Blue Velvet: The Unheard of Prequel to Twin Peaks

By Anya Geiling

Have you ever heard of the infamous director, writer, actor, and musician, David Lynch? He was the brains behind many cult classics, including Dune and both seasons of Twin Peaks. You might have heard of Twin Peaks, but have you ever seen Blue Velvet?

 Blue Velvet was released in 1986 as a mystery/crime drama. The main actors were: Kyle MacLachlan (later starring in Twin Peaks), Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Dean Stockwell. The movie has the song, “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton as the main theme song. 

To begin, the movie starts with college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) coming home after finding out his father experienced a stroke. After walking in a field one day, Beaumont finds a severed ear and teams up with the detective’s daughter, Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), to solve the mystery. They suspect the beautiful singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), to be connected with the case. Beaumont then finds himself drawn to Dorthy’s confusing life, leading to the encounter with psychopath Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). 

This leads into Lynch’s cinematography. From the beginning of the movie, Lynch creates a surreal picture for the audience. Most of his work has been dubbed “Lynchian”, and is characterized because of its adoring imagery. His color pallets also vary. He uses warm and cool colors to determine the mood of a scene, which makes the show more enjoyable for viewers. 

Additionally, David Lynch uses old songs throughout Blue Velvet and transforms them into psychopathic rhythms. For example, in the beginning scenes, Lynch presents the movie as a picture-perfect town, along with the song “Blue Velvet” sung in a very dream-like way. This seems to set the expectations for the film, but in reality it turned out to be very different from that picturesque fantasy. Later on in the movie when Dennis Hopper meets Dean Stockwell, Dean sings part of the song,“In Dreams” by Roy Orbison. One of the lyrics read, “In dreams I walk with you… In dreams you’re mine all the time”. These lyrics are meant to be for lovers, but Lynch twists them to correspond with his character’s lunatic actions. 

This movie is the unheard of prequel to Twin Peaks. From the beginning of the film, many parts felt familiar. To start off, the town is a logging town just like Twin Peaks was, and the characters were played by many of the same actors. I see this film as the life behind Dale Cooper. There is never any mention of his past, and this movie fills in that void. Laura Dern’s character also has significance later on when Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) came out.

I definitely recommend watching Blue Velvet and diving deep into the world David Lynch creates. You will truly be amazed!

The Roaming Black Hole

By Anya Geiling

Astronomers have identified 13 massive wandering black holes in dwarf galaxies less than 1 billion light-years from Earth (siliconrepublic.com). One of them, called B3 1715+425, started out normal. Now, it’s hurtling through space at 2,000 kilometers per second. 

To begin, a black hole is a place in space where gravity is so strong that nothing leaves it. Not even light can escape from this gravitational monster. Black holes have a radius at roughly 12 million kilometers. Earth has a radius of 3,958.8 miles. That is a dramatic difference. 

Ok, but let’s get back to the black hole on the run. B3 1715+425 started out just like any other black hole with a galaxy full of stars around it. Astronomers, however, have proved otherwise. The black hole was stripped, essentially naked, bolting through space at astronomical speeds. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down. 

This black hole in particular is supermassive, which in definition can be millions or billions times larger than our Sun. Black holes are commonly found to be at the center of most galaxies (ours included). James Condon, a lead researcher from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory stated that this roaming black hole instead fled from its larger galaxy and left a trail of debris behind it. But what happened to B3 1715+425’s galaxy? Why did it disappear?

It turns out that galaxies collide. When they do, the black holes at the center of each galaxy combine and become one larger mass. When B3 1715+425 had a galaxy, it seemed to have collided with a much larger galaxy, therefore a much larger black hole. Instead of coming together, the larger black hole destroyed B3 1715+425’s galaxy. B3 1715+425 managed to escape and is slowly losing the stars that feed it. All of this happened over millions of years ago. As of now, B3 1715+425 is still hurtling through space. If it comes our way, we’re in big trouble. 

What Jobs will We Have in the Future?

By Anya Geiling 

With technology advancing by the hour, it is hard to picture our upcoming years as a species. By 2022, 60% of all U.S. companies expect to be using AI or advanced automation to support efficiency in operations, staffing, budgeting or performance (Genesys). If the majority of work is taken over by a computer, what jobs will you and I have in the future?  

To begin, apart from realizing that technology will essentially take over the world, let’s start with the process before humans try to make ends meet. College. College is more important now than ever to even apply for a job. Nowadays, most people are actually overqualified for their job due to the shortage of job openings. Therefore, let’s now talk about even earning a college degree. 

College tuition this day and age is unbelievable. Ivy leagues range from $50-$60,000 a year, and regular public universities are anywhere from $21,000 in-state to $30,000 out of state. These costs put students in debt, and make them rely on financial aid. There are no better options for the middle class, in which there are few scholarships that can provide help to those families. With larger pools of applicants each year due to a boom in population around the world, going to one’s dream college seems to be becoming obsolete.  

But let’s just say you do go to college. What happens next? You apply to multiple corporations, schools, hospitals, etc. Resumes get tossed around and you anxiously await the decision that can change your life forever. Accordingly, 3,000 other people applied to the same position you wanted and had the exact same credentials. This is what is hurting our society today; there are too many people and not enough jobs to go around. 

Our species is creating its own downfall– we create AI to take away more jobs from people which then leads to an increase in crime. Increased crime rate equals drug use, and drug use equals the downfall of that town. Fights, riots, and corrupted rulers arise from those areas, resulting in the destruction of the whole nation. 

Education is necessary for any species to survive, from animals to creatures of the sea. Without utilizing our great gift of cognitive learning, we wouldn’t be where we are today. But now, we are using that tool meant for survival to help the rich get richer. This is because using AI means less money spent by the owner, in which only 5 staff will be hired instead of 50. Where do those 45 other people work? What will they do to support their families?

I hope this topic is looked upon more as we realize we are in for a ride when it comes to advancement in technology. Just think about what you will do in the future and how you can fulfill that goal, because there are millions of others thinking about that same exact thing. 

A Real Review: It’s Bruno!

By Anya Geiling    

While scrolling through Netflix one night with my family, we came across the “Hidden Gems” section. After viewing the ad for It’s Bruno! we were immediately hooked. After watching the first episode, we were shocked as to where the series was filmed…

Released in 2019 on Netflix, as an 8 episode series, this charming, and heartwarming story made viewers go nuts. This show features a man named Malcolm, and his beloved dog, Bruno. The storyline is set in Bushwick, Brooklyn, however, they filmed many scenes in Ridgewood, Queens, where I grew up. It stars Solvan Naim, the creator, scriptwriter, director, and producer of the show. Each episode is only 15 minutes long, but this makes it easy to binge-watch and to enjoy viewing multiple times. 

Now, as a person whose family lived in Queens all our lives, seeing the show made our keen eyes come to a halt. For example, in one episode, Malcolm is standing in front of a Chinese restaurant and talking to someone. We would occasionally order take-out from there! They then filmed near the Queens Public Library in Ridgewood, and at Rosemary’s Playground beneath the M train. These are places I am familiar with, and I was elated to spot my neighborhood on screen. 

With comedy, cuteness, and mischief, this series earned 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. As of February 9, 2021, the series has not been canceled or renewed for a second season. Hopefully, they can create another great season!

Walter Tevis

By Anya Geiling    

Unacclaimed author Walter Tevis was a master writer of scientific and realistic fiction. Dying only at the age of 56, he created just some of the masterpieces out in our world today.

  Tevis was born on February 28, 1928, in San Francisco CA. From an early age, he was diagnosed with a rheumatic heart condition and had to be placed in the Stanford Children’s Convalescent Home for a year. While he stayed there, his family moved back to Kentucky; Walter traveled home to Kentucky at age 11 all alone on a train. 

Fast forward a couple of years, Tevis made friends with Toby Kavanaugh, a fellow high school student. He learned to shoot pool in the Kavanaugh mansion in Lawrenceburg. There was a library there, which is where he read science fiction for the first time. Kavanaugh and Tevis remained lifelong friends, and later Kavanaugh became the owner of a pool room in Lexington. This event would then have an impact on Tevis’ writing.

Tevis’ most popular books consisted of: The Hustler (1959), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1963), Mockingbird (1980), Far From Home (1981), The Queen’s Gambit (1983), and The Color of Money (1984). Four of his novels were converted to movies or mini-series. The Hustler was made into a movie in 1961 which earned many awards, and The Color of Money was transformed during 1986. One cult-classic, The Man Who Fell to Earth, was created in 1976. It featured David Bowie as Thomas Newton, the main character. He was an alien who came to Earth searching for water to save his home planet. 

Just recently, on October 23, 2020, the drama miniseries: The Queen’s Gambit, was released on Netflix. This was long after Tevis died (1984), so people asked, why? Well, believe it or not, there has been a film adaptation being made for this book since 1983. The main director was going to be Heath Ledger! Harmon was set to be Ellen Page, and the story related to Heath’s personal life. The project was closed due to Ledger’s tragic death in 2008. 

After watching The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Queens Gambit, I was curious to find out who created these wonderful scripts. Usually, people would know the writer right away, but in this case, I had to dig deep because I had never heard of him before. I just wanted to bring attention to a great author; be sure to check his work out!

Unmentioned Bands

By Anya Geiling

As we sit at home, music can be a way to escape. For many people, it is therapeutic. That is why I wanted to share some of my favorite underrepresented bands.

 At the top of my list is Holy Motors. They are a band from Tallinn Estonia and were formed in 2013. Singer/songwriter, as well as guitarist Lauri Raus, brought in vocalist/songwriter Eliann Tulve to the band when she was just 16 years old. She came from a musical family and sang in a choir when she was young. To complete the lineup, guitarist Gert Gutmann and drummer Caspar Salo were included. Their name, Holy Motors, came from the hallucinatory 2012 film by Leos Carax. 

This band has been around for 8 years, but they only soon started to release albums that really made fans drawn in. Along with Wharf Cat Records (where I bought their albums), in 2015 they released a debut single called Heavenly Creatures/Running Water. Another single, Sleepryder came in early 2017. In February of 2018, they reunited with Cox to record their album, Slow Sundown. This earned critical acclaim: the Debut Album of the Year at the Estonian Music Awards. 

Recently, in October 2020, the album Horse was released by Wharf Cat Records. Not too long ago this album was nominated for Alternative/Indie Album of the Year at the Estonian Music Awards! The first time my father and I heard one of their songs from this album was while driving and listening to WFMU. The song is called Life Valley (So Many Miles Away) and it sticks to us even today. It is an instrumental piece that includes reverb, a not-so-common technique used by many bands. Its individuality really differentiated it from the rest of today’s societal norms. Therefore, when we got home, I quickly researched the band and immediately became attached. With only 162 subscribers on YouTube, I was shocked to see how underrepresented the band actually was. Here is the link to a live session I absolutely love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfVIbngccrU. I definitely recommend checking them out, and you should support them!

Second, on my list is Undersea Poem. The duo, Chris Root and Juju Stulbach, had previously been part of an American-Brazilian band named Mosquitos, which they had left in 2007. With only 23 subscribers on YouTube, they have created songs since 2009. They have 2 albums: Washing Away Yesterday and Undersea Poem. My personal favorite songs from the Undersea poem album are What Makes Me Happy and You you you. These songs are dreamy and will bring you to another world. 

I really hope you tune in on these truly remarkable bands! Thank you!