Thursday, 9 June 2016

Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?


Keri Russell and Lois Smith in The Americans
Keri Russell and Lois Smith in The Americans "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?"
At first, I watched “The Americans” because of Keri Russell, my all-time favourite actress, whom I can watch over and over again in Felicity. Nevertheless the show had a flavour all its own and I was hooked from the start. I also found it exciting and amusing that the male lead is played by Matthew Rhys, a great British actor, whom I first saw in a Columbo episode. In fact, “Columbo Likes the Nightlife” from 2003 is the last Columbo episode ever, making Matthew the last Columbo villain ever.

Anyway, last night we saw the two episodes before the season finale and an elderly character in a previous episode was mentioned. I clearly remembered who this character was, and I even thought that maybe she was in the show in the current series. That’s how clear the story was in my mind. I checked my journal as I remembered recording how powerful that scene with her was and was surprised that it was from 2015.

I had to google the episode as I didn’t know the title or the name of the actress who played the elderly lady (just found out she was played by actress Lois Smith. I'm ashamed I don’t know her; she was also in East of Eden with James Dean!). I found this review which just shows I’m not the only one who thought how memorable that scene with her and Keri was. Whilst Ms. Smith’s portrayal left me in awe, the Keri fan girl in me also cried out that her acting should again be noticed! I looked up the episode on imdb and it’s called “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Below was what I originally wrote about the episode when I first saw it in March, 2015. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Apparently, I've become a bear. Photo taken last Sunday at Farnham Castle.
#denim culottes #stripe shirt #cherry blossom theas

#nautical steiff #keri russell's senior year bag in felicity

Gosh, that latest episode of “The Americans” we saw last night. When Elizabeth (Keri Russell) was talking to the older woman who picked the wrong time to come to their office at night to do bookkeeping and Elizabeth told her her real name and about her parents and that her mother is “in Russia.” Then the older woman asked, “you’re not going to let me leave?” Seeing my own mother only every few years in the last decade or so, I felt the pain and heartbreak of Elizabeth leaving Russia and not seeing her mother ever again, even now when the latter was very ill. That she was about to kill this elderly lady who was a witness to their KGB activity and that she was probably her mother’s age. Elizabeth was looking at her sideways, both were teary-eyed. Then the conversation whilst the older woman was taking her heart medication (which Elizabeth, without a word, just took out of their bottle and laid in front of the woman, to silently tell her that overdose was the way she’d go), and how at the very end, after the kind exchange they had in such a disturbing situation, she managed to tell Elizabeth her piece, that what she was doing was an evil thing. Both actresses were good and as for Keri, wow. I feel as though I’ve known her forever, from other films and shows of my youth and watching her on Felicity over and over again. Jennifer Garner once said she admired the quiet manner in Keri’s acting. Felicity always worked for me because Keri’s acting was always so calm and natural. Normally, you couldn’t see past a beautiful face but one would always see Keri’s talents That sideways look she gave Lois Smith’s character was so quiet and yet heartbreaking. It was an altogether different persona from the Felicity I knew. I truly admire this actress!

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Interview with Volcano Diamond Press

Manila-based Kapampangan writer and poet Xenia-Chloe Villanueva, curator of Volcano Diamond Press, sent me a request for an interview. The website features neat stuff from my home province so I was more than happy to oblige. I grab almost every opportunity for me and my family to experience anything cultural that comes our way but I must admit that the Philippine literary scene has been more vibrant than ever in recent years, possibly because of the internet, and I regret I didn’t get to experience this all those times that I lived there. If I could put it this way, it is very clear that no number of visits to James Joyce’s grave in Zurich would make up for the fact that I’m missing my family and friends; missing lots of fantastic books being launched in my home country, those festivals and the chance to meet those great people who share the same hopes and ideas. You could read the full interview here.


Catherine Batac Walder interview with Volcano Diamond Press
Screenshot of Volcano Diamond Press where my interview page appears - that's a photo of me (left), with apples in my skirt.


Please contact The Gaslight House if you'd like to use this article and image/s.
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