Dec. 6, 2007 by Susan Gawlowicz Follow Susan Gawlowicz on TwitterFollow RITNEWS on Twitter
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A. Sue Weisler | photographer
University Publications Web developer Jared Lyon, ’01 (B.S. information technology) co-organizes an annual festival in Washington state focusing on Twin Peaks.
Something interesting happened on television in the early 1990s: A quirky, creepy murder mystery called Twin Peaks came and went, creating a sensation and a cult following. Fans of the short-lived program had never seen anything quite like it and were not ready to let it go when it went off the air after 29 episodes.
The television series created by David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Eraser Head) and Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues) caught the attention of University Publications Web developer Jared Lyon when he was in eighth grade.
“I grew up in a small town, and I liked the idea that there was more happening in this boring town that I lived in than meets the eye, and that’s what Twin Peaks is all about,” says Lyon, who hails from Barton, Vt. “On the surface, it’s just this town where everyone likes coffee and cherry pie, but then there’s this whole underbelly and something evil coming from the woods.”
Lyon shares his fascination for the peculiar characters and the odd camera work characteristic of the program with an ardent fan base that meets each year in North Bend, Wash., the setting of the fictional town of Twin Peaks. Fans from all over the world meet for a weekend-long festival filled with bus tours (with Lyon as the tour guide), movie viewing, trivia games and a celebrity dinner.
In 2004, Lyon became a co-organizer of the annual Twin Peaks Festival and, tapping his professional skills, created a corresponding Web page, www.twinpeaksfest.com.
The festival, which began in 1993, draws approximately 100 fans each year. According to Lyon, nearly two-thirds of the attendees are first-time festival-goers. The recently released DVD set Twin Peaks—The Definitive Gold Box Edition includes a documentary about the festival, Return to Twin Peaks, which prominently features Lyon at the 2006 event.
“People say Twin Peaks is groundbreaking,” Lyon says. “What does groundbreaking mean to us now in 2007? Back then it was completely different. The most popular TV shows were Cheers, The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss? There was no Lost, Heroes, X Files. There was always the Twilight Zone. But Twin Peaks was one of a kind.”