The Log Lady described the world as a magical smokescreen, but this evening you’ll have to go downstairs to enter Twin Peaks. The four-day Great Southern celebration of the television phenomenon that begins today includes live music, appearances by actors from the show and those who just can’t get enough of the oddities and puzzlements presented by the two-season program — perhaps dressed as their favorite characters. The full schedule, mostly of free events, is here.
There’s a happy hour from 4 to 9 p.m. at Portrait House in Carytown followed from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. by a series of performances and readings at Ipanema Cafe by presenters in the current issue of the Makeout Creek publication and “Music in the Air” DJ with Sister Goldenhaze and Greg Darden.
When Twin Peaks first aired — somehow on ABC commercial television — at first on Thursdays, I was, well, bringing nutritional discs to the city’s famished. That is, I was a pizza delivery driver. And one of several memorable aspects from that stint involved taking the cheesy sustenance to the Twin Peaks viewing parties.
Two things I remember about the show are David Duchovny, pre-Mulder, as a Drug Enforcement Agency officer in drag. And then there was that crazy drawer knob ending, of more anon.
I put the questions of why now and why here to co-convener, creative catalyst and Twin Peaks enthusiast Andrew Blossom.
“The Great Southern is a pun reflecting the show,” he explains, “The hotel in Twin Peaks is The Great Northern. One reason we were confident that it would work is because we live in Richmond, where there is so much enthusiasm for ideas and celebrating culture.”
As for the timing, the show’s pilot episode filmed in 1989, followed by the premiere broadcast on April 8, 1990. Blossom says, “But, if you’ll allow me to geek out a minute,” (and we’re talking Twin Peaks, so how could I not?), it turns out that David Lynch and Mark Frost created a European version as a fail-safe in case the show proved too weird for U.S. non-cable television.
“That version was longer, more cinematic, " Blossom says. "In that treatment, they introduced the Dancing Man, the Black Lodge, solved the murder of Laura Palmer and set up that Laura and FBI agent Dale Cooper would meet – even though she’s dead. In that European program, the title goes up, '25 Years Later.' "
In the show’s final aired episode, Laura Palmer says (backwards), “I’ll see you in 25 years.”
A long-established Twin Peaks convention in North Bend, Washington, drew Blossom and his girlfriend, April, this past summer to mark the 25th anniversary of the show’s filming. They had a wonderful time being among those who knew the show and spoke its language — forward and backward, so to speak — and observed cosplayers in their element, though interestingly, “There was only one Agent Cooper and one Bob. And there were a number of Log Ladies and Dancing Men.”
Flash to now: the Makeout Creek literary magazine Blossom edits has its April 2015 issue devoted to a Twin Peaks theme. Ana Wittel figured that if Blossom was putting the show front and center there, the Movie Club should show the pilot, and have a costume contest, and as these ideas tend to do, one thing led to another.
“What we got was a festival,” Blossom says.
What also dovetailed was an April 17, 6 p.m., appearance by writer Brad Dukes at Chop Suey Books. Dukes will read from his Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks with a Twin Peaks-inspired art show in the upstairs gallery. Also along for the evening is Charlotte Stewart, who played Betty Briggs on the program.
The Great Southern organizers wanted the festival to be as much about Richmond as Twin Peaks and sought out businesses and individuals that might cooperate. “And not one of them said, ‘No.’ ” Consequently, there are big and small Twin Peaks-related happenings occurring at various venues.
Sunday, though, at the Hardywood Park brewery, it’ll be Twin Peaks central in an “Afternoon Both Wonderful And Strange.”
Another special guest will be here, Kimmy Robertson – who was Lucy Moran in Twin Peaks and is one of those faces and voices you know even if you don’t know her name.
Among the performances going on there will be a special supergroup of Richmond musicians gathered as Floating/Falling for a Julee Cruise tribute set — that’s Cruise's eerie voice in the show’s incidental music.. The group comprises members of Big No, VCR, MANZARA & Nate's Taco Truck.
But what I’m waiting for is a Twin Peaks opening sequence that’s actually of Richmond.
I had to ask Blossom about that final “Girl In the Drawer Knob” scene. And he laughed.
“The drawer knob … It’s so bizarre. Brad Dukes has a whole chapter devoted to how that came to be, and I”ve come to the conclusion that the people involved in the production don’t understand it, either. But we as fans have accepted the moment for what it is.”
And how about this recent news about David Lynch walking away from the Showtime network’s effort to relaunch the show? As I understood it, Lynch was miffed that Showtime wanted to shortchange the production values. It is, after all, a subscription cable system – who’s paying the bills?
“My personal feeling is that if he wants to treat the series as nine short films, made with quality, they should just relax. They’ll make their money. I hope they’ll work it out. Even if it doesn’t happen … just because Laura tells Dale she’ll see him 25 years later doesn’t mean we will.”
Since you can’t binge watch the show in the time available, here’s a quick reminder of its ins and outs and general strangeness. And, oh, by the way, at Dinamo, on Saturday from 11 a.m to 2 pm., there'll be (pizza) pie and damn fine coffee. And on Sunday, 7 to 10 p.m., a cherry pie sundae special will be on the menu at Bev's Homemade Ice Cream.