Review: Wrapped in Plastic – A Twin Peaks Happening @ The Big Top

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The Butcher Girls of Love – Wrapped in Plastic, A Twin Peaks Happening
The Big Top, Church Street, Cardiff
Saturday 20th May 2017

Twin Peaks fans around the world are truly ecstatic that their show is finally back on the box for its third season. This iconic cult classic of the early 90s is the stuff of legend and is by far my favourite TV show.

For the past few months in Cardiff, I spotted posters mimicking themes from the show itself. The infamous slogan “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” and also “Bob, have you seen this man?” we’re slapped onto random lampposts in the city. I later realised that it was The Butcher Girls of Love bigging up their Twin Peaks celebration: Wrapped in Plastic. It has been a delight to know that people in The ‘diff care as about this show as much as this die hard Peaker does.

Through correspondence over the past few weeks, I plucked up the courage to be a part of the event. Dressing up as one of the show’s characters was a must, but who would I go as? Laura Palmer? Bob? Dale Cooper? I went with perhaps one of the fussier costumes and picked Margaret Lanterman, better known to us all as the Log Lady.

Looking like the Log Lady

Dashes to our city’s local thrift stores and fancy dress shops got me what I needed for this oddity dress wear. You start with a log (obviously), then pick brown cardigans, tweed shirts, brown wig et al. It’s some what difficult attire if you’re not used to the style. Amazingly it has come back in fashion. Getting ready to become her was an event in itself, with the help of good friend Tabitha, who I suggested dress as Special Agent Dale Cooper (basically black tie affair), the protagonist of the show. It’s the quickest costume in the show to emulate.

The log lady for Twin Peaks review

Walking from Canton into town as the Log Lady was hilarious. The looks you got from both drivers and pedestrians were clear and profound. I rarely do drag, though I did get into the spirit of things on the way there. A women on Womanby Street exclaimed to me “That’s bloody amazing!” as we passed through. I knocked and replied “My log does not judge”, one of many quotes I used on the night. She clearly knew who I was and that was greatly appreciated.

The Lynchian mood of The Big Top

The night itself spent at The Big Top was so committed to creating the Lynchian mood of Twin Peaks. The little touches went a long way: the fresh donuts, the costumes of The Butcher Girls themselves, the faithful cocktails on offer (a scrummy cherry Popper and less fun Hazelnut Espresso Martini) and the Laura Palmer dead makeover. The gambling theme of One Eyed Jacks in poker cards and a seedy, neon sign. Even the gum given out has the famous message “Agent Cooper – That gum you like” (is coming back into fashion).

Although the floor had sadly not the trippy black and white stripes we’ve come to know and love, there were lanterns in this style and the famous red curtains were up with weird bug/mountain logos suspended from the ceiling. Piped in was moody electronic music and fitting songs from the show. A collection of the shows best bits, as well as  footage from the films Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Missing Scenes and even Rabbits.

The Log Lady’s monologues

It hit me earlier in in the day that I would be first performing. I hand picked a few of the Log Lady’s monologues, that were added into the show during its reruns on Bravo. Big fans would know about these and they are a super addition to the show. Going through the words, I played synths on my keyboard, adding to the atmosphere of events.

The whole audience fell still and I was in my element. Some were laughing such was the bizarre nature of my delivery (I had assumed they were mega fans, but alas no) and the response of me playing part of the Laura Palmer Theme by Angelo Badalamenti were met with sighs of joy. This was a very kind audience and I was thrilled to introduce the band for the night: Thee Manatees.

Thee Manatees, Peaches and Cream & DJ Neufunkaum

Thee Manatees were the perfect musicians for the night, as their songs would not be out of place in Twin Peaks or any of Lynch’s cinema. The smoky, saloon like renditions of Shotgun Blues, Old Fashioned Morphine and Slow Grind Fever were a blissful and down right sexy set from three fantastic musicians. Even James’ ballad Just You and I, from the show was done.

Following on them was Peaches and Cream in two steamy burlesque numbers. It was like being at One Eyed Jacks and it helped maintain the dark, seedy undertones of the show. DJ Neufunkaum gave us a varied, excitable set, though more music in keeping with the themes would have been desirable.

The winner of best costume of the night was deservedly a women wrapped in plastic, as a tribute to Laura Palmer, who is found dead covered in layers of the stuff. Even though I was was both performing and reviewing, there is a little part of me that wanted to win, though there were plenty of little give aways to bury my sorrows in. I was a bit scared that a man had decided to dress as Bob, grey wig and all…

Perhaps the night was best summed up by Tabitha through verse:

Funky, trippy tracks
and themes all in line,
with Lynchian trueness.

Toasty donuts
and fashionable gum.
Log Lady fun
and Agent Cooper numb.

The night ended with Julie Crusie’s rendition of the Theme Song and the organisers danced and hugged, celebrating what was a wonderful night that won’t be forgotten in a long time.

One wait’s eagerly to see the new season. Because after all, “the owls are not what they seem.”

Outstanding tributes & a special night.

Twin Peaks returns on Sky Atlantic, Tuesday 23rd May at 9pm and then following Tuesdays. NOW TV is currently streaming the first four episodes of the new season.

Related articles and info:

Film Review: Mirror Mirror Series – Blue Velvet @ Chapter 

Archive: In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited @ Colston Hall

TV Horror: Resurrection – There’s More to Horror than Zombies and Stephen King

Things To Do

Photo Credits: The Butcher Girls of Love and author’s own

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