Great Southern: Season Two is Upon Us

A quick chat with the organizer behind Richmond's "Twin Peaks" Festival this June.

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Actress Charlotte Stewart, who you may remember from "Eraserhead" and "Twin Peaks" alongside Great Southern supporter Ward Tefft of Chop Suey Books.
  • Actress Charlotte Stewart, who you may remember from "Eraserhead" and "Twin Peaks" alongside Great Southern supporter Ward Tefft of Chop Suey Books.

It's time to get weird again!

Time for all the local David Lynch fans to push aside that apple pie and coffee, grab a rotting human ear, and head out to celebrate.

Last year's inaugural Great Southern: A Twin Peaks Celebration was a hugely successful, four-day festival that offered a "neat" thrill for Lynch fans with too many highlights to recall here. This year, founder and organizer Andrew Blossom has lined up another exciting slate of events, guest stars and speakers for Great Southern: Season Two. (You can see the full schedule below.)

Presented by Movie Club Richmond and Video Fan Forever, the organizers do need to raise money online to help pay for this year's event. You can purchase a cool original t-shirt design by local artist Allison Boesch, depicting Glastonberry Grove at the moment Jupiter and Saturn meet, the curtain opens, and a Special Agent steps inside by clicking here.

Style will have more insight on the event the closer we get to its June 9 through June 12 festival dates.

Of course, Blossom is super busy these days, but we caught up with him by email to ask a few questions about this year's event.

Style Weekly: What are you most excited about this year?

Andrew Blossom: I'm excited about a lot of things! It's hard to narrow them down. Charlotte Stewart's reading at Chop Suey Books, for sure. She spoke last year about working on her memoir, so to be able to see it in print and have one of the very first readings here in Richmond makes a nice follow-up, and is also a real honor. She's such a wonderful person, and has been a part of so many amazing projects, Twin Peaks included.

Last year, the music by Big No and the Julee Cruise cover band was astonishingly great. What kinds of sounds can we expect this time around?

Silencio is coming from Pittsburgh to play at Balliceaux on the Friday night of the festival, which is big news. They're a terrific ensemble who perform the music of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, which makes the show a must for fans. But they also create beautiful, atmospheric original work. Everyone in town should come to this.

Who are some of the other guests joining you this year?

[Actress] Kimmy Robertson will join us again, which I'm thrilled about in general, but especially because she'll perform a set with Richmond musician Little Black Rain Clouds during Sunday's Afternoon Both Wonderful and Strange at Hardywood. What their performance will be, I can't say. It's a mystery! But I can't wait.

Also new this year, we'll have two panels featuring folks who write, blog and podcast about Twin Peaks. Among them are "Reflections" author Brad Dukes, who was here last year; Pieter Dom, who runs the Welcome to Twin Peaks blog; John Thorne, who founded Wrapped in Plastic, the original Twin Peaks fanzine; Scott Ryan, who hosts the Red Room Podcast; and authors David Bushman and Arthur Smith, from the Paley Center. It's a rare thing. You don't often see all these Twin Peaks braniacs together in one place, nor get to hear them talk about the legacy of the show, why they've built their lives around it.

What are the main ways it's going to be different this year?

After last year's event, we thought we might streamline things a bit, but you can look at the new schedule and see the opposite happened. We have more of everything: concerts, bands, movie screenings. Plus the brand new elements: a preview show, a short film program, a tarot reader, the panels.

It struck me the other day that this is in the spirit of "Twin Peaks"' second season, whose 25th anniversary we're celebrating. In its second year, "Twin Peaks" was longer, more complicated, more sprawling in its construction. It introduced new characters, went on tangents, got deeper into the mythology, fleshed out the shadow world behind the curtain. So we're honoring the spirit of that season, maybe even in spite of ourselves, but that means there'll be a whole lot of cool stuff for people to come out and do.

There you have it, folks.

I can attest this was a real blast year, with everything from exotic dancers and surreal visuals and sounds to a hilarious local costume contest. Also I spoke often with actresses Charlotte Stewart and Kimmy Robertson, both veterans of the "Twin Peaks" fest circuit, and they were highly complimentary of Richmond's effort. Here's a little amateur video I shot at Chop Suey with Kimmy discussing what it's like to be directed by David Lynch.

With the new "Twin Peaks" series for Showtime still filming (the full cast was only recently announced and includes just about everybody) interest in the series should reach a fever pitch by the time it airs in 2017. Which hopefully means next year's Great Southern will be totally Agent Cooper-dream-level insane. That is, sort of like Richmond Folk Fest, if people show up and support the project this year.

Here is the full 2016 schedule:

SUNDAY, JUNE 5: PREVIEW

7:00 PM. GREAT SOUTHERN PREVIEW SHOW. Strange Matter. Featuring BLUE VELVET, 1986, David Lynch. Presented by Movie Club Richmond. Plus! Live music from CHRISTI + LADY GOD.

THURSDAY, JUNE 9

4 PM - 7 PM. HAPPY GENERATIONS HAPPY HOUR. Ipanema Cafe. Featuring DJs SISTER GOLDEN HAZE & GREG DARDEN. Plus! Happy hour specials.

7 PM - 9 PM. ART OPENING: SEASON TWO. Mojo's Philadeli. Original artwork inspired by TWIN PEAKS.

8:30 PM. CONCERT FOR AGENT JEFFRIES. Gallery Five. In honor of David Bowie. Featuring live music from LIFE ON MARS + GULL. Prizes for best Agent Jeffries costumes.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10

1 PM - 3 PM. TWIN PEAKS LISTENING PARTY. Steady Sounds + Blue Bones Vintage. Music in the air. Plus! Free coffee and doughnuts.

4 PM - 6 PM. SHORT FILM PROGRAM. The Byrd Theatre.

Short films in the spirit of TWIN PEAKS, featuring

- Cathedral Park: Angie • 2016, Travis Blue

- A Voyage to Twin Peaks • 2016, Scott Ryan

- Flappy: Behind the Music in the Air • 2010, Matt Levinthal & Chris Mathews

- Mark of the Damned, Pt. 1 • 2004, Eric Miller

- Moon Over Crozet • 2004, Adam Wayland

6:30 PM. CHARLOTTE STEWART READING. Chop Suey Books. Charlotte Stewart reads & signs her new memoir, LITTLE HOUSE IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS.

Plus! PANEL DISCUSSION: "WRITING ABOUT TWIN PEAKS," with

- Charlotte Stewart, author, Little House in the Hollywood Hills

- Brad Dukes, author, Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks

- David Bushman & Arthur Smith, authors, Twin Peaks FAQ: All That's Left to Know About a Place Both Wonderful & Strange

- Scott Ryan, host, The Red Room Podcast; author, "Yeah, But the Monkey Says, Judy," from Fan Phemomena: Twin Peaks

- John Thorne, creator, Wrapped in Plastic; author, The Essential Wrapped in Plastic: Pathways to Twin Peaks

9:00 PM. SILENCIO. Balliceaux. Live music from SILENCIO, Pittsburgh's stunning Lynch & Badalamenti-inspired instrumental group.

SATURDAY, JUNE 11

11 AM - 2:30 PM. DAMN FINE (PIZZA) PIE BRUNCH. Dinamo. Seriously, a damn fine brunch. At menu prices.

ADDED: "The Mythology of Twin Peaks" and will take place at Hardywood on Saturday, June 11 at 2:00 pm, which is the same time the Craft Farm starts. Panelists will include the writers from the Friday panel, and the moderator will be Scott Ryan of the Red Room Podcast.

2 PM - 7 PM. BIG ED'S CRAFT FARM. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. Art & Craft Fair organized & presented by Curio Market. Plus! Hardywood's TWIN PEAKS-inspired craft beers.

8:00 PM. Outdoor Screening. Yesterday's Heroes Vintage. LAURA, 1944, Otto Preminger. Presented by Movie Club Richmond 10 PM - 2 AM. LATE NIGHT PEAKS. Don't Look Back. With food & drink specials. At menu prices. Plus! TWIN PEAKS Tarot

SUNDAY, JUNE 12

2 PM - 6 PM. AN AFTERNOON BOTH WONDERFUL & STRANGE. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Featuring live music from BIG NO + LODRO + LITTLE BLACK RAIN CLOUDS w/ KIMMY ROBERTSON.

Plus! TWIN PEAKS Costume Contest, judged by celebrity guests.

TWIN PEAKS Trivia Contest.

Celebrity signings. And Hardywood's TWIN PEAKS-inspired craft beers

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