Recently-opened art house cinema Blue Sunshine (3660 St. Laurent Blvd., Montréal) screened both seasons of the legendary early ‘90s surrealist soap opera in a back-to-back marathon, from September 18 to 19. The cinema promised a special guest who had played a character on the show. Tickets sold out, a sign that the show's popularity has only intensified over the years.
Blue Sunshine served coffee and cherry pie, paying tribute to the meal famously preferred by the show's main character, Agent Dale Cooper. Cherry pie is delicious, but was the sweet cherry filling overpowered by the dark crust of weirdness and menace that lurk in the town of Twin Peaks? Does immersing yourself in David Lynch's world for that long damage your psyche and weaken your grip on reality? Local Twin Peaks enthusiast and marathon viewer Steven Balogh says no.
Matthew Brown: So it was both seasons of Twin Peaks, plus the movie?
Steven Balogh: Mm-mm. No movie.
MB: Why did they decide against the movie?
SB: Because it was already long enough. And it ended up going over time anyways. They timed it incorrectly. It was supposed to go from noon Saturday until 2:00 pm on Sunday, and it ended up ending at 5:00 pm. So that's like, twenty-nine hours.
MB: What percentage of the people do you think stayed for the whole time?
SB: Eight people stayed, and it was sold out, so there were forty people, and in the end eight stayed. Some might have left and come back, but when I left there was about that many people, there was still maybe ten. I stayed till 7:00 am.
MB: And where was that in the series?
SB: Laura Palmer's murderer was revealed at five-thirty in the morning and I stayed for two more episodes of the other stories, where it went downhill, where David Lynch wasn't even involved anymore.
MB: So how did it feel to watch that much Twin Peaks in a row?
SB: I don't know, it's ridiculous spending that much time watching a screen. There was free coffee and I actually haven't even been drinking coffee but I did then. I just really felt kind of jittery and fucked up.
MB: Did it start freaking you out?
SB: The show?
MB: Yeah, because if I watch a few Twin Peaks episodes in a row then I always start feeling like I'm kind of on drugs, and I feel like if I watched twelve hours I would really feel like I was on drugs.
SB: No, I wouldn't say so.
MB: It didn't get to you?
SB: No, I'd done a protracted marathon before with an ex-girlfriend . She had taped them all when she was a teenager and we had a lie-in one winter where every night we stayed in and watched Twin Peaks for five hours or so.
MB: So who was the special guest?
SB: Kimmy Roberston—she played Lucy, the receptionist at the sheriff's office that speaks in a funny voice and is really eccentric. I think Kier-La Janisse [Blue Sunshine programmer and co-founder] met her, because she's been involved in cinemas for a long time and she met her at some sort of convention. [Robertson] was really approachable, so Kier-La just emailed and invited her. Apparently the appearance fee was a plane ticket and fifty bucks per diem.
MB: Did she give a talk? What did she talk about?
SB: Yeah, she talked a little bit in the beginning, and not many people had questions. I think maybe a third of the audience hadn't seen Twin Peaks before. They'd just been hearing about it for years.
MB: Oh, that's good.
SB: She just gave little anecdotes about David Lynch, and then she came back around dinnertime, around five or six, and did a Q&A and told more stories.
MB: Were there any anecdotes that stand out?
SB: Just the fact that nobody who got roles in the show actually read from the script. They just went there and talked to David Lynch and Mark Frost, the other writer. They actually just interviewed them but there were no lines, no script reading.
MB: That seems kind of fitting. So by watching about twenty hours of Twin Peaks in a row, did it bring you a deeper understanding of Twin Peaks or some great revelations or anything like that?
MB: You're so blasé about it! I was actually nervous to go and do it, I thought it might be mentally damaging or something. Traumatic.
SB: No, no, I mean I've seen it enough, and when Twin Peaks came out I was at the end of high school. And it came at about exactly the perfect time in my life. I'd been through my early teens watching John Hughes movies and then all of a sudden that showed up just at the time I was ready for something a little bit weirder.
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