Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Twin Peaks UK Festival 2015 - Weekend Review!

I find it difficult to put into words exactly why I am in love with Twin Peaks because for me Twin Peaks provides this certain unique feeling and atmosphere I've never found anywhere else. This year’s Twin Peaks UK Festival captured this beautifully, for it is proving just as difficult to convey in only words just how wonderful, strange and special the weekend turned out to be.

The glorious Genesis cinema in Whitechapel
For the first time the Twin Peaks UK Festival lasted two days and although I am now exhausted, I wish it could be even longer! The world seems very dull after having spent the weekend immersed in the dark and sublime world of David Lynch.

The Genesis cinema in Whitechapel was a spectacular venue for the event and the festival team went to great lengths to transform it into a Twin Peaks dream. When the doors opened on day one we piled into the foyer which was adorned with enormous black and white chevrons and red curtains. We had stepped straight into the black lodge. It was clear that the festival organizers had worked tirelessly to get the weekend ready for us. The wonderful Lindsey Bowden, festival producer and founder, stepped outside to greet VIPs as they arrived and despite having not slept at all, she was cheerful and bright eyed and just as excited as we were.

Superb artwork on sale in the gallery.
There was an amazing familial feeling as everyone is just so damn friendly, including the event staff who were welcoming and lovely to chat to. Some people went to great lengths with their costumes - last year's ceiling fan was equally as obscure having transformed into the door knob Josie was trapped in. However, I don't think she wished to be known as The Knob Lady, referring to her guise as an "opening device". Lovely Mario arrived on Saturday as Killer Bob, and on the Sunday in full beard and wig as Dr Jacoby before transforming in the evening into the Log Lady - this is serious dedication to cosplay. Our friends Fluffy and JJ steal the show each year and looked utterly brilliant as Pete Martell and Catherine in disguise as Tojamura. I came in full Laura Palmer prom princess attire on the Sunday and carted a picture frame around with me. I was thrilled to win some David Lynch coffee to take home for my efforts!

Pete and Tojamura!

Donna Hayward - my talented sister made this dress for herself.

VIPs were greeted and given Special Agent name badges and little chocolate bunny cup cakes. Our merchandise packs were bursting with goodies including a Double R Diner mug and awesome tee shirt. The entire venue looked spectacular – we sat and drank delicious David Lynch coffee in a bar which resembled the Roadhouse and there were doughnuts piled high everywhere! Instantly the Twin Peaks family feeling was apparent. People from all walks of life, and across Europe, had come together to attend the festival. The venue was buzzing with excitement as we took our seats in the cinema, waiting for the festivities to begin.

Of course, nobody could forget that the event was tinged with an immense sadness after the death of Catherine Coulson, our beloved log lady, had happened mere days before. A video message Catherine had recorded for last year's festival was played and seemed so haunting considering it was only one year old. Many of us brought logs adorned with messages for her and a book of condolences was passed round. This will be given to Catherine’s daughter and was a touching thing to do for someone we will all miss so much.

Logs laid down in memory of dear Catherine Coulson
Indeed death, sadness and darkness is a prominent theme in Twin Peaks and just as we must confront it in our own personal lives, Lynch and Frost force us to reflect on it head on throughout Twin Peaks. They take us to places we don't often dare to examine. Something which Lynchian Cabaret troupe The Double R Club also delight in, for one of the highlights of  the festival was their shocking and macabre re-enactment performance of the death of Laura Palmer.

Fabulous Rose Thorne in Glastonbury Grove
Benjamin Louche appears from within the train car.
See you in the sycamore trees...
Beware of BOB
An enormous train car was built from scratch outside the venue complete with Glastonbury Grove sycamore trees and pool of engine oil. Stepping outside and seeing it for the first time I audibly gasped at how truly spectacular the scene was. We were instantly transported into the middle of the forest. The disturbing and realistic performance was something I will never, ever forget. The amazing actors put everything they had into their delivery and Benjamin Louche set the scene in the most perfectly sinister way, transporting us all straight into Fire Walk With Me to become voyeurs of a horrible moment in Twin Peaks history. I was lucky enough to witness the last performance of the weekend with none other than Al Strobel, Sherilyn Fenn and Madchen Amick in attendance. This sensational experience moved me to tears.

The sensational Double R Club with Sherilyn Fenn and Madchen Amick
Of course the actors are who we are all desperate to meet – the signing sessions ran smoothly and they were all incredibly gracious and friendly. Al Strobel loves to chat with everyone and is utterly delightful to talk to. He told me he loves the Twin Peaks fans because they chat with him like he is a friend. Madchen and Sherilyn are very inspirational women. During the Q&A run by Time Out Magazine’s Tom Huddleston they discussed their experiences as women in the film industry, recent accomplishments (Sherilyn has written a children's book and Madchen a script), meditation and motherhood. They all teetered around the subject of the new series and were careful whenever questions verged in that direction but their enthusiasm for Twin Peaks, David Lynch, Mark Frost and the fans was evident. Mina Tobias and Julee Cruise were also present for the Q&A, both of whom had performed the evening before. Mina is the spitting image of her mother but has her own unique style and tremendous talent. It is clear that Madchen is bursting with pride and it was lovely to see them together. Witnessing Julee Cruise perform was a dream come true, she put on a great show despite not being well and it was enjoyed by all, many being overcome with emotion.

Julee Cruise

Mina Tobias
The VIP tickets seemed pricey at the time but were worth every penny and we were all extremely well looked after. There was a private VIP lounge to sit in full of squishy arm chairs and a charming  barman who served us David Lynch coffee and doughnuts all weekend. Agent Cooper’s tapes played on loop which was a strangely calming background noise and fabulous coffee vodka made by Rose Thorne of The Double R Club provided the perfect pick me up. Rose gleefully explained to attendees who seemed unsure whether vodka at 10.30am was a good idea or not, that it provides you with three of the main food groups, "cafffeine, sugar and alcohol"!

In between screenings of episodes, Blue Velvet, The Missing Pieces and Fire Walk With Me we were entertained in astounding fashion by The Double R Club. Highlights included a breathtaking vocal performance from Em Brulée, a sexy and sinister strip tease from Miss Miranda, hilarious songs by Laurence Owen and shocking fire breathing and sword swallowing from Heavy Metal Pete and Snake Fervor.

Heavy Metal Pete
This fabulous weekend ended with a hilarious game of 'Twingo', a quiz and a doughnut eating competition. Followed by much hugging and proclamations of not being able to wait until the following year. It was an incredible Twin Peaks event and we are all so grateful to the organizers who make it all possible for us. Sincerest thanks to Lindsey and her team, The Double R Club, Genesis Cinema and all of their staff for a brilliant festival. Until next year, see you in the trees...

Us with the dream girls Sherilyn and Madchen
Time for the prom Queen to get a taxi home...

Fell in love with this gorgeous print. I'll put it on my wall...
Big thanks to Emilie Declerk, Fluffy, Brigid and @sstealer for the photos! 

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