Saturday, May 3, 2008
Coming to the Rescue: David Lynch
And now, coming to save education in America, the only man who can make television scary -- but in a good way -- a man whose reputation is preceded only by his hair: The brilliant DAVID LYNCH!
I finally made it to DAVID LYNCH WEEKEND at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM), in Fairfield, Iowa last weekend. I had been to Fairfield several times before, to swing dance with Frankie Manning, as a stopover on the way to the Grant Wood American Gothic House, and to drink warm green goo at MUM (as I see it, one tiny step on the way to enlightenment, and a step I am willing to try).
This year, the weekend attracted the general mix of budding filmmakers, transcendental meditators, some that fell into both groups, and me and my friend Dave Henderson, the awkward third party of befuddled watchers. Most people there were students and practitioners of TM (Transcendental Meditation), not just a holdout from your parents' hippie days but a thriving movement in itself. Ostensibly, the weekend event is designed to introduce prospective students to the benefits of TM in the education setting, but it is quickly becoming a Midwest cultural event: MTV and Rolling Stone showed up this year, and if that's not legitimization from the coasts...
We couldn't afford the entire weekend package but slipped in with the $10 Saturday ticket, which got us into the event where Lynch answered questions about filmmaking and TM for an hour and a half and for the hour-long presentation by quantum physicist John Hagelin -- whom you might know from everyone's favorite stoner comedy What the Bleep Do We Know.
I've had my doubts about TM. I don't think that a single writer who has attempted to jump down the rabbit hole that is Fairfield has come close to explaining the place for what it is (although Gary Lee in the WP came close). For what is essentially a peace movement, TM is closely linked to entrepreneurial spirit. They'll teach you how to engage your whole mind, reach infinite bliss, and foster creativity in the farthest realms of your being -- for thousands of dollars!
I have to admit, that while listening to Dr. Haglin, I was moved to contemplate a laundry list of old projects that I just haven't gotten to yet. I might not have reached the universal field at which an individual can tap into a creative bursts of energy, but I was, in an instant, suddenly inspired to do some things I have put off for a long time. I'd even pay $12 for that.
We lunched at Revelations, almost hit Donovan while driving through town, and barely made it to the showing of The Straight Story at MUM. Now that I've been living in Iowa for two years, I understand that film so much better than the first time I saw it, in German, in a Munich theater, in 1999. Ironically, I hit a deer while driving the exact same highway (Rt. 18 West towards Fredericksburg) as the woman in the film.
And although it wasn't required for admission, here is David's new haircut, a la Lynch: