Standing inside the Palmer Ballroom, one of several iconic Twin Peaks locations that were lovingly recreated as part of a one-night-only immersive event heralding the return of David Lynch and Mark Frost's cult show to television, I found myself deeply concerned about the Log Lady. She was in character throughout the evening, barely acknowledging the crowds as people asked to take her photo or pose with her. She even remained perfectly in character as she performed a burlesque dance with her beloved log, which started out, like so many burlesque dances, innocent and kitschy, only to suddenly incorporate enough log licking and gyrating to have me deeply concerned about splinters.
That was the scene as BBQ Films took over the Brooklyn Bazaar last night for Showtime Presents: A TRIBUTE TO TWIN PEAKS. On the first floor, cherry pie and coffee were served at the recreated Double R Diner by the burlesque performers playing Shelly Johnson and Norma Jennings (fans got to take home their coffee cups); Showtime was giving out other pieces of swag (Log Lady tote bags, Twin Peaks sheriff hats), encouraging people to sign up for their app (lest you forgot this was a promotional event), and serving drinks in the aforementioned Palmer Ballroom.
Downstairs, fans could take photos, grab pillows, or enter secret rooms to perform karaoke at the Twin Peaks Lodge (with typically dreamy music selections, ranging from "I Only Have Eyes For You" to "In Dreams"). And upstairs, a live band played behind a mysterious curtain inside the Black Lodge, where fans in their best Dale Cooper and Tommy "Hawk" Hill costumes would end the night competing in their own Miss Twin Peaks Pageant. Throughout the event, members of The Pink Room Burlesque mingled with fans and put on the character-accurate burlesque performances they are known for.
The excitement over the chance to celebrate a beloved cult series that ended over 25 years ago, as well as the fevered anticipation of the imminent new season, was palpable. I've never talked to so many people about the fashion style of Dr. Lawrence Jacoby or the pros/cons of Fire Walk With Me. I learned that despite its reputation, real fans aren't quite so down on the low points of season two—storylines like Nadine Hurley's amnesia and super strength are just more fodder for cosplaying fun.
"We were first and foremost fans at BBQ. We try to do the things that we love because when you do what you love, that authenticity comes out into the job," said Gabriel Rhoads, the co-founder of BBQ Films. He saw this event as a perfect merging of "the beauty of New York and the beauty of fandom," and he couldn't wait to see what fans thought of their production: "I actually get the most excited about the energy that happens between the fans themselves. My own personal philosophy about why I like to do this is...when you get people in a room together, they're all celebrating a thing that they all care about. The collective social energy of that is electric."
Walking around talking to people, you quickly realized that the people putting on the event really were as big fans—if not bigger, in some cases—than the people who lined up around the block to get in. "This was for fans, by fans, and so I think we hopefully brought a lot of that passion to the event for people," said Leah Taylor, the Director of Branded Content and Strategy for co-sponsor Flavorpill. She was particularly enthused about working with the Pink Room Burlesque: "David Lynch is a fan. He's on record as a being a fan of theirs, so he wanted to incorporate them and work with them to tell the story," she said. "So the fact that we can get the waitresses from the Double R Diner to come out and do a burlesque set or Killer Bob to climb over sofas in the living room and do a boy-lesque set, that's been incredible, yeah."
"I think it's really great," said Anja Keister, a self-professed David Lynch superfan and burlesque performer in her own right (she does her own version of Lucy Moran, though she wasn't working the event last night). "The Black Lodge upstairs is really cool, it's super creepy, which is on point for this. The entertainment's great, the production value's wonderful." She thought the event captured the spirit of the show: "When I was standing in the [Palmer Ballroom] I felt like this was either Twin Peaks or the Overlook Hotel, both give the same kind of wonderful creepy vibe."
Considering the cone of mystery over the new season—besides a few opaque teasers and the cast list, absolutely nothing is known about the 18 episodes that Showtime will air over the next months, in startling contrast to the over-saturation of trailers most shows roll out—expectations are through the roof. There's a possibility things could come crashing down during Sunday night's premiere, though most fans at the event weren't too worried. As one person put it to me, "I put my faith in David Lynch and I think it'll be incredible. Wonderful and strange, all those things."
And for members of the Pink Room, the new season carries with it an even more important role. "You're about to get a new season," an especially enthusiastic emcee playing Officer Andy told the crowd at one point. "We're about to get new material."