The Music of David Lynch
April 1, 2015
The Theater at The Ace
Downtown Los Angeles, California
In the ten years since he started the eponymous David Lynch Foundation to spread his beloved practice of transcendental meditation to over half a million students, veterans, and survivors of domestic abuse, David Lynch also worked on side projects ranging from photo exhibitions to launching a coffee brand, making this the busiest decade of the director’s life…aside from directing. After all, his last narrative feature film, 2006’s Inland Empire, is nearing its tenth anniversary, too.
As fans lined up for The Music of David Lynch at the Theater at the Ace Hotel, then, one question seemed to unite lifelong diehards and curious newcomers: “Is this as close as we’ll ever get to a new Lynch film?”
The eclectic sequence of performers was so unusually assembled that it created an appropriately surreal atmosphere. Opening with longtime Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti playing piano on his iconic Twin Peaks theme, seguing through Donovan’s eerie Elvis cover and Tennis’s gentle take on Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” and rising in energy with Moby’s Badalamenti-sampling, conga drum-pounding “Go,” the night closed with Duran Duran unexpectedly belting “Hungry Like the Wolf,” which even film snobs can’t help but dance to.
Naturally, the highlights throughout were moments of peak weirdness: Karen O’s electrifying, gasping performance of “Pinky’s Dream” from Lynch’s 2011 album Crazy Clown Time; Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, lit hauntingly by worklight a la Blue Velvet, created ambience from Eraserhead samples while reciting Elephant Man’s closing poem; and Rebekah del Rio received a standing ovation for her gorgeous performance of “Llorando,” her signature song from Mulholland Drive (though Lynch fans were also clapping for feeling like they’d entered their idol’s film). Lynch even rewarded his long-waiting cult with a new short film, “The Three R’s,” which laments the standardized stress his foundation hopes to reduce in America’s education system.
Ultimately, though not quite a substitute for the auteur’s transcendent cinema, the night walked a fitting tightrope between freaky and functional: part celebration, part benefit, altogether a suitably dream-like blur of influences and influencers.
To learn more about The David Lynch Foundation and donate, visit davidlynchfoundation.org.