If The Empire Strikes Back was the cultural flash point for a teenage Generation X in the 80s, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) was omega to its alpha, the herald of young adulthood for the generation’s maturing art-school subset. And unlike George Lucas, once Lynch had captured those imaginations, he never really let go. So when the foremost practicing surrealist in American film holds forth on consciousness, creativity, and his own oeuvre–as he does in his new book Catching the Big Fish (Tarcher/Penguin)–it can be a bit of a mind fuck for the thirtysomethings who grew up on him. The parsing of his personal dream logic resonates with images he’s hardwired into the collective unconscious over the years, as though he were sticking his fingers into tailor-made holes in your head. The big news lately regarding Lynch is his new openness about his longstanding practice of Transcendental Meditation and his abandonment of film for digital video, and both subjects figure strongly in the book. As for Lynch on Lynch, the notoriously against-interpretation artist offers only enigmatic clues to the enduring mysteries of his corpus. But there are fascinating tidbits about the genesis of “Bob” in Twin Peaks, Dean Stockwell’s rendition of “In Dreams” in Blue Velvet, the biblical “key” to Eraserhead, and, contrary to critical proclamation, Lynch’s love of Hollywood–for the quality of its sunlight. a Fri 1/26, 7:30 PM, Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North, 312-951-7323.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Richard Dumas.