Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Sparkly Blue Lodge

I've got dozens of photographs of Mar T Cafe, some with me in the frame, some without me, but all from the pre-digital-camera days. I was just in Seattle last week for the MLA Conference, and it was one of the few times I've been in the Seattle area and not driven out to Snoqualmie and North Bend to do some Twin Peaksing. Fortunately, I had a night out for sushi with Tim Morton and we geeked out about Twin Peaks.

I experienced two doppelgangerish sentiments while in Seattle. First, this particular trip was an inverted reenactment of one week back in 2005 when my wife, Min, was getting her M.Ed. at Western Washington University. We drove together down to Seattle so she could attend the NAFSA international education conference at the same Washington State Convention Center where I was doing the MLA. On 2 of those days, I dropped her off early in the morning and then drove east to the former Mar T, now Twede's, in North Bend to have coffee and cherry pie before hiking up Little Si one day and a ways up Big Si on the other. The Little Si morning I was perked with coffee, which was excellent, because the fog was so thick I couldn't see where I was stepping even low on the mountain trail. By the time I got to the top, I was hiking with my hands out in front of me--it was, uncannily, laugh laugh, just like the scene Freud describes in "The Uncanny." On the way down, the fog was breaking up a bit and I began to notice the orangepink salmon berries just ripe and just off the trail. I picked a bagful--one must always carry bags when hiking in the PNW for such instances--and Min quite appreciated them later on the drive north to Bellingham. By the time I did these trips, I'd probably been to Snoqualmie and North Bend and most of the nearby filming sights many times--I recall the first time ever going there in 1992 and geeking out with a group of Japanese tourists who were also PeakFreeks. It was striking to be near yet outside the televisiogeography on those particular trips.

The second doubling, and I suppose there must be two of them, was that last week in Seattle I got to reflecting on my reactions to the transition of the Mar T Cafe, which was the Double R Diner on the show, to Twede's. The Mar T, when I visited in 1992 and before it burned down, looked so much like the Double R. Dark faux wood paneling, the juke box, the floor tiling...And the pies were still being baked by the woman who baked pie after pie for Lynch and crew. Like a real-life DVD extra, going to the Mar T felt like a little extension, a little extra time inside, of Twin Peaks and thereby of Twin Peaks. Twede's, on the other hand, has retained some production photos and memorabilia on the wall near the restrooms. Otherwise, the booths are in a new configuration and they are royal blue with outrageous sparkly flecks of gold, like a blue bowling call circa 1983. Stuffed Tweety birds hang from the ceiling. They still have pie and coffee, but the vibe is gone. Or is it? It was thinking and talking about Twin Peaks with Tim that got me thinking about potential aesthetic appreciation of Twede's as a disturbing plastic blue tint that resonates with the shift from the warm brown woody tones of the tv series to the cold tones of Fire Walk with Me. Perhaps the blue of Twede's need not be a melancholy color focused on loss but a canted coloring away from nostalgia and into potentialities.

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