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As they drove through rural Alberta to a wedding in Wainwright, Lindsay Stamhuis and Aidan Hailes couldn’t help seeing and feeling reflections of Twin Peaks.

It helped that the two mega-fans were playing the soundtrack of the 1990-91 television series as they drove through Irma, Viking and into Wainwright, and buzzing with anticipation of the third season, which was beginning the next evening.

“There’s a diner and a gas station and maybe a cash-and-carry,” said Stamhuis about how the TV show has made rural Western Canada seem more exotic and less mundane than before they had seen the show.

Twin Peaks was and is set in northeastern Washington state, “five miles south of the Canadian border, and twelve miles west of the state line,” but its evocation of small town realities feels true to much of the western Canadian and Alberta foothills small town reality.

“It’s a universal feeling,” said Stamhuis, who co-hosts the Bickering Peaks podcast along with fellow Edmontonian Hailes. 

The podcast explores the series to a great depth with more than 50 one-hour episodes going through the original two series and new ones coming out after each new season three episode is released.

“I think in any small town you’ll find those elements, (although) maybe not the supernatural portals to The Black Lodge.”

Twin Peaks has carried along a massive cult-like fan base for the 25 years since it was cancelled. At the time it was a revolutionary television series, the first to demonstrate that high quality, sophisticated and challenging drama could work on network television. 

Many credit Twin Peaks with giving birth to the “golden age of television,” which is still taking place.

While the show is officially set in the Rockies, many have noted that it doesn’t really feel that way. In many ways it feels like the foothills or boreal forest, and that probably reflects the origin of director David Lynch in Missoula, Montana, which is due south of Pincher Creek, Alta., and arguably more similar to Alberta than the Pacific Northwest or any other part of the United States.

“For a show called Twin Peaks, the mountains play a very small role,” said Hailes.

“Boreal forest. It’s closer to that,” said Stamhuis, who also said the show’s general mood of isolation and exposure inside a beautiful but menacing environment fits the western Canadian flatlands too.

“Anybody who’s driven down a highway through wheat fields (in summer) or grasslands in winter, there’s just an isolation or a loneliness,” said Stamhuis.

“Even though (in the show) it’s mountains and pine trees, there’s still a sense that this is a lonely landscape.”

The podcasters have found that evocative environment engaging, ever since they belatedly got sucked into Twin Peaks fandom in 2010. (Stamhuis was five years old when the series was first broadcast and sneakily watched while her parents thought she was sleeping, but was so disturbed by what she saw she didn’t re-engage for years.)

Both have farming pedigrees, with Hailes’ family having farmed and lived along Alberta’s Highway 14, and Stamhuis’ family farming for more than a century around Athabaska, Alta.

Like millions of others after the series first appeared, Twin Peaks has made small, remote towns seem like something more than places to zip by in a speeding car. 

And as the show’s rebirth after 25 years reignites public interest in ignored rural places, more cars may be slowing as they pass through these places, either north or south of the border, in forests and mountains or fields and plains.
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It's there when you enter the Red Room in "Twin Peaks." It's there when replicant-hunter Rick Deckard sits down at his piano in "Blade Runner." It's a lamp with a shade in the shape of Saturn, but it's also more than that. It's a glowing thread between the normalcy of my world, the shadowy, entwining secrets of "Twin Peaks" and the visionary future dystopia of "Blade Runner."

One prop unites two famous works, stretching across film and television and time. It may not be the exact same lamp, but it's definitely the same design.

My search for the art-deco Saturn lamp started with some googling, where I found the glass lamp is attributed to a maker that manufactured them for the 1939 World's Fair in New York City, though there are also some later reproductions floating around. Details on the lamp's origins are sketchy, but they came in various colors, included frosted clear, green and pink.

The lamps are rare and they can also be very expensive thanks to their notoriety within the "Twin Peaks" and "Blade Runner" fandoms, as well as with art deco and World's Fair memorabilia collectors. A recent listing for a replica lamp on eBay had a starting-bid price of $645 (£495 AU$830). That priced me right out of the market.

I resigned myself to never owning a Saturn lamp, instead focusing on other bits of "Twin Peaks" decor. And then in June, I stumbled on a Reddit post in the "Twin Peaks" group from a user named Richy_T, titled "The Lamp from another place." The post included a photo of a glowing Saturn lamp and a link to the Thingiverse 3D-printing files to make your own. My Saturn lamp quest reignited like our long-lost Agent Cooper's love for a damn fine cup of coffee.

The lamp's history, pop-culture connections and relatively simple shapes are what attracted Richy_T to the project. Richy_T used OpenSCAD software to build the shapes. "So it was mostly a case of trying to get the dimensions from a fairly low-resolution picture of it and then transforming that into the cylinders, spheres and toruses that the lamp deconstructs into. It's not especially challenging but it definitely helps to have developed a knack," Richy_T tells CNET.

I don't have a 3D printer and the original lamps are nearly a foot (30 centimeters) tall, which makes them too big for a lot of hobbyist-level printers. First, I checked with online 3D-printing service providers, but then turned my eye to local options where I found Jacob Ondra, CEO of Sandia3D in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ondra was happy to take on the strange request of printing off a Saturn-shaped lamp replica. He says the most challenging print he's ever done was a life-size human body model that required nearly 1,000 printing hours, so the lamp was pretty straightforward.

I went to pick up the lamp and Ondra handed it to me in a box containing the base and the two-part planet shade. I peered at it. "It's a lot smaller than I expected," I told him. And it was. I had mis-read the specs on the 3D plans. Unphased, Ondra said it was no problem to scale it up and reprint it to match the size of the originals. About a week later, I picked up the new lamp, the "Twin Peaks" theme playing in my head.

Sandia3D printed the final lamp with an Ultimaker 3 printer that could handle the size of the pieces. It's made from a crystal-clear plastic filament from FilamentOne that comes out with a frosted effect, which was exactly the look I wanted to mimic from the original glass lamps.

I ordered a set of small green LED string lights online. If you happen to have an electrician around the house (or enjoy soldering), then this next step is easy. I attached the bottom of the Saturn piece to the base, secured it with hose washers, threaded the string lights up into the sphere and let the electrician attach a new, longer cord onto the string-light controller. The top goes on with double-sided sticky tape and a little silver paint brings out the accents.

I fired up the lamp on a Sunday, shortly before a new episode of the 2017 return of "Twin Peaks" on Showtime. It glowed a bright green as familiar characters flitted across the screen.

Prop collecting and making is about connection. It's about having a piece of a fictional universe that brings you closer to that world. The Saturn lamp is a slice of "Twin Peaks" and "Blade Runner" made real. It's best when seen from the corner of your eye, where its frosted green glow hints at both a neon-soaked sci-fi future and an otherworldly place where spirits speak in backward riddles.
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I is for Influence:

During a decade that has seen high-quality shows like “Deadwood”, “The Sopranos” “The Wire”, “Six Feet Under”, “Mad Men”, and “Breaking Bad” dominate cable, and relatively complex and intelligent shows like “Lost” are allowed several-season runs on network TV, it’s easy to forget what an anomaly “Twin Peaks” was way back in 1990. A series co-created and often written and directed by a filmmaker as daring and artful as David Lynch was a major breakthrough in the medium that gave us “Full House” and “The Facts of Life”. The seismic influence of “Twin Peaks” struck immediately. Its critically and culturally vital first season had barely ended when CBS went to work on its own quirky North-Western fantasy. Joshua Brand and John Falsey’s “Northern Exposure” may have dropped the strong sinister undercurrent of “Twin Peaks”, but the series retained the dreamy atmosphere, supernatural elements, off-kilter humor, and little-town appeal. “Northern Exposure” owed such a deep debt to “Twin Peaks” that its creators were moved to acknowledge this via a weirdly tacked-on parody-sequence during the first-season episode, “Russian Flu".

“Northern Exposure” was just the first of the early-‘90s parade of “Peaks”-inspired series. There were “strange things happening in suburbia” exercises like “Picket Fences” and the kid-oriented “Eerie, Indiana”. There was the creepy, rural “American Gothic”, and there was “Wild Palms”, a self-consciously odd miniseries also created by a well-known cinematic auteur: Oliver Stone. Without question, the most successful of these series was “The X-Files”, which picked up on the “FBI Agents investigating weird phenomena” theme of “Twin Peaks”. The X-Files, themselves, are suspiciously similar to Major Briggs’s “Project Blue Book”. The show even starred “Peaks”-alumnus David Duchovny (minus the lipstick and high heels) and featured guest spots by other former TP residents, including Don Davis, Michael Anderson, Michael Horse, Frances Bay, Kenneth Welsh, and Richard Beymer. Still, “X-Files” creator Chris Carter, claimed he was not particularly influenced by “Twin Peaks”. More recent show-creators have been more forthcoming about the influence of “Twin Peaks” on their work. David Chase has often cited the use of dream sequences in “Twin Peaks” as a major inspiration for “The Sopranos”. The British sci-fi series “Torchwood” paid direct tribute to “Peaks” during the “Combat” episode, which featured a real estate agency called “Lynch/Frost”! Other recent shows that most certainly would not exist if it hadn’t been for “Twin Peaks” include sci-fi mystery “Lost”, soap opera-parody “Desperate Housewives” (costarring Kyle MacLachlan; Sheryl Lee was originally cast to play the dead woman who narrates the series, but was replaced by fellow "Peaks" alumnus Brenda Strong), and the upcoming “Happy Town”.
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After Twin Peaks snuffed it, a slew of programmes inspired by it (Wild Palms, Eerie Indiana et al) came and went, but its influence continues today. Shows set in mysterious towns, and series-long murder investigations, all owe David Lynch's drama a huge debt - and it has shaped much else besides television…

How Twin Peaks has influenced music

Sky Ferreira's "Night Time, My Time" is a quote from the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but self-confessed devotee Lana Del Rey channels Lynch even further: her fascination with faded glamour and doomed love, along with her Fifties aesthetic, makes her the living personification of the show.

How Twin Peaks has influenced fashion

Twin Peaks is catnip for fashion designers. Manish Arora described his AW16 collection as "Twin Peaks on Haribo". For AW14, Kenzo collaborated with Lynch, providing mountain prints on jackets to offset the director's sounds and sets. The AW15 collection went further, inspired by the show's character Audrey Horne - "sweet but a little bit f***** up".

How Twin Peaks has influenced games

The programme has proven rich pickings for game developers. Some take their cues from the show's ambience; others are less subtle. There's Alan Wake, set in the mountain town Bright Falls, for instance, while Deadly Premonition features an FBI agent on a murder case, spooky twins, and "The Pot Lady". Sound familiar?

How Twin Peaks has influenced cinema

Barely a junket goes by without some filmmaker paying homage to David Lynch. Some films, however, wear their reverence more heavily than others. Twin Peaks' hues, tones, moods and reality-blurring can be felt in the likes of Donnie Darko, Under The Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson, and Ryan Gosling's Lost River.
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The first episode of the new season of Twin Peaks airs tonight in the US; how many of you are binging the original series in preparation? I've just popped disc one into the DVD player and I'm rocking a cool owl necklace from Curiology (get 10% off your first order when you click that link) and a sweet Agent Cooper themed Diane pin from WeAreFinalGirls:

Read more... )

Be sure to share your Twin Peaks aesthetic and celebrate the return of one of Eerie's biggest influences!
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It happens every TV season now like clockwork: some cryptic new drama bills itself as being like Twin Peaks. This year, according to its writer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, it was Riverdale, The CW’s dark Archie reboot. Last year, it was FX comedy Atlanta, which creator Donald Glover touted as “Twin Peaks with rappers.” The list goes on: Wayward Pines, Bates Motel, The Killing, Stranger Things — all marketed, in varying ways, as being Twin Peak-y. The show was cancelled in 1991, but “like Twin Peaks” remains industry shorthand for “strange, boundary-pushing TV.”

Read more... )

But Twin Peaks’ greatest legacy? It gave TV permission to be weird. The standard narrative arc was eschewed for an auteur’s singular vision: one full of idiosyncratic character studies, a labyrinthine plot, and dialogue juxtaposing the humdrum with the haunting. Never before — and really, never since — had a TV show challenged this many people to such a WTF-worthy extent. Twin Peaks was more about steeping viewers in a Lynchian underworld than solving a murder. Of course, once it became clear closure wasn’t coming, audiences began losing patience. Nervous ABC execs insisted Laura’s murderer be revealed midway through the second season. By then, a disenchanted Lynch and Frost were focusing on other projects, only peripherally involved with Twin Peaks. The show was canned (with a chilling finale directed by Lynch). Soon after, however, other dramas would ape the “supernatural mystery” formula (see: Wild Palms, Eerie, Indiana, The X-Files). We’ve seen countless more shows since centred on uncanny, out-there visions, from Lost to The OA. All have either pilfered from Twin Peaks directly, or were encouraged by what it proved: that TV could be peculiar, ambitious, and radically unique. Well, to an extent — audiences still expect loose ends to be tied. (Stranger Things’ writers promised there’d be “justice for Barb” in Season 2 due to Internet rage over the matter.)

Which is why now, given a carte blanche to realize their vision, Lynch and Frost are about to reintroduce us to a world still unlike anything out there. Sure, we’ve got weird shows today, but they’ll never be this unhinged, this disturbing, this blasé about viewers’ desires. That all makes for damn fine TV. Drink it up.
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Many, if not most, of the reviews of the new season of Twin Peaks—David Lynch's surreal, small-town soap-slash-fantasy Americana noir that transformed television 25 years ago and that improbably returns this month to Showtime—will reference Riverdale, the CW show where Archie, the red-headed doofus from Archie Comics, is hot.

Yes, critical conversation will compare this auteur-driven, surreal, monumental television series to a teen drama where Cole Sprouse of The Suite Life fame plays Jughead as a brooding art boy whose dad is a gang member played by Skeet Ulrich. This fact might embarrass the more cinephilic people in the Twin Peaks audience: Riverdale is many things, but one thing it is not is an auteur show, and it definitely is not cinematic.
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When ABC started airing “Twin Peaks” in the spring of 1990, television was on the cusp of a slowly unfolding revolution. The proliferation of new cable outlets and the widespread use of VCRs to “time-shift” programs meant TV writers and producers could experiment with different ways of telling stories, knowing that even their freakiest ideas had the potential to find an audience. Over time, the striking imagery, curious tone and narrative playfulness of “Twin Peaks” — so radical when the show debuted — became more common across the dial.

In the decades since, networks and cable channels have continued producing shows directly or indirectly influenced by “Twin Peaks.” Many of those series ran longer than “Twin Peaks” itself, perhaps because they effectively isolated its more mainstream elements and put them at the center. Just by trying out so much that felt new and inspired, the show’s creators, Mark Frost and David Lynch, inadvertently spawned an array of TV subgenres that have been called “Twin Peaks”-esque. Like the following:

Everyone Is Eccentric

A little over a month after “Twin Peaks” aired its Season 1 finale, CBS did a soft summer launch of its new drama “Northern Exposure,” which also took place out in the sticks — Alaska, to be exact — in a community populated by eccentrics with complicated back stories. Though the show wasn’t as dark or kinky, the similarities were so unmistakable that “Northern Exposure” actually parodied the look and tone of “Twin Peaks” in one of its first-season episodes as a way of acknowledging the elephant in the room.

When both shows became hits, the “quaint hamlet as a reflection of America at its weirdest” became even more common as a premise, for shows like “Picket Fences,” “Eerie, Indiana” — even “Gilmore Girls.” None of those series took much from “Twin Peaks” beyond their similar settings (although “Eerie” had a supernatural component, too).


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Eerie Indiana

September 2017

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