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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.


Actually that's the totally bastardized Extended version of Dune.
The original version says David Lynch but the studio censored and recut his movie and called it the "extended version". They took out all the super creepy harkonen parts and replaced the narration track, so lynch took his name off of the rerelease. how about Blue Velvet?

JVB | July 1, 2007 12:37 AM

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