Une Âme Solitaire: Fans in a Living Novel – Bretagna

As I’ve compiled these entries in my (very) loosely constructed Living Novel, I’ve often focused on those I’ve met, listened to, watched, or admired.  It’s a bit rare when I hit the Dougie Silver Mustang Casino jackpot like I did when I decided to profile Bretagna for this entry.  During Season 3, she was a regular fixture on Twitter, and made her way into my timeline.  Fast forward to earlier this spring, when Bretagna and I made plans to meet one another during David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption…

I thought about all of her Agent Cooper Pop figure adventures, her pursuit of great wines and good times, and her contributions to thoughtful discussion about Twin Peaks on Twitter. I was excited to travel to Brooklyn to meet her, experience the Festival with her and other friends I’ve met on Twitter, and see if she could get me an audience with Kyle MacLachlan…

Bret and her friend Kyle at his wine event in New York
Bret and her friend Kyle at his wine event in New York

First-time Twin Peaks and the impressions it made:

The very first time I saw any scenes or images from Twin Peaks was maybe 12 or 13 years ago while I was in college. I had recently discovered David Lynch after watching Eraserhead, being weirded and grossed out by it, and then becoming a bit obsessed with understanding it and finding out as much as I could about its creator and his other work. The Internet, particularly YouTube, proved to be a great resource for discovering more of Lynch’s oeuvre, especially his early short films. I clicked on a YouTube video of Twin Peaks not knowing that the video was a clip from a TV series instead of a self-contained short. I saw some footage from the Season 2 finale; it happened to be the scene in the Red Room where “Señor Droolcup” slowly approaches Agent Cooper with a cup of coffee on a tray while repeating “coffee” over and over in a peculiar, otherworldly manner. The red curtains, the zig zag floor pattern, the décor, the little man in the red suit, the looks of confusion on Agent Cooper’s face and his silence, the strange sound effects, the queer way that the characters spoke; the odd pacing, everything I was experiencing made me uncomfortable and deeply intrigued me. I understood nothing and yet I loved everything.

Mini Coop enjoys a warm pie
Mini Coop enjoys a warm pie

Bretagna recalls watching the original series run:

When the original run aired, I was maybe 2 years old and apparently none of my family watched the show when it originally aired either. I watched the first and second seasons on Netflix a few years after seeing the YouTube clip [mentioned above]. The title theme was so beautiful and melancholic. I was entranced. As a person who absolutely loves tunes that tug at the heartstrings, the music of Twin Peaks, particularly the opening titles theme and Laura Palmer’s theme were huge hooks for me. I’m now convinced that I developed an instant connection to and affection for the show because of the music.  I also later fell in love with the quirkiness of the town and all its inhabitants, the soap parody, the mysteries, and of course, the very Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Twin Peaks title

And Season 3 last year:

I streamed Season 3 week-to-week on Amazon Prime Video. I watched the first few episodes with Twin Peaks staples: cherry pie, coffee, or donuts, on hand. But I soon found the food distracting and eliminated it from my viewing experience. I put all electronic items on “Donut Disturb” mode and watched alone in a completely dark room on my 40-inch television. I binge watched the original run of Twin Peaks on my 17-inch screen laptop on Netflix. And because I watched most of those episodes back-to-back, I believe I missed so many important little details. At one point, I couldn’t even keep the character names straight, and I don’t think I got a handle on it all until maybe my third re-watch of the original run.

Watching Season 3 week-to-week was a completely different experience. Not only was I forced to ponder an episode for a whole week and wait to find out what would happen next, I was watching along with hundreds of thousands of others like original run viewers did in the 90s. Knowing that I was not really watching alone was electric and breathed extra life, tension, and nervous excitement into my Season 3 viewing experience. My impression of Season 3 was that it was much grittier and serious in tone than the original run. When I watched the original run for the first time, I didn’t know anything about the show other than what I saw in the YouTube video I mentioned earlier.

part 8 bomb

Prior to Season 3 airing, I had seen the original run at least 3 times (certain episodes many more than 3 times), Fire Walk With Me maybe twice, and I was in the middle of reading The Secret History of Twin Peaks. As a result, the stakes were much higher for me viewing Season 3 than they were viewing Seasons 1 and 2. I feel that there is a certain magical or bewitching quality that the original run has on viewers, making it accessible not only to Lynch fans, but also to viewers unfamiliar with his style. The music, the soap [opera] parody, the quirky townsfolk and G-men; the cherry pie, coffee, and donuts, etc. all help viewers to put in the back of their mind how truly dark and tragic Laura Palmer’s story is and all the pain her death caused those who knew and loved her.

While we get music, humor, quirky townsfolk and G-men, cherry pie and coffee, and more of the same in Season 3, it all feels more subdued and seems to serve a different purpose. Those elements don’t really help the viewer escape the darkness that has been unleashed and looms over the Twin Peaks universe. I think there is also something to be said about the early 90s and how a certain “cheese” factor, which was present in the original run, no longer works in today’s television and films. I thoroughly enjoy the original run and Season 3, but I had the most visceral reaction to Season 3, especially the final two parts.

Are you more of a bumper sticker, cosplay, or tattoo kind of Twin Peaks fan?

I think I’m more of a bumper sticker Twin Peaks fan. I don’t have a car here in New York City, but if I did it would most likely have an Owl Cave Symbol on it somewhere. This wasn’t one of the choices, but I think I’m really more of a Twin Peaks memorabilia hoarder kind of fan; I just acquire as much Twin Peaks-themed stuff as I can, and seeing it all together makes me happy, ecstatic even.

Any successful conversions over the years?

The best I’ve been able to do is convince a friend to watch the original run. It took him a total of two years to watch every episode of Seasons 1 and 2. He liked it overall, but he did not fall for it as hard as I did. He did, however, absolutely fall in love with the music. Season 3 is now on his “to watch” list. I do still find myself constantly trying to proselytize other family and friends, but I’ve been unsuccessful so far.

Sometimes, the Living Novel participants have a hard time choosing their favorite Twin Peaks scene. What’s yours, and why?

My absolute favorite scene of all of Twin Peaks is the final sequence of Season 2 Episode 14 “Lonely Souls,” where Julee Cruise begins singing “The World Spins.” I cannot watch it without tearing up. It is all so powerful; whatever they were trying to convey, I feel it all so strongly. I will try to explain. The atmosphere at the Roadhouse suddenly shifts from happy and lighthearted to somber and heavy, Donna Hayward begins to weep uncontrollably, and Bobby Briggs seems to sense something is wrong as well. The melancholic music, Julee’s ethereal voice, the Giant appearing to Cooper and possibly to the Log Lady, and most of all Kyle MacLachlan’s facial acting: perfectly expressing confusion, concern, and a deep desire to understand what exactly is happening again and what, if anything, he can do to help. Cooper’s powerlessness and confusion, Donna’s grief and sorrow, Bobby Brigg’s uneasiness, Maddy’s anguish; I feel it all and it is so intense and beautiful and painful.

Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Cooper

You have been a consistently fun presence in Kyle MacLachlan’s Pursued by Bear social media efforts, your Cooper Pop figure adventures, and with Twin Peaks and David Lynch. Please talk about all of these fun endeavors and what doors have opened for you as a result of your Twitter Lynch-fest!

I joined Twitter to have the chance to link up with other Twin Peaks fans and to have someone to talk to about Season 3 as none of my close friends or family were watching. Before joining Twitter, I mostly kept my love of all things Lynch, Twin Peaks, and Kyle MacLachlan to myself. It was no secret by any means, but I had no one in my life who shared this intense passion of mine. After a few weeks on Twitter and finally finding the Peaks-centric accounts, Peaks podcast accounts, and more, it was like a whole new world opened to me, and it felt like home.

The passion and love for all things Twin Peaks and David Lynch was palpable among the Twin Peaks Twitter contingent and I have been so lucky to connect with a few of the fans and even some of the actors from the show, both online and in person. I was able to attend all three days of the Museum of Modern Art screening of Season 3, and while I don’t really have words to describe how amazing that experience was, I had the honor of meeting and chatting with George Griffith for the first time. He said he recognized me from Twitter which totally caught me off guard.

Bret and George Griffith sharing a moment at MoMA
Bret and George Griffith sharing a moment at MoMA

I also had the good fortune to be able to attend the Festival of Disruption this past May and to finally get the chance to meet a few of the people that I so often interact with on Twitter like the Bryon and Ben from Twin Peaks Unwrapped Podcast, @greatwoodsresearch, you, @CoopersCaroline, @HowsAnnie, @le22iemesiecle, @thatsourwaldo, and I connected with many other Lynch and Peaks fans while there. I’m no good with recognizing faces in a crowd, but luckily for me, my face has since been juxtaposed with that of a very special actor from the Lynchverse, so people had no trouble recognizing me at the Festival.

Bookhouse Babes at the Festival of Disruption
Bookhouse Babes at the Festival of Disruption

I once again had the chance to meet up with more of my Twitter Peaks friends at the Split Screens Festival, including fellow Bookhouse Babes J.C. Hotchkiss and Lindsay Stamhuis. It has been so wonderful to meet my people in person and spend quality time with them. The most striking thing to me is how the Twin Peaks Twitter community has embraced and accepted me so fully as if I were an O.G. fan. People listen to and consider my half-baked theories and they embrace other aspects of my wacky personality.

Bretagna and Split Screens fan theory panelist J.C. Hotchkiss
Bretagna and Split Screens fan theory panelist J.C. Hotchkiss

For example, a few months back I had to run a tedious errand that required me to travel through Times Square. I’m not sure who started #AgentCooperSaturday, but I knew that Saturday was approaching so I took the Cooper Pop (Mini Coop) with me, snapped a pic of him in Times Square, and shared it with Twin Peaks Twitter. They loved it and I’ve been sharing Mini Coop’s adventures ever since. Adding the Coop Pop doll to otherwise mundane photos is fun, funny, silly, and kind of cute. I enjoy it and I’m glad the Twin Peaks fam does as well.

Cooper Funko Pop in New York

I moved to NYC almost two years ago and before joining Twitter, I only followed Kyle on Facebook. I didn’t get any of the wine tasting notifications on Facebook, and had no clue that he even did them until I joined Twitter. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly at Union Square Wines last summer. [At the] end of last year, I met him at Some Good Wine and he told me that he recognized me from the Union Square Wines tasting. I kind of freaked out a bit because he remembered me. Ever since then, he always greets me with a “Hello again,” or “Good to see you again.” He even cracked jokes about me, adding the bottle he was signing for me at his most recent tasting to the collection, and when I asked him to say something on camera for another fan, he jokingly said, “Of course! It’s tradition!”

Bretagna and Kyle MacLachlan

He’s always so sweet, patient, and very easy to talk to, and he seems to genuinely enjoy interacting with his fans. I want to encourage anyone who’s on the fence about “meeting their hero” to go on ahead and meet this one; he’s a prince. Also, I’m pretty sure that being featured in his Wine Instagram story will go down as the happiest moment of my life, apologies in advance to my future fiancé and children.

Bretagna and Kyle MacLachlan

While I’m still waiting for Bretagna to get me that all-access visit with Kyle, I am more than happy to finally meet her, have a blast at the Festival of Disruption, and count her as a friend.  Our Twin Peaks journeys continue, time and time again.

If you have enjoyed what you have read here and want to follow Mini Coop’s latest adventures, you can follow Bretagna on Twitter at @bretbacharach

Bret enjoys good music, good food, and good people. And she obsesses over all things David Lynch, Twin Peaks, and Steely Dan.

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.

Written by Twin_Petes

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