In previous Living Novel entries, you’ve met Steven, Ben, and Jill, while also getting to know John Pirruccello as a fan. My next subject has been inspired to locate Twin Peaks filming sites by others’ work with an interesting twist: Ivan Bukta discovered Twin Peaks as a child in Serbia, coming to the United States and spending the last few years tracking down filming sites from all three seasons and Fire Walk with Me. His road trips, persistence in finding filming sites, and stories about his experiences at specific locations make Ivan a perfect addition to my Living Novel.
“I first saw Twin Peaks when I was a 10-year-old kid in Serbia (yes, very age-inappropriate but my parents couldn’t stop me!), and not only did it blow my mind, it propelled a lifelong passion for film and television and showed me there were no limits to creativity and imagination on the screen, whether big or small.”
Ivan watched Twin Peaks’ original run on Serbian national television in 1991, when he was just 10. He watched the latest season live on Showtime. Comparing the two viewing experiences was difficult for Ivan, as the narrow frame of reference he possessed as a child pales in comparison to what he has grown to know and understand about Twin Peaks and David Lynch over the last 25-plus years. He was challenged emotionally and intellectually as a young person, witnessing sounds and images he had never seen before. As most of us have experienced, the newest installment of Twin Peaks took Ivan to places that he may not have been able to imagine.
Ivan recalled his visit to the Reber’s:
“I have a funny story about Mary, too. As she was very graciously showing me her house, I am following her up the staircase freaking out. The best way I could describe it was like I was on a rollercoaster! Mary’s sneakily leading me up to Laura’s room while I’m taking it all in and… BAM! There’s the figure of BOB standing in the closet about six feet tall and terrifying. Mary is anxiously awaiting to see my reaction. I took a quick breath, then quickly continued taking photos without missing a beat. I didn’t care if it was BOB himself, he wasn’t gonna get in my way. Not today, Satan! But Mary was very disappointed by my lack of reaction, she was expecting at least a scream, because that thing indeed is scary!
That notwithstanding, I will always treasure the experience of being in the Palmer House and Mary’s and Tim’s kindness and generosity of spirit. That place is my personal Holy Grail of Twin Peaks locations and the one closest to my heart, especially because of my love for Fire Walk with Me and Part 18. And we as fans should be grateful we have fellow Twin Peaks fans living in [the Palmer House] and taking good care of it!”
When I asked Ivan to choose a favorite scene from Twin Peaks, he had a difficult choice. He chose to go with his gut and pick the first one that came to his mind, which is Laura and James’s meeting in the woods from Fire Walk With Me and Part 17. The moment when Laura reveals to James that “your Laura disappeared” moves him deeply every time, and not only because of Sheryl Lee’s heartbreaking performance. As Ivan like to say: “Laura Palmer is the broken heart at the center of Twin Peaks, and this scene portrays that poignantly.”
When Ivan has shown others the joy that he has found through Twin Peaks, it’s always a different experience for each new fan. He has found it interesting to see what people connect to – it may be Agent Cooper, or Laura’s story, or even the supernatural or soap opera elements. Their connections reveal a bit more about people, their interests, and passions.
Speaking of passions, I asked Ivan whether he was more likely to participate in Twin Peaks cosplay or sport a Twin Peaks-themed tattoo. He shared that he has two Twin Peaks tattoos: the Red Room and the Owl Cave symbol. His tattoos came in handy when he was looking for one of the ultimate filming locations from Season 3…
Ivan’s best resources for finding locations are other kind Twin Peaks fans on Twitter: Travis Blue, Steven Miller, Courtenay Stallings, and Robert Patterson from set-jetter.com among others, who have helped him locate many places. For Ivan, these locations are like an intersection between reality and a fictional world. Growing up in Serbia, he never thought one day he would be able to visit all these places in person, and so he never takes that privilege for granted. He always makes a point of “taking a beat to really appreciate a place, to take it all in, and not just take photos and bounce.”
“Finding locations is always an adventure, as it’s not just a simple matter of reaching an address, but also of finding a specific spot or angle, and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and achievement when I am finally successful. Also, I often get to meet fantastic people on the way, like Mary Reber, who so kindly and generously welcomed me into her home and gave me a whole tour of the Palmer House! Or the owner of Mrs. Tremond’s residence in Agoura Hills who shared stories of the filming with me, and even gave me new batteries after mine died at the most inopportune moment!
Ivan’s favorite find was “253 Yards East of Jack Rabbit’s Palace,” which took him some time wandering through the woods to find. Ivan wouldn’t give up on it until he found it! Finding Jack Rabbit’s Palace is his favorite location search story: He was in a group conversation with John Pirruccello on Twitter. When Ivan asked for the tree’s location, John was reluctant to spill. But once Ivan showed John a photo of his Twin Peaks tattoos, John realized Ivan was a legit fan and gave him detailed directions in a direct message! When Ivan returned home from Washington, Ivan made sure to send him a picture and thank him personally – such a great guy!
I asked Ivan about his road trip with Carl Rodd (@SnoqualmieCarl on Twitter) to some of Season 3’s more hard-to-find locations:
“That was great to meet someone from Twitter and end up going to locations together. Only Twin Peaks fans could possibly appreciate a spot beside the road where electricity crackles in the middle of nowhere! To anyone else it wouldn’t make sense, so you have to take real hardcore fans with you to get the most of the experience.
But even when I go alone, I always end up meeting people. Back in Snoqualmie, I had a driver named Laura whose husband was named Bob, and yes they were huge Twin Peaks fans and very aware of how crazy it was! Turns out they are friends to some of our Twin Peaks community on Twitter, so it was a happy coincidence, if you believe in that sort of thing.
When I went to find Harold’s & Mrs. Tremond’s house, I had a really difficult time locating the place despite the directions because the whole yard has changed so much. I ran into a current tenant of “Harold’s House” who loved Twin Peaks and had no idea where she was staying! She introduced me to the owner, a lovely lady coincidentally named Diane.”
“I talked to Diane for a while, and she helped me compare the screenshots and explained the changes made in the yard that made it hard to recognize, like building a porch around the door where Donna meets the “normal” Mrs. Tremond. She even very kindly gave me new batteries for my camera when mine died just as I was photographing Mrs. Tremond’s old door! She said that every few years “one of us [Twin Peaks fans]” comes to visit the place, which is beautiful and peaceful. The one who visited before me was probably Travis Blue, who helped me find so many locations! Diane also told me she took a bunch of photos of shooting which lasted at the location for a couple of weeks. If she is ever able to find them, I told her fans would go crazy over them since they would be incredibly rare.”
Whether it’s the stories he’s gathered on the way to visit a location, the pictures he’s taken when he arrives, or the feelings that he experienced after meeting others in his Twin Peaks journeys, Ivan embodies the joy and passion of fans everywhere. As our Living Novel entries continue to intertwine and intersect, Ivan’s story will undoubtedly connect with another.
Connect with Ivan!
Ivan is active on Twitter @underthefan113
Ivan Bukta is a writer, editor, and author of twinpeakslocations.blogspot.com.
Next time: That…cannot be revealed.
Twin_Petes is a 27 year-plus fan of the show, music, merchandise, and emotions that emanate from the woods surrounding Blue Pine and Whitetail Mountains. He and his family now reside in what can best be described as the Purple World. His favorite response to most questions is: “That…cannot be revealed.” He loves all things Lynch and Frost. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @Twin_Petes.