RIT Web Developer Keeps Twin Peaks on the Map

Jared Lyon co-organizes annual festival for fans of the 1990s television program

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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.

Hard-core Twin Peaks fans will meet in North Bend, Wash.—the shooting location of the fictional town—July 25-27 for the 16th annual weekend-long Twin Peaks Festival. Featured events include bus tours, movie viewing, trivia games and a celebrity dinner and Q-and-A session with James Marshsall (“James Hurley”), Charlotte Stewart (“Betty Briggs”) and Don S. Davis (“Major Briggs”).

The festival draws approximately 100 fans each year with about two-thirds new attendees, says Jared Lyon, conference co-organizer and a Web site developer at Rochester Institute of Technology’s University Publications. He also created the Twin Peaks Festival Web site.

Lyon anticipates a rise in attendance following the fall 2007 release of the DVD set Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition, which includes a documentary about the 2006 festival, Return to Twin Peaks, featuring Lyon.

The edgy mystery created by David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Eraserhead) and Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues) captured viewers with its eccentric characters, quirky camera angles and evocative music. The modest logging town of Twin Peaks was not all it seemed to be.

“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,” Lyon says. “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 adds: “People say Twin Peaks is groundbreaking,” Lyon says. “What does groundbreaking mean to us now in 2008? Back then it was completely different. The popular TV shows were Cheers, The Cosby Show, Who’s the Boss? There was no Lost, Heroes, X Files. Of course, there was always the Twilight Zone, but Twin Peaks was still one of kind.”

For more information, contact Jared Lyon at twinpeaksfest@gmail.com or go to http://www.twinpeaksfest.com.

Note: Audio available for this story