AN EXHIBITION BY ALAN SMITHEE
JUNE 30, 2007 12:21 PM



Last week at work we found a season one box set of Twin Peaks left behind by a previous intern. It's been about four years since I've watched the series in its entirety - needless to say, long enough to watch it again. So now, my one hour long lunch breaks are spent at home watching an episode.

Ironically, North Adams (where I am living for the summer) totally reminds me of Twin Peaks. It's not fair to say that Twin Peaks is just any small town, U.S.A. Like Twin Peaks, North Adams has its charm and everyone knows everyone (right now I am sitting at the up-to-date equivalent of the R&R, called Cup and Saucer). Aside from the small town's niceties - it can be creepy as hell. This small town is surrounded by hills and those hills have eyes. I'm not the only one that seems to make an analogy between North Adams and Twin Peaks:

"Looking at photos of MASS MoCA and the city of North Adams reminded me of how much I grew to love the place during my stay. It’s an odd city, reminding me of Twin Peaks when I first arrived, but it really grows on you and I was feeling strangely sad and wistful until I came across an article that provoked the uncanny prickings of Tears of Strangeness."- from The Big City

While watching these episodes I keep saying things like, "shit! that's that dude from Crossing Jordan - what?" (Miguel Ferrer who plays FBI Agent Albert Rosenfeld) or "FUCK! That's totally Agent Mulder as a transvestite!" (David Duchovny as Agent Dennis). But the biggest mindfuck for me was realizing that Kyle Maclachlan (a.k.a. Agent Cooper) played Paul Usul Muad'Dib Atreides in the movie Dune. When I was younger, my dad and brother and I would come back early from our grandparents house in Indiana after Christmas or Thanksgiving. The weekend free of mom and sister would consist of watching bad science fiction and action movies and Dune was always in the lineup. While watching Dune, I remember realizing Patrick Stewart from Star Trek was in it and Sting - of course. But Kyle fucking MacLachlan - Twin Peaks! Dune! Sex in the City?? Desperate Housewives!??!

I brought this discovery up with my boss - who is about 10 years older than me and most likely made this connection 10 years ago. He also pointed out that in fact David Lynch also directed Dune, but in the original credits it was listed as being directed by Alan Smithee. Totally confused, my boss explained the premise of "Alan Smithee":

"Alan Smithee, Allen Smithee, Alan Smythee, and Adam Smithee are pseudonyms used between 1968 and 1999 by Hollywood film directors who wanted to be dissociated from a film for which they no longer wanted credit. It was used when the director could prove to the satisfaction of a panel of members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers that the film had been wrested from his or her creative control. The director was also required to keep the reason for the disavowal a secret. The pseudonym could not be used to hide a director's failures." -from Wikipedia

After learning about Mr. Smithee - it made all the more sense how to solve the problem regarding the Christof Buchel exhibition at Mass MoCA that I mentioned previously -- Training Ground for Democracy an exhibition by Alan Smithee.


Comments (1)

WICKED HUGE
JUNE 24, 2007 1:16 PM

I've been living in the small town North Adams, MA since June working at Mass MoCA and will be here until the end of August. The museum has been under the watchful eye of the art world due to the Buchel controversy. There are a lot of people blogging about the situation - the Art Law Blog seems to be the most comprehensive. The blog's author has also offered pro bono services to Buchel during the trial, which will begin the first week in July. The NY Times also featured an article about the Spencer Finch exhibition currently in the galleries.

Western Massachusetts is a weird place - small towns scattered in small valleys connected by old Indian trails almost impossible to pronounce. Yesterday I spent the time climbing Spruce Hill with some new friends. Apparently, Savoy State Forest is black bear country - before our ascent we discussed the dos and don'ts when encountering a bear, as well as [now extinct] giant sloths and giant land beavers. Unfortunately, we did not meet this time. Another missed connection

It's nice to be out of the city and see mountains instead of skyscrapers. The descent was much easier and was followed by swim across a mountain pond, followed by a dinner of fish and chips and BBC. After dinner we went to see the former front man of Polaris, the fictional band from the TV show Pete and Pete.

I wonder if it's horrible to reduced to a theme song of a kids show whenever you perform. Are you allowed to be a serious musician after that? I don't think this bothered Mark Mulcahy. He spent the first 15 minutes of his "encore" talking about weed from Amsterdam and other mumblings. And then played "Hey Sandy," the theme song from Pete and Pete. The song sounded barely familiar, even though I watched the show constantly when it aired. Though, the song did bring back memories of the dancing woman tattoo.


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