In case you’ve been curious what’s become of Adam Baran and his Sword column Fisting for Compliments, it hasn’t gone away! It’s been on a bit of a hiatus and will be back as a monthly feature, and Adam, meanwhile has been working on raising money for a personal project dear to his cinematic heart.
It’s called Northwest Passage, and it’s a documentary about a guy named Travis Blue who, almost literally, grew up “in Twin Peaks.” Blue was raised in the Snoqualmie Valley of Washington State, right near the North Bend, Washington shooting locations of David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s 1990-91 TV series, Twin Peaks. Blue was a pre-teen at the time and quickly became obsessed with show. He skipped school to visit the lake-side shoot for the iconic scene from the pilot where Laura Palmer’s body is found wrapped in plastic. And after watching the show Blue began emulating Laura in less than healthy ways. As he says in an audio interview Baran did, which is featured in the promo trailer below, “It felt good to be like Laura. I would play the Twin Peaks music and dance around my room like she would… Eighth grade was cocaine. Some of it was meth, some of it was crack… I was hooking in the same bar that Laura Palmer was hooking. She was some kind of guardian angel.”
Adam Baran met Travis Blue in 2005 and hired him to write about his experiences at the Twin Peaks Fan Festivals that he attended as a teenager, and which he was ultimately banned from for bad behavior. Baran had his own obsession with Twin Peaks, going back to the first time he discovered Lynch through Lost Highway. In case you weren’t aware, Baran already has the short film Jackpot under his belt, and for this project he’s partnered with executive producers P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes (Room 237, Hit So Hard) and executive producer Jonathan Caouette (dir. Tarnation, All Tomorrow’s Parties).
I asked Adam about Northwest Passage, and the Kickstarter campaign he’s just launched to get production rolling.
J.W.: How did you find this guy?
Adam Baran: When I first met Travis Blue at an LGBT film festival in New York in 2005, we quickly bonded over our favorite films and TV shows: Twin Peaks, My Own Private Idaho and Tarnation, among others. During that time I was editing the influential underground gay publication Butt Magazine, which frequently published edgy stories about sex and sexuality. In an email to Travis, I mentioned that I was looking for a good story and he quickly wrote back: “I could write about my sexual experiences at the Twin Peaks Fan Festivals as a teenager.” I said yes, instantly.
When Travis submitted the article to me, two weeks later, I was floored. In it, Travis described his experiences growing up near North Bend, Washington, where David Lynch’s cult series was filmed, and then charted his wild behavior at the Twin Peaks Fan Festivals which emerged after the show was cancelled. Travis took readers from 1992, when he was young and dazzled by seeing cast members in person, to 2002, when he returned to the festival after being unofficially banned for many years for bad behavior. It was a truly crazy story filled with honesty, wit, and insight. Even Lynch himself couldn’t have dreamed it up.
How much of this doc have you shot already?
We’ve not shot much, which is why we’re doing the Kickstarter. I’ve been working with Travis for four years, doing audio interviews because at the time it was all we could afford, and last year we got to shoot a few days with Travis when David Lynch screened the deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me. We took him around many of the shooting locations in LA before we got chased away. Based on the interviews we’ve done with Travis, we’ve developed a plan for a visually stunning, very Lynchian storytelling style, using re-enactments to bring Travis’ most crucial memories to life. But we can’t do it without everyone’s support, so I hope people go and check out our incredible range of rewards.
What are your thoughts on David Lynch seemingly backing out of the new season?
That’s a good question. I’m very hopeful that it’s, as some people claim, a kind of negotiation strategy. If you read Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, by Brad Dukes, which is one of our Kickstarter rewards, you know that even though Lynch and Mark Frost wrote the scripts together, and even though they brought in a huge group of talented directors to realize the various episodes, having Lynch around and offering his insights was crucial to the series. There are great directors who can bring the scripts to life, but not doing it with David Lynch really is going to make it feel kind of sad and phony on some deep level. The worst episodes of Twin Peaks that exist are during the second season when Lynch was off making Wild at Heart, and that led directly to the cancellation. So yeah, I hope he’ll come back! Honestly, it’s a selfish motivation though, because four years ago when I was trying to get producers for this project, people were saying they didn’t see the relevance of it, a story about a kid obsessed with a long-off-the-air show, but now, since Twin Peaks has a third season on the way, and it’s clear that there is a huge interest in the show still, it’s making it a lot easier for us to justify Northwest Passage‘s existence. So I hope everything gets smoothed out, so that there’s an even bigger audience for our film as well.
Below, a couple of photos of Blue as a youngster, one next to the iconic diner in North Bend, and one with actress Catherine E. Coulson, a.k.a. The Log Lady, at a Twin Peaks Fan Festival in 1993.