WEIRDLAND: Twin Peaks returns, F. Scott Fitzgerald's lost stories, Jim Morrison's poetic vision

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Twin Peaks returns, F. Scott Fitzgerald's lost stories, Jim Morrison's poetic vision

TWIN PEAKS—2017 Teaser for the return of David Lynch's SHOWTIME Series. After 25 years, the cult hit Twin Peaks is finally returning to television. The eerie show, which first debuted on ABC in 1990, is getting a revival on Showtime beginning May 21. The film genre that fascinates Lynch most of all is film noir—a style that reached its pinnacle at midcentury—with its shadowy lighting, brooding detectives, and femmes fatales. Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001), and Blue Velvet (1986) are all neo-noirs. “There’s a beguiling and magnetic mood,” Lynch once said of the genre. “There’s so much darkness, and there’s so much room to dream.” Laura Palmer is, in Lynch’s words, “radiant on the surface but dying inside”—Through the course of the series, you can detect Lynch’s realization that the films he’s loved, from Laura to Vertigo, contain their own hidden stories. Only by making an even larger story, a story expansive enough to contain all the rest of them, could he begin to get at the one that most needed to be told. For Agent Cooper, Twin Peaks is an idyll, but to the contemporary viewer, it’s a more like mirage. Source:

As Agent Cooper unravels the actual story of Laura’s demise, the truth involves a much wider conspiracy than originally conceived. With his unorthodox divinatory methods of solving crime, Cooper astounds local law enforcement with the concept of utilizing synchronicity to associate similar names with inanimate objects in a game of rock toss.  This odd practice will configure Cooper as both a classic pulp detective figure along the lines of Sam Spade, but also grant a mystical side from which he will draw to peer into the psychosphere. Mircea Eliade defined shamanism not as religion, but as a “technique of ecstasy,” a system of ecstatic and therapeutic methods whose purpose is to obtain contact with the parallel universe of spirits. In Twin Peaks, it is the light in the morgue over the place where the body of Laura Palmer had been kept, and which is then visited by Mike, the one-armed man, who recites the famous poem: “Through the darkness of futures past The magician longs to see; One chants out between two worlds ‘Fire walk with me.’” There, in a strange little verse, we have the key to unlocking the mystery not only of Twin Peaks but virtually all of Lynch’s films: the suspension of normal laws of time (“futures past”) and the idea that the magician lives “between two worlds.” The suspension of normal, linear narrative event in favor of a dreamlike, hallucinatory set of images that are taking place all over the fourth dimension is part of Lynch’s appeal as a director. ‘I learned that just beneath the surface there’s another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper.’ –David Lynch Source:

Jim Morrison was a man who should have stomped as a shaman in the ritualistic paces that left footprints, unseen and windswept but indelible, on the floor of the desert landscape. Jim’s face—the visage of an Adonis whose bright smile and gleaming eyes were in the process of beholding a grand vision. Jim, like Rimbaud, knew that words were a sword in an endless battle with a culture that could care less about poetry, mysticism, wisdom, rhythm, vision, and prophecy. The rebels who were his contemporaries needed a Dionysus, a true Jesus, an actor who could live and—most importantly die—as the eternal messiah and scapegoat. Artaud and Nietzsche combined to teach him that his own life and death had to be theatrical in nature. Forget Dylan and his protest songs. Forget The Beatles and their innocent image, which made the psychedelic into the secure. Forget The Stones and their bad-boy image, which was so calculated that it made their desire for “Satisfaction” passionless and commercial. Jim became a rock god of an industry that worshiped the image of the swaggering frontman (the Jaggers and Daltreys that imitated him).

Jim metamorphosed into a Dionysus who was willing to carry out a martyrdom for a people who had lost all sense of the sacred—a people who had the Kennedys and MLK killed, “the Moral Majority…” Jim Morrison, now as fiery an orator, a biblical-style prophet, no longer the shaman from the desert floors of peyote trances, was using the rhetorical fire-and-brimstone of Nixon’s Moral Majority—the very technique of his enemies—to bring about revolution. But Morrison's passion would be made meaningless by the same mentality that drove Nietzsche to the asylum and forced Rimbaud to abandon poetry. Illiterate audiences wanted him half-naked, teasing, and pornographic in stark black-and-white images. They weren’t able to comprehend that Jim’s life was made for a stage. The depth of his martyrdom was disproportionate to the depth of his audiences’ understanding, so that when he performed, he was taken for a drunken fool who refused to sing the hits. Instead, he’d dance like a shaman, hide under stages, improvise poems and lyrics, joke... Jim Morrison’s martyrdom became a tragedy of incomprehension. Source:

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a wunderkind by many accounts destroyed by the hedonism of the ‘Golden Twenties’ he defined. A common take on the trajectory of Fitzgerald’s life runs through the arc of fame and success after the publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, at the age of 24, to death in obscurity at the end of a late wilderness period marred by alcoholism and a sense of personal failure. The descent of his effervescent wife, Zelda, “the first American flapper” as he called her, into ever more severe mental illness, has added another layer to the tragic aura that has built up around the author’s life story. Fitzgerald died at 44, desperately trying, and failing to successfully write for Hollywood, “a great sculptor hired to do a plumbing job”, as Billy Wilder put it. Most of the stories collected in I'd Die For You were written through the 1930s, in an increasingly dark period.

There are ostensibly bleak currents running through these stories – divorce, suicide, the effects of the Depression – but what really makes an impression is the humour. Some of Fitzgerald’s stories can read at times as frothy throwaway bagatelles but from the first, early (1919) story in this collection, The I.O.U., a Woody Allen-ish sensibility comes to the fore. Preston Sturges would have made a sympathetic collaborator. Doctors are, understandably, targets for Fitzgerald’s satire, as in the raucous Women in the House, as are the Hollywood set of the title story. It’s possible that his wit was piqued as his life became ever more traumatic and pressured, literally “writing for his life”, and he moved his focus away from the frivolous and the tragic. Source:

—Jim Morrison: How many other guys have you fucked since you been with me? —Pamela: How many dogs have you fucked? You're the only one who couldn't make it, you asshole, the only limp dick! —Jim Morrison: Would you die for me? (The Doors, 1991)

—Frank Lisciandro: In 1990, Oliver Stone’s film was in pre-production and Stone’s production team asked me about using my photographs for research, and about me being a consultant for the film. So I asked to see Stone’s script before accepting their offer. Stone responded that he didn’t allow anyone to read his scripts before production. I replied that I didn’t want to be a consultant on his film if I didn’t know how he intended to portray Jim. I didn’t want to be part of spreading any more lies, rumors and misinformation. Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together is still the #1 Rated Morrison tome on Amazon. Michael McClure  confirmed my own unschooled opinion of Jim’s work, saying that Jim Morrison was one of the finest poets of his generation. I also appreciated his general review of the ’60s art scene in L.A. 

—I wanted a photograph (for the front cover of Friends Gathered Together) that was recognizable as Jim and one that captured the viewer immediately. In that photograph Jim is looking at the camera so he’s looking at the viewer; his expression is neutral and engaging. There’s an instant contact.  From the beginning I thought of the book as a gathering of friends each adding their testimony for a true picture of the character and person of Jim Morrison. Over the years Jim’s fans have matured. They want to know about Jim’s character, about his poetry, his filmmaking, his lyrics and books. They want evidence and facts and are not as ready to rely on rumor and urban legend.

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