Not Your Average Home Movie: Twin Peaks Live From New York
By Connor Smith
I first saw Twin Peaks live on New Years Eve 2014 at a DIY venue in Chicago called Young Camelot. The venue was built out of a former church. It was a not-so-secret, secret that Twin Peaks would be playing after midnight. The whole show that night was full of anticipation, sweat, and booze. The old church was filled up with young people, smoke, and sweat. As the clock struck midnight some people kissed each other, others sprayed bottles of champagne, and Twin Peaks came out and played the loudest hardest-hitting show I’d ever seen.
Two months later, the Young Camelot space is closed down by the City of Chicago. And Twin Peaks is my new favorite band.
Fast forward to 2017:
I see that Twin Peaks is coming back from a tour in Europe and is going to be playing Webster Hall in New York. After immediately buying two tickets, I thought… damn… someone has to film this show. Headlining a show at Webster Hall for the first time is like… important. But important is a bad word. The second you say “this is important,” the project is dead.
I had seen a lot of good recordings of Twin Peaks on Youtube, but what would be cooler than to shoot on shitty cameras with no tripods from the middle of the audience. A kind of video that might actually capture what it feels like to be at a Twin Peaks' show.
So I got drunk with my friend Kevin Mathein who also makes movies. And I decided that I wanted to record the show with shitty old DV cameras placed in the audience. Kevin immediately thought it was a great idea, which is why we are friends.
I used my friend’s mom’s home movie camera from the 90’s. Kevin used a camera he bought for $7 at a used electronics store in Brooklyn.
We only sort of had permission to film.
Everyone in the crowd seemed to know all the words. Boys, girls, and everything-in-between were pushing against each other. I was in the second row getting pushed around with the camera in my hand. When they moved, I moved. Kevin was a little further back in the crowd and managed to get a steady shot. In the middle of a song, he would flip on an infrared light and get these surreal green-hued shots of the crowd.
We had two more shooters up in the balcony. Johnny Frohman was given the worst of the cameras and asked to shoot whatever he felt like. And Ryan Mcglade covered the wide master shots on his even older Hi-8 camera. His camera has these beautiful scan lines on the right side of the frame. I love it.
Half our audio setup got taken apart by a bouncer right as Twin Peaks was coming on stage. They just unplugged it. There was nothing we could do since we were buried in the middle of the crowd. Luckily they didn’t see the other half of our setup.
Someone once told me, “in the film industry, there are some things you do for your reel, and some things you do for a meal.” I would add that sometimes you get to do things for no good reason except that you want to.
We went and got drunk on cheap beer at the Sly Fox afterwards. A good end to any story.
Watch the outcome below:
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