Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tell us about the Owls, Dana. The Owls.

For the past couple of months, Rachel (heretofore to be referred to as "Not Drugs") and I have been curling up on whatever couch, floor or bed was close at hand and watching David Lynch's perpetually iconic early '90s TV show Twin Peaks. Being Lynch at his (arguably) most accessible, the show tends to serve as an alt-culture touchstone for a lot of people, and one of the most interesting things about re/watching the show was the reactions of those who hadn't watched it yet -- "I know! I know! Someday." I can't really recommend the show; it's already been recommended to you, geeked on by your friends and generally deconstructed. It's worth checking out, and largely unlike most things produced prior or since, but it's also just a TV show for about 80% of the time. The other 20% is the reason it tends to hang on in the minds of critics and fans, be rediscovered. But I think most great TV shows hit that sort of range-- between 70-90% of the time they're average-to-good pieces of entertainment, then that other percent they cross over into Art on the level of the Great Films, Plays or paintings. But half the time you're watching TV for a certain sort of comfort, anyway.

But! This is not a TV review. This is about geekery. The wiki link for TP has changed since last time I looked at it a couple months ago-- that's how dedicated the fanbase is. There's a convention/retreat in North Bend, Wa (where some of the exteriors were filmed) every year that Chris Gusta goes to-- it was ultimately through one of those trips that he decided to move to the northwest. Not Drugs and I are not so dedicated as that. But having a free Sunday, we decided to head out to northeast King County to check out Twede's Cafe, home to the pie, coffee and atmosphere that Dale Cooper was such a fan of.

The original interior got arsoned about ten years ago. These days, it reminds me a bit of the Stanwood Cafe, albeit slightly more dissheveled. The prices are a bit high, but the portions are such that Not Drugs and I split a Fish 'N Chips and were almost too full for pie. Almost.

By the bathroom there is a wall of pictures, newspaper clippings, memorobillia, etc.

It was interesting people-watching and guessing who was a tourist (I guess even today that Peaks tourists account for roughly 5% of the business there and probably more on holiday weekends) and who was a regular. Some small towns have folks sporting the kinds of cowboy shirts you can also get at Red Light Clothing Exchange, but North Bend doesn't seem to be one of them. The place fully embraces the tourist element-- all the servers were wearing shirts advertising Twede's 1) 50 Different Types of Burgers (yup) and 2) Home of Twin Peaks' Pie and "a damn fine cup of coffee."
The place also hosts an open mic on Tuesdays.
This all seems for the best; North Bend wasn't depressing in the way that some Washington towns can be, nor was it generically strip-malled but the downtown didn't appear to have the internal bustle of an Arlington (though that may be good-- less meth) or the diversity of business of Stanwood, or the packed-right-in cute historical downtown of neighboring Snoqualmie. If you were there for a reason (like a TV show conference) you'd probably find a decent bar or restaurant or two, but nothing jumped out at me as "ooh, we should come back for that," even with my er, "unique" fascination with the smaller towns and suburbs in Western Washington.

Also, it should be pointed out that neither North Bend nor Snoqualmie seemed like places where the woods nearby contained portals to Unspeakable Evil. But then, maybe that's part of the point.

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