USC Twin Peaks Retrospective: March 10
“Is life like a game of chess? Are our present moves important for future success?” – the Log Lady suggests in her introduction to episode 2.11 (“Masked Ball”). And so it begins: the countdown to the showdown between Agent Cooper and his nemesis Windom Earle. Sunday marked the fifth day of the USC Twin Peaks Retrospective. Three more dates to go, including March 24, the April 14 series finale, and the May 5 screening of the prequel/sequel “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.” The March 24 screening will be shown in the Ray Stark Family Theatre instead of Norris Theatre due to a scheduling conflict. Both the April 14 and May 5 screenings will be held in Norris. And, for any and all interested, the reservations for April 14 are open on USC’s website. May 5 should be opening soon.
The March 10 USC Twin Peaks Retrospective screened the following episodes: episode 2.10 (“Dispute Between Brothers”), episode 2.11 (“Masked Ball”), episode 2.12 (“The Black Widow”), episode 2.13 (“Checkmate”), and episode 2.14 (“Double Play”). After the death of Leland Palmer and the solving of Laura Palmer’s murder, new plots thicken in season two. Cooper loses his FBI badge but gains a deputy badge care of Truman; Major Briggs has a supernatural experience in the woods; FBI agent Dennis/Denise Bryson comes calling; Windom Earle plays a deadly game of chess; Andrew Packard is back and alive; Thomas Eckhardt is back and dashing in fire-lit Ray Bans; and last, but not least, Leo is back and still crazy-clown-time crazy. Oh, and James skulks about in “noir town,” has an affair, and sulks his way out with the help of Donna. Most importantly, we learn, “You may be fearless in this world, but there are other worlds.”
After the screening and some delicious donuts and David Lynch Signature coffee, the panel entered the stage. This week’s panel included some of my favorite actors, a major writer, a female director, the series costume designer, and the music editor who mixed Angelo Badalamenti’s haunting melodies. Unfortunately Jonathan Shaw (Editor) was ill and had to reschedule. He will be attending the March 24 panel. The panel was comprised of the following:
1) CATHERINE E. COULSON (Actor, “The Log Lady”)
2) LORI ESCHLER FRYSTAK (Music Editor)
3) LESLI LINKA GLATTER (Director, episodes 1.6, 2.3, 2.6, 2.16)
4) MICHAEL HORSE (Actor, “Deputy Tommy ‘Hawk’ Hill”)
5) PEGGY LIPTON (Actor, “Norma Jennings”)
6) SARA MARKOWITZ (Series Costume Designer)
7) HARLEY PEYTON (Producer, Writer: Episodes 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 2.9, 2.12, 2.13, 2.15, 2.18, 2.19, 2.20, and 2.22)
Catherine Coulson (Actor, “The Log Lady”), who has not aged a bit, dispelled the rumors regarding the location of the most famous prop from the set – the log. During the March 3 panel, the prop department thought the log might be in the archives. However, Coulson said on the last night of shooting the series, David Lynch told her she could keep it. Coulson said the log currently is being housed at an undisclosed location, has a humidifier on it at all times, and is near the Northwest – “close to its roots,” she joked, “It has dried out, but so have I!” One year, she tried to take it to a convention in another city. She called the TSA to inquire about transporting it as a carry-on item. The TSA agent paused, and asked, “The log?” Apparently, “Twin Peaks” fans can be TSA agents, too. I feel a bit safer now. Just a bit, though.
Coulson recalled the tea party scene in which Agent Cooper and the Twin Peaks Sheriff department’s best sit down with the Log Lady. She said the room was filled with items from her own home, including doilies, because the prop people allowed actors to use their own things.
Coulson said the idea for the Log Lady emerged during conversations with David Lynch while they were making “Eraserhead” – Coulson served as assistant director on the film. Lynch talked about this idea involving a log in which he would “test his log with every branch of knowledge.” He talked about bringing the log to experts like a dentist, for example. The log would sit in the dentist’s chair wrapped in a blue protective sheath, and the dentist would somehow imbue his knowledge into the log and so forth. The idea of a log girl developed out of these conversations. Years later, Lynch asked Coulson, “I get to do this show on ABC. Would you like to be the log girl?” Coulson joked the Log Girl had become the Log Lady after so many years. Coulson said her favorite part about the show was working with the log because “I engaged with a Ponderosa pine. It engaged back. It never gave me any trouble.” My favorite quote of the night, by the way.
Michael Horse (Actor, “Deputy Tommy ‘Hawk’ Hill”), donning a beige hat and his signature jewelry, played the Native American Deputy Hawk and is Native American himself – of Yaqui, Mescalero Apache, Zuni, European and Hispanic descent. His portrayal of Hawk was one of the few portrayals of native people not rife with stereotypes. He came to Twin Peaks via Johanna Ray (the legendary casting agent). He joked that Johanna gave him a part on “Twin Peaks” so he could babysit Eric da Re, who played Leo Johnson and is Johanna’s son.
Horse said, “As a native artist and actor,” his experience portraying Deputy Hawk was amazing because it “did away with some stereotypes and held a mirror up to others.” Horse said he recently found out there was a lot of back and forth between the writers and the censors. Because he is Native American, the censors were and are “always worried we are going to offend someone, but they never bother to ask us.” Horse said Deputy Hawk “became the soul of the people. He was the most grounded.” Check out this amazing scene in which Deputy Hawk explains the White Lodge and the Black Lodge. Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson is also introduced.
Lesli Linka Glatter (Director) recalled the scene in which Deputy Hawk and the others search for Jacques Renault’s cabin. Apparently, Michael Horse improvised the shot in which he stoops to look at a blade of grass and tells the men to proceed in a different direction. Glatter said it was brilliant improvisation, and the crew had to contain their laughter as they were shooting the scene.