We originally ran this piece on April 8, 2014, the anniversary of Twin Peaks debut on ABC. Today it was announced Twin Peaks will return to Showtime in 2016 for a nine-episode series.
Words by Legba Carrefour
Illustration by Brandon Weight
“The map is not the territory,” wrote philosopher Alfred Korzybski. His observation that our models of reality are often confused for the reality they purport to describe and that objects are always far from their representations inspired various members of the surrealist movement to show how we’re all trapped by language and abstraction. But are we? Because with Twin Peaks, the map *is* the territory. A place “a long way from the world,” its distance makes it a truly surreal place of oddball juxtapositions and unexpected twists that lay hidden in the subconscious.
What better territory to write the map of Twin Peaks onto than Washington, DC? We’re the center of a great and ancient power, primitive and winding, and entirely baffling to the simple natives, if they’re even unfortunate enough to rise to the level of consciousness to perceive the great darkness around them. Let Brightest Young Things pull back the Red Room’s curtains and take you on a tour of DC as David Lynch might have seen it had he been born here instead of Montana.
The Great Northern = Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill
Special Agent Dale Cooper’s “clean, reasonably priced accommodations” and home away from home in Twin Peaks might be found at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. You may not get that hint of Douglas Fir in the air and DC rates are a bit higher than what Sheriff Harry S. Truman can get you, but any hotel that hosts the annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend market is probably a safe bet.
Great Falls = White Tail Falls
The famous falls from the opening credits that lulls you to sleep with the majesty of nature–right before you find out that everything in the woods is trying to kill you. Our own White Tail Falls continues past Georgetown where you can spot the Three Sisters, the watery resting place of three Algonquian princesses who tragically tried to flee bad marriage arrangements. A ghostly bell is said to chime when the river is about to claim another soul.
Horne’s Department Store = Woodward & Lothrop, no longer in existence, at 11th and F NW
When not busy washing a miniature Elvis doll, Twin Peaks’ resident one percenter Benjamin Horne runs a department store that the little narcissist naturally named after himself, closely following the path of homegrown mega-department store Woodward and Lothrop. Laura Palmer worked the perfume counter, an employment center for teen hookers at One Eyed Jack’s, Horne’s favorite spot. Suffering through a mysterious fire in recent years, the building now plays host to a wax museum. You know what happens at wax museums after hours? Creepy shit, that’s what.
Twin Peaks Town Hall = Wilson Building
Watch the citizens of Twin Peaks enact their own version of Norman Rockwell’s painting “Freedom of Speech,” right up to the moment when you realize a creeping moral decay has undermined everyone right up to Mayor Dwayne Milford. Hey, isn’t our mayor about to get indicted? And doesn’t Councilmember Jim Graham kinda look like the log lady? But with bow ties instead of logs?
Twin Peaks High School = Sidwell Friends
David Lynch’s wry commentary on the great American high school drama that psychically anticipated 90210 can be found at Sidwell Friends, the place where privilege comes home to rot. Plenty of white kids doing blow? Check. And please, a school for presidents’ children? You know there a few dozen literal bodies buried somewhere around.
Twin Peaks Sheriff Station = 3rd District Police Station
We wish our own Metropolitan Police Department had a sense of down-home congeniality like Twin Peaks’ Sheriff Harry S. Truman. Well, right up to the point where he and his secret society pals are kidnapping suspected drug dealers and one-half of the staff (Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Brennan and secretary Lucy Moran) are certifiable simpletons. So maybe it’s all the same.
Hubert H. Humphrey FBI Building
Hey, doesn’t Agent Cooper work here? Maybe this doesn’t appear in the series proper, but it’s the federal institution that looms largest. And David Lynch would approve of its Brutalist exterior, an architectural style whose name alone conveys dread and that’s almost universally recognized as really fucking ugly. A good metaphor given Agent Cooper’s eventual disenchantment with the Bureau.
The Bookhouse = Masonic Temple
Secret society lodge for the Bookhouse Boys, the self-appointed defenders against the mysterious darkness that constantly threatens the tranquility of Twin Peaks. Or is the tranquility of Twin Peaks just a cover for the darkness in us all? Sounds complicated. Go ask the Masons. Entrance to the DC bookhouse just requires knowing the secret sign–an index finger drawn down the side of the face.
Double R Diner = Capitol City Diner
Owned an operated by one of the only decent people in the town, Norma Jennings the Double R is home to the best cherry pie in the tri-counties, which makes you miss the equally-decent-human-being Matt Ashburn’s old timey Capital City Diner. And once your full on pie, you can pop across the street to Jimmy Valentine’s, our Red Room.
Calhoun Memorial Hospital = DC General
Ronette Pulaski, after narrowly surviving the same attack that took Laura Palmer’s life stumbles across the state line, bringing Agent Cooper onto the case. Comatose, she’s taken to Calhoun Memorial Hospital, where the One-Armed Man (and earthly host of the Lodge spirit MIKE) is first spotted and Agent Albert Rosenfield gets to drill into Laura Palmer. In 1990, DC General was still open, filling the small town hospital role. These days it’s a scandal-plagued and rat-infested homeless shelter.
Ghostwood National Forest = Rock Creek Park
The sprawling forest to the east of Twin Peaks is the setting for drug deals, nighttime rendezvous between co-conspirators is just like DC’s Rock Creek Park (the largest in-city federal park in the United States). And just like Ghostwood, Rock Creek is filled with evil. Try Googling “bodies found in Rock Creek Park” and add a random year at the end. The results are distressing, especially when you get to the bit about the frequency of long-decayed corpses turning up now and then.
Glastonbury Grove = near Klingle Mansion in Rock Creek Park
The twelve young sycamore trees of Glastonbury Grove guard the secret entrance to the Black Lodge, a magical realm of spirits only accessible by committing the most brutal of murders. It’s no coincidence that Chandra Levy’s skeletal remains (our own Laura Palmer) were found here, years after her murder, with indications that she’d been bound to a twisted and gnarled tree that still stands in this unholy spot, just out of sight of the always-creepy Klingle Mansion, itself the likely home of insane ex-FBI agent and evildoer Windom Earle, who lurks in the forest, questing for the power of the Black Lodge.
Black Lodge = Various federal government locations
The psychotic ex-partner of Agent Cooper, Windom Earle said it best: “It’s a place of almost unimaginable power, chock full of dark forces and vicious spirits. And if harnessed, these spirits in this hidden land of unmuffled screams and broken hearts would offer up a power so vast that its bearer might reorder the Earth itself to his liking.” So, you know obviously the Capitol. And the White House. And the Supreme Court. And the IRS. And the Washington Monument. And a dozen or so lobbying firms. And hell, probably the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Transportation Safety Board, while we’re at it. Evil lurks everywhere, yet resists the confinement of the material plane, in this fair city of ours. The shadow-self of the White Lodge, you might easily meet your evil spirit-possessed doppelganger if you hang around one of these spots for too long.
Red Room = Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club
Like David Lynch’s extradimensional pathway to the Black and White Lodges, Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club in Trinidad’s sleazy decor and speakeasy vibe definitely makes it the kind of place where you might run into a 3’7″ neutral-good spirit who speaks backwards with a drunken lisp while hanging out with dead white girls and dispenses confusing advice to hapless wanderers who find their way inside.
White Lodge = ?
If there’s a White Lodge in DC, a place of “great goodness,” a place of absolute purity that spirits must pass through on the way to perfection, and “all within are compelled to do good without reason” we haven’t found it. Try talking to your favorite drug dealer or least evil priest. And if you find it, burn that saccharine Disneyland to the ground. Ew!
Where it all begins = Pick your own spot along the Potomac or the Anacostia
A simple lumberjack gone fishing spots a rumpled pile on the shore, only to discover the body of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, wrapped in plastic, white as a sheet, still beautiful. And with that launches the strangest line of moral inquiry that has ever graced our screens.
Giant Log = The Giant Chair in Anacostia
Twin Peaks has a giant log. We have a giant chair.
The Roadhouse = Black Cat
Twin Peaks is a full 250 miles away from the nearest major metropolis but still manages to have a forward-thinking music scene at The Roadhouse, a biker bar that somehow specializes in hypnagogic shoegaze and French Canadians selling cocaine to minors. You have to wonder how Julee Cruse got booked there but its patrons would be right at home at the Black Cat. And you know what we’d like to see at the Black Cat? A thirty-person bar brawl like the pilot’s. That would be pretty sweet to watch in the Red Room (not to be confused with Twin Peaks’ Red Room, shown elsewhere on this map).
White Tail Mountain = Malcolm X Park
On a lookout off White Tail Mountain, two young women frolic in a day so bright you can see the reflection of a creepy mystery figure filming them. Nostalgic home video taken by a passing hiker or a murderer? Mum’s the word, but you can make your own snuff film at Malcolm X Park, with its sweeping views of the city and teenagers frolicking (and smoking pot). Just don’t go after dark.
The Packard Sawmill = The Deauville, 3145 Mt Pleasant St NW
The Packard Sawmill was a bustling center of industry that made Twin Peaks a lumbertown. We might lack the trees, but the mysteriously burned out hulk of The Deauville apartment building in Mt. Pleasant is all too reminiscent of the fire-gutted remains of the sawmill. Twin Peaks lost its industrial base and Mt. Pleasant lost one of the last cheap places in NW to live.
Owl Cave = Wall of Fame, it’s across the street from the Treasury Building and the Holocaust Museum under a bridge
Law enforcement discovers an ancient cave, once inhabited by the indigenous people of the area. Otherwordly petroglyphs adorn the walls, suggesting what? A map of the city? But the language is too primitive and raw to understand. Is this Twin Peaks? Nope, it’s the Wall of Fame, a graffiti wall under a bridge and over a set of train tracks, and the kind of strange place spirits reside.
Welcome to Twin Peaks sign = Welcome to DC sign on route 50
Welcome to our city! Where our earnest hospitality belies a quiet struggle to find humanity in a world where morality becomes impossible in the face of so much darkness, a tension that erupts into the most shocking acts of violence. And where a certain minority of people inexplicably wear running shoes with their professional work attire while taking public transit.
Sparkwood & 21 = 14th & U
Laura Palmer is last seen alive on a motorbike at this intersection shortly before an extreme and confusing set of mood swings leads her to flee her companion and disappear into the night, never to be seen again but as a corpse.
Railroad Car = Deanwood Metro Stop, there’s a CSX track switching station there and it’s on the border with Maryland AND there’s a rickety ass bridge like the one where Ronette is found
A young woman in shreds of clothing staggers without comprehension across across a trestle bridge that straddles the state line. It’s Ronette Pulaski and the investigation from there leads to the train yard where Laura Palmer was twice bound (“Sometimes my arms bend back”) and murdered. The Deanwood CSX crew change point is a popular destination for train hoppers and, no doubt, malevolent spirits bent on doing harm to our precious young.
One Eyed Jack’s = A brothel in bumfuck NE DC
Our friends to the north hog all the health care and the hookers in Twin Peaks, at this casino and brothel just across the border in British Columbia. The ever-scrupulous Canadians (FACT: Every single Canadian in the show is scum) cater to Twin Peaks bigwigs and foreign businessmen recruiting high school kids directly from local department store salesgirls. DC’s got it’s own One Eyed Jack’s, a full-fledged brothel nestled in Northeast near the border with Maryland. Well, we
haven’t read the Yelp! reviews but if a dozen women are standing on a porch in bras at 4am on a Sunday with a parking lot full of suburban license plates, it sure as hell ain’t church. If that’s your (scum)bag, go see if Blackie O’Reilly will flip a coin for you.