Richmond’s strangest festival, the Great Southern, opened in 2015. Its initial success, combined with the efforts of festival founder Andrew Blossom, has resulted in a sequel.
The second festival will feature a variety of thematically appropriate events for four days, as well as a number of guests including series stars Kimmy Robertson (“Lucy Moran”) and Charlotte Stewart (“Betty Briggs”).
Also on the guest list are David Bushman and Arthur Smith, co-authors of “Twin Peaks FAQ,” which hit shelves May 1. Style spoke with Bushman and Smith about the origins of the book, how they began their collaboration, and what their expectations are for the return of “Twin Peaks” when the series’ new episodes make their debut on Showtime in 2017.
Style: Was “Twin Peaks FAQ” already in the works prior to the announcement that more episodes of the series were in the pipeline?
Bushman: We had submitted a bunch of ideas to Applause [Theater and Cinema Books], and “Twin Peaks” was on that list, but the first thing they asked us to do was something on superheroes. But there was some concern about the whole issue of licensing the images and it didn’t work, so we went back to them and said, “Is there anything else on the list that we sent you that appeals to you?” When we originally submitted the list, there was no news about a third season, but by the time we went back to them, their response was, “Well, you know, ‘Twin Peaks’ has suddenly shot up to the top of our list!”
What were your levels of “Twin Peaks” fandom when you started the book? Were you both diehards?
Smith: I’d say so. I certainly was in the first blush of “Twin Peaks” mania. Back then, I was fully involved as a freshman in college. I was a huge burgeoning film fan, really fascinated with David Lynch’s stuff, and superexcited to see what he was going to bring to television, so I was perfectly primed for the “Twin Peaks” experience at the time. And it’s stayed with me over the years as a touchstone of the greatest entertainment made in the 20th century. I don’t think my enthusiasm for it ever really waned, and I think David likewise has always remained a fan.
You both work for the Paley Center for Media in New York. What was the impetus that led to deciding to collaborate as authors?
Smith: Well, writing is a big part of our work here, and I actually started working directly for David in the mid-1990s, so I think over the years we’ve become very familiar with each other’s writing styles and tastes. This is one of the things that we’re both very passionate about, and I think we figured our approach and styles would complement each other well on a project like this. David’s a highly trained journalist, and he’s great with research and organization and all that sort of stuff, and I’m maybe a little more impressionistic or interpretive and maybe come at it from a slightly more intuitive direction. But I think those two approaches kind of buttress each other and complement each other very well.
Do either of you have a favorite “Twin Peaks” factoid that you learned in the process of compiling the book?
Smith: I didn’t know that Lynch and [composer] Angelo Badalamenti had come together as a result of Badalamenti giving Isabella Rossellini singing lessons. And that turned into such a profound and fruitful collaboration between the two of them. That’s kind of an interesting tidbit.
Bushman: There were really so many, and I’m hard-pressed to identify any one as the single most fascinating: that Louise Dombrowski was played by David Fincher’s sister; that Audrey Horne didn’t have a single line in the original pilot; that a whole scene purportedly involving Josie in the Red Room was filmed with a body double but never used. ... Take your pick. I could go on and on!
So what are your thoughts about the new episodes of “Twin Peaks”? Are you guys raring to go, or cautiously optimistic?
Bushman: Knowing that Lynch and [co-creator Mark] Frost are actually involved in every episode makes it a very exciting proposition. They’re not just reviving the franchise and handing it off to somebody. They’re actually making more of their show.
Smith: Oh, yeah, I’m totally optimistic about it. I have tremendous confidence in David Lynch. I think at best it’ll be amazing and great, and at worst it’ll still be incredibly interesting. S
The second annual Great Southern is held June 9-12 at various locations. Authors David Bushman and Arthur Smith will be part of a panel at Chop Suey Books at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 10. They’ll also be a part of Big Ed’s Craft Farm on Saturday, June 11, from 2-7 p.m., at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. For information, visit thegreatsouthernrva.com.