from Milton Berle to Bob Hope to Carol Burnett and many many more. I made my way through the crowd to find Theresa who was patiently waiting at the entrance of the Leonard H. Goldenson Theater. This was my first time there and it was beautiful. There is something magical about walking into a grand theater space. The curtains, the carpeting, the energy of the room all make you feel you are a part of something special and invite you to enjoy yourself  Okay... sorry, I digress, but what actor does not simply love a good theater?

The evening was sponsored by F/X Network (We were all asked not to give away any secrets so there will be no spoilers to ruin your viewing experience!)
I fell in love with the show. Set it the 80's, the series deals with Russian spies living in America as an everyday married couple with two kids as they do their thing during the COLD WAR. I was intrigued, partially because everything was new to me but the acting was stellar and the story lines were intelligently thought out. I actually plan to pick up the Season 1 dvd when it is available so I can catch up.

The best part of the evening was, surprisingly, the panel discussion with the creators and some of the cast. The leads of the cast are Mathew Rhys and Keri Russell. Keri was in Canada taping an upcoming "Planet of The Apes" movie but sent a clip to say hello and apologize for her absence. Matthew stole the night!  I was always a fan of Matthew Rhys from his days on the ABC series "Brothers and Sisters". This character he plays, in "The Americans" is compelling and his chemistry with Keri Russell is apparent. We soon discovered he is also amazingly funny. He had the audience in the palm of his hands with his Welsh charm and razor sharp wit. Another member of the cast, Margo Martindale, who plays Claudia on the series was not only funny in real life but riveting on screen. Margo is an amazing character actress who I fell in love with while watching her sweet and moving portrayal of  a lonely middle aged tourist in "Paris, Je T'Aime".

Panel discussions are often hit or miss. They could be thought-provoking or boring as hell. For a series that is so dramatic and serious in it's tone, the cast kept the audience in stitches for the entire panel discussion. You could not help but enjoy yourself.
I may need to check out a few more of these free screening events. The opportunity to ask questions of the creators on their creative vision and the actors on their process is valuable on its own, but to be able to view high quality film and television screenings for free in an industry setting can't be beat. It may also help me get over my issues with "networking" that I have on my list of business responsibilities I need to improve.  Sounds like a plan.

I am not exactly a social butterfly but I must admit, I had a great time last night. We capped things off with a late night dinner and a delicious chocolate at my neighborhood diner called Sittons. I went home happy and even found a new series worth checking out for both the entertainment value as well as a resource for studying good acting.

A full night and I still woke up in time for my 7 am run in Griffith Park. I couldn't ask for anything more!


  1. What a great evening you had! Not only did you get to do something super-cool us 'laymen' aren't privy to, you discovered a new series you like AND you had a great evening with a friend! Sounds like a perfect Friday. Oh, and close by - extra bonus!

    And, 24 hour diners RULE. Now living in a rural community from a larger city, I REALLY miss 5-10 minute access to a 3 am breakfast.

    I had no idea the who was set in the midst of the cold war. Makes sense. When i saw the previews a few months ago I asked myself why reinvent propaganda for an old enemy. Because of your review I may check it out, since I love espionage.

    1. Definitely a series worth checking out. I love espionage as well.

      Yes, there's nothing like a good 3 am breakfast spot to hang out and chat with friends!

  2. *** who** should be **show**. fingers got knotted ;)

  3. I LOVE The Americans! I've loved Keri since Felicity and it is awesome to see her in such a kick ass role. Glad you had fun!