City Paper is not for tourists
David Lynch may be a visionary, but a few “Lynchian” moments some drool over—Twin Peaks’ backward-dancing midget and Muholland Dr.’s gratuitous masturbation among them—are less cinematic signatures than half-baked surrealism. As Lost Highway proves, no man who casts Bill Pullman as a free-jazz saxophonist is infallible. It’s easy to dismiss the director’s public love affair with transcendental meditation as celebrity hooey, but his mini-autobiography, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity, is essential to understanding Lynch’s precious genius. Though not a field guide for the serious practitioner—complaints about Dune and enthusiasm for his latest film, Inland Empire, will keep Lynch’s work and the Buddhist classic Peace Is Every Step in different sections of the bookstore—Catching the Big Fish is a reader-friendly explanation of how an artist became captivated by a spiritual practice and how that practice informs his work. Lynch’s tidbits about his early career as a near-bankrupt-art-student-turned-auteur take on a Zen poetry; due to money troubles, he writes, a scene in Eraserhead features a character “on one side of a door, and it wasn’t until a year and half later that we filmed him coming through the other side of the door.” From a tight-lipped, willfully mysterious artisan, this offhand comment transcends mythmaking and enters the realm of memoir. Where else would one learn that Lynch conceived of Laura Palmer’s killer by watching his set dresser (Frank Silva, who went on to play the murderous Bob on Twin Peaks) move furniture? Lynch speaks at 6 p.m. at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. $12 (two tickets included with the purchase of Catching the Big Fish at Politics and Prose). (202) 364-1919.