A Place Both Wonderful and Strange
We're not going to sit here and try to explain Twin Peaks for the three-quillionth time. Either you've seen it and you like David Lynch and we're already on the same page
There’s nothing wrong with wrapping yourself in garbage bags and pretending to be a murder victim from a TV show. In fact, it’s a lot of fun. Everyone should try it.
We’re not going to sit here and try to explain Twin Peaks for the three-quillionth time. Either you’ve seen it and you like David Lynch and we’re already on the same page about it being the high-water mark of broadcast entertainment/art, or you haven’t, in which case, oh how we envy your virgin eyes when you finally get around to watching it (which needs to be soon). If somehow you’ve caught a few episodes and didn’t enjoy them, please go read something else. Not kidding.
The Twin Peaks Festival began in 1993 as a small fan-organized event in North Bend, Washington, about two years after the television series ended and a year after Fire Walk with Me. It has evolved into an annual happening that attracts fans from all over the world. This was the first year to feature a panel and meet-and-greet with actors from the series, which was all we needed to convince ourselves that it was going to be more than a bunch of lonely people in bad costumes doing backward-talking-midget impressions and arguing about owls. So we bought tickets and made plans to be in North Bend during the first weekend of August.
Most of the exterior shots for the show were filmed in North Bend and neighboring Snoqualmie in the late 80s and early 90s, sites that still attract diehard fans year-round. This made it especially curious when we encountered numerous locals of all ages who had never heard of the show and didn’t understand why we were standing in the middle of the street taking pictures of what may or may not have been the location for that one scene in Fire Walk with Me where Laura Palmer is screaming about something and then finds a tiny pinecone.
The three-day festival cost $170 ($190 with the bus tour) to attend and this year attracted about 180 fans (the largest turnout since 2002, according to its organizers). We spent a good part of the weekend trying to figure out what the organizers spent that money on besides appearance fees (it certainly wasn’t security—a couple of our friends snuck into multiple portions of the event without hassle). In hindsight, it was a fair price for being given the opportunity to crap in the Roadhouse and hold hands with Sheryl Lee one last time.
What follows is a run-down of the 2011 Twin Peaks festival, written in a series of Yelp-style reviews (except we used the Log Lady’s logs as a rating system instead of stars).
SHERYL LEE (LAURA PALMER)
Although the celebrity cast did not choose me as the winner of the costume contest, I was later approached by a rather flamboyant festival organizer who said I had been “summoned by the queen” and that “the queen gets what the queen wants.” I did not know what this meant. Then we met and you gave me a five-minute-long handshake, laser-beam eye contact, and about ten minutes to explain how much wolves mean to me, through Aesop’s fables and the visual aids of my tattoos, which you asked someone to take pictures of to review later at home. You asked, “Do you know the one about the scorpions and the monks?” It was like my White Lodge.
RAY WISE (LELAND PALMER)
During the intense convo I was having with Sheryl Lee, you leaned in and commented on my dead-Maddy costume and then said, “Well, I murdered ya, so now I’ve got to hug ya,” in an extremely enthusiastic voice. You looked beyond the fact that I was basically naked, wearing only clear plastic and masking tape, and gave me a ten-second full-armed embrace, and I nearly had an attack. I would definitely return for that sort of service.
SHERILYN FENN (AUDREY HORNE)
You dyed your hair blond, which I’m not a fan of, but I guess you can’t go through life with dark hair, red lipstick, and plaid skirts forever. So no points were deducted for that. What I did take issue with was that you seemed to have consumed about 50 different pills before your fan Q&A session. I only understood one in every five words you said, but I did manage to partially decipher your anecdote about how David Lynch solves everything with cappuccinos, and that Lara Flynn Boyle is a “psycho.” I almost shaved off a few points for your son asking me if I was a boy or a girl at the picnic on the last day of the festival, but concluded that it wasn’t your fault.
SNOQUALMIE RIVER RV PARK
When we were organizing this trip, we decided that camping would be more appropriate than staying at a hotel. I emailed the organizers of the festival to ask for campground recommendations, and this RV park was their only suggestion. After two nights, it was clear that they were getting some sort of kickback, because this place is a turd village. It was my first time roughing it, so I wasn’t aware of how much it sucked until my friends remarked how unusual it was that the campsite consisted of a few mounds of dirt with a great view of the freeway. It was more of a teen-made BMX course than a place to roast marshmallows. Even better, one of my fellow campers was a blond Christian lady who was on the same bathroom schedule as me and would belt out “GOD IS SO GOOOOOOD” while showering.
You rule. While the campers on our other side were busy cough-vomiting into the fire pit and forcing some “Listen, no, listen, no, no, no, listen” advice onto one another at 2 AM, you guys passed around a lantern and gave us the thumbs-up every time we shotgunned a beer. And to the gay La Roux girl of the party: Your six-inch cigarettes are more intimidating than your hair. You’re perfect. Or bulletproof. Or something. Please date Kelly.
Rumor has it that after Twede’s was set ablaze in 2000, a man appeared on the roof while it was being refurbished and inexplicably started painting the building purple. He was confronted but ran away, only to appear a few weeks later to attempt his paint job once again. This time he was caught, claiming that God had told him to “put the Twin Peaks restaurant back together.”
LAST FRONTIER SALOON
To the owner of the saloon: You were a pretty good sport about my dead-Maddy costume, although you did remark that I was dressed as a “test-tube baby.” Thanks anyway for the drink. If you have a minute, let me know what the bumper sticker “Roll me in honey and feed me to the lesbians” means.
FALL CITY ROADHOUSE & INN
I would have never known that this was the site of the Roadhouse from Twin Peaks had it not been confirmed by a few locals. Apparently it had to be remodeled because the original structure was falling apart. I guess keeping the roof from caving in on paying customers is more important than blowing the minds of nerds. It was here that I tried to take my first poop of the trip, but I was only able to make a half deposit because I was in the handicapped stall and a fat lady was standing RIGHT outside the door like she was going to kick it down if I didn’t flush immediately. Hey, lady, being obese doesn’t give you dibs on the handicapped stall. I’m sure whatever you were impatiently waiting to unload was even more gruesome than two days of backed-up cherry pie and half-cooked campfire wieners, but wait your turn like everybody else.
The facade of this greasy spoon served as the exterior of the Double R Diner. Its interior seemed refurbished, probably because two guys burned it down in 2000 to cover up a burglary and it’s since been rebuilt. Our waitress, who has worked there for 17 years, confirmed that the fire did nothing to dissuade the tourists who still constantly pack the place. The food is expensive, but they offer 50 different kinds of hamburgers and it seemed to be the only place in town that was proud to be featured in the series; they even painted “Twin Peaks” on the outside wall next to a slice of cherry pie! It’s also the official place to get an official slice of official Twin Peaks cherry pie, which was officially fucking delicious.