Monday, March 4, 2013

"The Americans"

I found this great new tv show on my computer by visiting Hulu.   It is called The Americans.  If you have cable, you can catch it on FX on Wednesday night at 10, or 9 central time.  I fell in love with this show and watched all five episodes, which started in January of this year.  According to Wikipedia,
The Americans is an American television drama series created and produced by Joe Weisberg. Set during the Cold War period in the 1980s, The Americans is the story of Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two Soviet KGB officers posing as American citizens and a married couple.[1] The series premiered in the United States on January 30, 2013, on the FX network. The series has been renewed for a second season.[2]
Anyone who has ever talked to me for a few minutes will soon learn I often digress to 
something relating to the 1980s, which possibly hold some of my fondest memories.  Between work, school, a wonderful Victorian showcase home, a ton of friends, and a nice, albeit small craft room, I didn't have time to be political, watch TV, or keep up with current world events.  So it was especially nice to read up on what I had missed in the 80s.

While watching the shows on my computer, my thoughts turned to my 7 Continents altered book, which I have been working on since 2005 (possibly a world record for procrastination and AB UFOs).  So yesterday, I spent time rummaging through one of three large (and I mean LARGE) storage tubs of minutia I've been saving for this project.  Included in these tubs are magazine images, old world atlases, old geography books, several National Geographics from the late 1960s, travel brochures, and other ephemera I've gathered while waiting to complete this book.

I may never finish this AB, which actually fell apart when I dropped it down a flight of stairs, but I'm going to start working on it again with renewed interest, although this time I'm not going to limit myself to working on a single continent at a time, but rather using whatever is on hand at the time I find it.  It may not be the ideal way, and I may find images later that would have worked better with a given spread, but the other way just wasn't working.

So here is my interpretation of "The Americans."  My substrate is one of the original undecorated book pages to which I've added three holes since I intend to place these in a three-hole binder rather than try to repair the book.  This was a large book, a PDR or Physician's Desk Reference.  The size is at least 8 inches by 10 inches ((20.32 centimeters by 25.4 centimeters), and before it fell apart, was at least 10 inches thick (25.4 centimeters).  Anyone who has ever held one of these PDRs in their hands know how large and heavy it is.

The story revolves around two KGB officers who came out of Moscow.  It shows how they learned perfect English while living in the Soviet Union, met, accepted an arranged "marriage,"

and became sleeper spies in America, where they blended in perfectly, even having two children.  During one of the episodes, Phillip and his son Henry, attend a program at the local school for one of the US Astronauts who gave a speech.  It was during that time, Phillip considered defecting to the US, but soon changed his mind after learning a secret held by Elizabeth.

While doing a bit of research for this page, I learned that Ronald Reagan worked hard to get the gold standard reinstated, so I included these images when I found all these gold bars in a magazine ad from the 80s.  Other pieces I used in this collage were two book pages (the picture and map) from a geography book published in 1974, and stamp images from a stamp book printed in 2006.

According to various articles I read, Joe Weisberg, the creator and producer of this show, was a former CIA agent, so of course, there had to be a federal agent in the picture, this one named Stan, who works for the FBI's Counter Intelligence Bureau.  As it turned out, in the first episode, Stan and his family move in across the street from Phillip and Elizabeth.

This is part of a poster taken from the series. Even though these people might seem like your next door neighbors, this is NOT a family show, because there are often scenes of violence and sex.

Although it was impossible to copy the link to the enlarged poster, I did a screen capture and got this much of it  You can see the clock from Red Square in the first and second scans above, and note Reagan's importance as the deciding factor in what era in which to set the series.  Weisberg explained:
At first, the '70s appealed to me just because I loved the hair and the music. But can you think of a better time than the '80s with Ronald Reagan yelling about the evil empire?"

This was a start to my renewed interest in my 7 Continents altered book.  Of course, I didn't find this image of the poster until after I had finished and scanned the altered page.  You'll be seeing more pages for this book as time permits.  Thank you so much for taking time to read this, especially if you made it this far!

11 thoughtful remarks:

Anonymous said...

I saw that show when it was on tv. Your right it's not a family show but it's very good. Nice to see your latest project.

XX Rachel XX

Artfully imperfect said...

I grew up in Soviet Union during this era and have read your post with the interest. Thanks for sharing!

Shonna Bucaroff said...

I love The Americans!! I have been on my Facebook page trying to get all of my friends to watch it! I love what you did with the journal pages and I can't wait to see more!!

Divers and Sundry said...

i love the whole idea of the "altered book". it reminds me a bit of the scrapbooking my daughter is so fond of, but this is different. i am so enjoying reading all your projects. thx!

Halle said...

Interesting...I'll have to see if they have it on Netflix streaming.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Just goes to show that inspiration or rather motivation can come from many places. Sounds like an interesting show.

sandee said...

Interesting post Elizabeth! Great that you are reworking your book! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina ♥

see you there! said...

Not familiar with the series. I am familiar with a PDR though and that's quite an undertaking to alter. Funny enough my post today concerns the 80's as well. Not a bad decade but not my favorite either.

Looking forward to seeing more of your pages for this project.


Corrine at said...

Love those pages, takes me right back to my childhood and beyond....I haven't watched ti but now I will check it out. Three tubs of minutia you've been saving, oh well, I think you have a bit more goodies than me....xox

~*~Patty S said...

Some books linger a while don't they ... I think it's neat that you're taking interest in your book again.

We have been following the show on cable and it can get quite steamy and violent as you said ... it is pretty well written and acted ... I always admire period movies with the attention to detail (can you believe how big the glasses were back then !)

looking forward to seeing more of your 7 Continents altered book pages

Dianne said...

wow, terrific collages all...isn't it cool to get a new inspiration? and from a tv show of all things...have fun!