Five Pieces of David Lynch Homework to Do Before GOMA's Between Two Worlds
Apart from the most influential TV show of all time, he's made a littering PSA, music, comic strips and his own coffee blend. Get acquainted.
March 09, 2015
Brisbanites, you’d best start the coffee percolating and put a cherry pie in the oven, because David Lynch is coming to town. Yes, the filmmaker with some of the most strangely sublime sensibilities in the business — and the best hair, too — is making his first trip to Australia, with Brisbane his sole stopover. We know how lucky we are.
He’s here to launch the Gallery of Modern Art’s David Lynch: Between Two Worlds exhibition, and though most might know him from his movies and that one certain TV show that some rightfully say is the best thing to ever grace the small screen, this is a whole-of-building affair. You can watch his films, as well as films about his films. You can hear renditions of the music that helped make much of his work so great. You can buy his signature blend coffee from the gift shop. And you can look at paintings, sculptures, carpet and more that only a mind like his could come up with.
By now you hopefully have tickets to his sold-out in-conversation event, a busy film viewing schedule mapped out and plans to stare at his artwork more than once. We’ve got a few other things for you to do, too. Let’s call this your David Lynch homework.
WATCH TWIN PEAKS
We’ve said it before (just above!), and we’ll say it again: Twin Peaks is one of the best shows that has ever been on television. Sadly, GOMA’s program doesn’t currently include the chance to watch its first and second seasons in full, likely due to rights issues, but anyone with even the tiniest bit of interest in Lynch owes it to themselves to do so at home. You can see the pilot as part of the lineup, as well as the scariest horror film ever made — in the form of movie follow-on, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me — but they’re just not enough. Once you enter Twin Peaks’ world of diminutive dancing men and ladies with logs, you won’t want to leave. And if you need any more convincing, consider it preparation for the third season due out next year.
LISTEN TO HIS MUSIC
Lynch’s movies are inextricably linked with music; what would Blue Velvet be without Bobby Vinton’s title track, Wild at Heart without Chris Isaak’s 'Wicked Game', or Twin Peaks without Julee Cruise’s 'Falling' and composer Angelo Badalamenti’s haunting themes, after all? The director has been instrumental in the creating distinctive soundscapes for his on-screen work, so it should come as no surprise that he has also released his own albums. His 2001 release, BlueBob, was an experimental rock record. His 2011 effort, Crazy Clown Time, featured the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O on one track and favoured experimental electronica. His 2013 album, The Big Dream, was inspired by blues and pop, combining for a dreamy, experimental sound. Noticing a trend here? So are we. And you’ll also notice that listening to his music — much of which can be found on Spotify — feels just like bathing in his film scores.
In 2012, Louis CK pulled off what will likely be his best-ever casting feat. Plenty of familiar faces and recognisable names have popped up in his fictionalised TV series, Louie, but when the comedian pursued an arc in season three that saw his on-screen alter ego considered to replace David Letterman as the host of the Late Show, there was only one person to turn to. Well, several actually, because Lynch wasn’t his first choice (Jerry Lewis, Al Pacino and Martin Scorsese all turned him down); however, it is now impossible to see anyone else as the plain-talking Jack Dall, the man who attempts to guide Louie to success over two episodes. It’s as if Twin Peaks’ Gordon Cole left the FBI and got into the television talk show game — and it is just as glorious as that sounds.
READ HIS COMIC STRIP
From 1983 to 1992, Lynch wrote and illustrated a comic strip. The Angriest Dog in the World appeared in the LA Reader, the Village Voice and other alternative US publications, inspired by a time in the 1970s when Lynch himself was seething with rage. No, we’re not kidding. Yes, Lynch’s life is filled with the kind of stuff that sounds made up, but isn’t. The image in the comic strip never changed, and always featured the same introduction, explaining that the dog is so angry that he cannot move, eat or sleep. Thought bubbles then delivered existential musings as well as puns and jokes, such as “If everything is real… then nothing is real as well.” Only selected strips can be found online, but even a quick glance proves that they’re pure Lynch.
WATCH HIS TV COMMERCIALS AND MUSIC VIDEOS
When he’s not making films, albums, TV shows, comic strips and artwork, or popping up in ingenious acting roles, Lynch also dabbles in the world of television commercials and music videos. Okay, okay, so do many other filmmakers – but we guarantee Lynch’s creations are unlike anyone else’s. You might have seen the Japanese coffee ads that tie in to Twin Peaks, but he has also spruiked everything from home pregnancy tests to perfume to Playstation, and even made a spooky public service announcement denouncing littering. In the music video realm, among others he directed an alternative video for Chris Isaak’s 'Wicked Game', an animated clip for Moby’s 'Shot in the Back of the Head', and a video for Nine Inch Nails' 'Came Back Haunted' that comes with a seizure warning.
David Lynch: Between Two Worlds is on at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art from March 14 to June 7. See the full program of exhibition-related events at the gallery website.