Every goosebump on my arms rose up when burlesque performer Francine, “The Lucid Dream,” her eyes as vacant and terrifying as Laura Palmer’s in the Black Lodge, opened her mouth … and The Man from Another Place came out. Not the dwarf’s physical form, horrifying as that would be, but something even worse: his purely evil spirit, in the form of his voice incanting, “Fire walk with me. Fire walk with me.”
This chilling conclusion to the event, “Showtime Presents: A Tribute to Twin Peaks,” was the culmination of an immersive exploration into the Twin Peaks world, complete with cherry pie, damn fine coffee and burlesque performances from Twin Peaks’ favorite characters.
The event, organized by Showtime, BBQ Films, Flavorpill and The Pink Room: David Lynch Burlesque, was cloaked in mystery, but ardent fans waited for hours outside, gussied up as minor characters, from the Log Lady to Hawk, excitedly discussing the upcoming season and what awaited them inside.
Upon entrance to the venue, the Brooklyn Bazaar (an already dark and mysterious spot), we wandered into the “RR Cafe,” a mock-up of the RR Diner, where lovely Norma was busy pouring coffee for her regulars.
We sipped coffee out of RR mugs, ate slices of delicious cherry pie that paired very well with the strong coffee, and chatted with Norma.
But before long, a mad desire had possessed Norma (performed by Boo Boo Darlin) to rip off her diner waitress uniform and smear those very ingredients across her body in a burlesque performance that made us entirely reconsider the food of Twin Peaks. The look of shock on Norma’s face when she poured coffee on herself was a moment of comedy that sparked waves of laughter in the audience.
A tempting Audrey Horne, played by Bunny Buxom, tied a cherry stem in her mouth and showed us what was underneath her teasing schoolgirl-esque kilt. Next, a hilarious Nadine, played by Francine, “The Lucid Dream,” twirled a high school baton and showered the audience with cottonballs.
Our friendly host for the evening, The Pink Room’s Schaffer the Darklord, regaled us as Andy, reminding us that it was Andy who always saved the day in Twin Peaks (truth!).
We wandered into a labyrinthine space downstairs to watch fans snap greenscreen photos and croon “Blue Velvet,” along with a host of other Twin Peaks-appropriate songs. Heading back upstairs into a lounge patterned after the Palmers’ living room, we found vintage sofa chairs, a television set, and a framed photo of Laura, eerily laid out as if Sarah and Leland had just been there (was Leland just here tightening his tie in the mirror?).
And then our worst nightmare came true. Leland’s Killer Bob came to life.
Burlesque performer Matt Knife, nearly unrecognizable in his scraggly wig and plaid shirt, caressed a frame of Laura Palmer. Leland, played by Schaffer the Darklord, joined him onstage to form a scream-inducing mirror image. As both men tightened their ties, reminiscent of the moment Leland looks in the mirror and sees Bob, chills ran up and down my spine. I was petrified by the belief, for a moment, that Leland-Bob was really in the room, and I was tempted to dash toward the brightly-lit exit.
The appearance of a feisty Log Lady, played by Amelia Bareparts, saved the day — by showing us what her log really wanted to say. We always knew Margaret Lanterman had a secretly sexy side beneath those sweaters and glasses.
Upstairs in the Black Lodge, Twin Peaks-themed libations were in order, modern inventions that 1990 would’ve never seen, but that made the evening a special food event — and we know how much Lynch loves his food. Sipping on slushies like the “Killer Cherry Pie” (a frozen Milagros cherry margarita), uppers like the “Damn Good Coffee” (Oslo coldbrew with spiced rum, cola and cream), and humorous send-ups like the “Black Yukon Sucker Punch” (a whiskey, honey, blueberry and lemon seltzer), we thought perhaps Dale (and Lynch) would approve of our retro, not-too-fussy libations.
Our bright cherry margaritas were soon matched by brightly-bewigged Lil, played charmingly and quirkily by performer Seedy Edie. She was one of the strangest people the town of Twin Peaks has seen, and that’s saying something. Each one of her actions was a message, with tailoring referencing the drug trade, natch.
And then we were given more evil, to our voyeuristic delight. Josie, embodied by the devilishly gorgeous Minx Arcana, sauntered onstage clad in a sumptuous fur coat. My favorite villain counted her flush stacks of money, inhaled a cigarette, and treacherously drew a gun on us.
Schaffer took the stage again, this time as nearly-deaf Agent Gordon Cole (played on the show, of course, by Lynch himself). He broke into a creative, rapid-fire rap about the world of Twin Peaks that left some fans looking amazed, but others in the know were cheering his name. “There is a little man, and he’s scarily dancing,” Schaffer rapped. “But he doesn’t scare Harry Dean Stanton.”
Then the Miss Twin Peaks pageant ensued, with impressive impersonations from audience members of Dr. Jacoby, Hawk, the Log Lady, Shelly, Leo, and Audrey. I predicted that the Hawk impersonator would win, possessed as he was of an essential Hawkiness, with his long hair and graceful strut. The audience decided via the time-honored method of cheering loudest, and he graciously donned a tiara and a sash, becoming the first male Miss Twin Peaks ever.
The idea of bringing Twin Peaks to life as an immersive experience must have been daunting to say the least, especially so far from its genesis, in a Brooklyndia entirely devoid of loggers and Douglas firs. But thanks to careful production, beautiful lighting, eerie set props, and incredible actors, the evening was a wonderful opportunity to worldbuild upon the existing Twin Peaks fantasy. The performers of The Pink Room: David Lynch Burlesque, have been bringing the eerie, beloved town to New York stages for over six years, and know that fans are half the story.
“I love doing these shows and having a creative outlet that is inspired by Lynch, but my favorite part of The Pink Room is the cast I get to play with and the amazing fans,” The Pink Room founder Francine, “The Lucid Dream,” told me. “I feel we’ve had a small part in helping build the Twin Peaks community and some of our fans, I feel honored to say, have become my friends.”
The fan community is what keeps Twin Peaks so strong, and this event brought the fanbase out in full force. A show that was disregarded after two seasons might have died if it weren’t for the fans, who saw its incredible value. So here’s to the fans of Twin Peaks, for bringing this spiritual, bizarre, frightening and delightful world back into our dreams and nightmares. See you all Sunday — make sure you make some donuts, mix up a “Killer Cherry Pie” or “Damn Good Coffee” cocktail for the adults, and have your Julee Cruise cued for the afterparty.
And PS: Don’t send the kids to sleep — they’re future Twin Peaks fans in the making. If loads of Gen X’ers made it through the original series in the nineties relatively unscathed (or even became filmmakers or artists, or gleaned spiritual lessons from the show), your kids will probably survive the vivid imagery.
Dakota Kim isPaste’s Food Editor. Tweet her @dakotakim1.