David Lynch's Festival of Disruption Disrupts Ace Hotel

David Lynch - Getty - H 2018
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The two-day fundraising event for the director's foundation, which promotes the practice of transcendental meditation, will feature a 'Twin Peaks' VR experience and indie rockers Mercury Rev.

David Lynch's Festival of Disruption returns to the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Oct. 13, offering a dizzyingly eclectic lineup of musicians, filmmakers and artists. All proceeds from the two-day event will go to the David Lynch Foundation (DLF), which works to eliminate trauma and toxic stress through Transcendental Meditation (TM), a form of mantra meditation developed by guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that Lynch has been practicing since the early 1970s.

According to DLF vice president and Festival of Disruption producer Erik Martin, the idea for the event manifested while brainstorming fundraising ideas in Lynch's kitchen over, of course, coffee and doughnuts. The name refers to a Mahesh quote: "Life is a festival of disruption."

Lynch is heavily involved in curation, resulting in a festival that attracts both fans of his work and aesthetic and devotees of meditation. Saturday morning, for instance, begins with a talk on meditation by psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal. A screening of Lynch's Wild at Heart and a talk with author Barry Gifford, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, follows. Other dayside events include a screening of the Grace Jones documentary Bloodlight and Bami, followed by a talk with Jones; a screening of Jack (1996) followed by a Q&A with director Francis Ford Coppola; poetry from Amber Tamblyn; a Twin Peaks panel featuring actors Michael Horse and Kimmy Robertson and producer Sabrina Sutherland; and a Q&A with Lynch himself.

Throughout the day, guests can check out a Twin Peaks VR experience from Collider Games and Showtime that places the viewer in the footsteps of Special Agent Dale Cooper. Festival of Disruption is the first time the experience will be open to the public. Lynch will also premiere a short film meant to coincide with the release of the lost Thought Gang album he and composer Angelo Badalamenti collaborated on in the '90s.

David O'Reilly's contemplative video game, Everything, is also available. Players navigate a world as a variety of entities, from a subatomic particle to a polar bear or an entire planet. Also on display is Fetish, a collaboration between Lynch and fashion designer Christian Louboutin in which the filmmaker has photographed models wearing bizarre, unwearable shoes designed by Louboutin.

Both days, two-day ticket holders may also enjoy a sound bath with music from Sigur Ros, combining the event's art and meditation themes.

Jonathan Cohen, who oversees talent booking, explains that the audience will enter a meditative space, located at the nearby Cooper Design Space, and lounge on the ground with yoga mats, pillows and blankets for the experience.

"Sigur Ros has taken elements of music they've previously released and completely reconfigured it, mashing things together, pulling different elements out, and then [band member] Jonsi vocally improvises right there in the moment," Cohen said.

The nights give way to music. "[Lynch] is not stuck in one style — he likes many, many forms of art and many styles," Martin says. "It's just sort of what hits him in the gut. He always says it's got to have the 'ring of truth,' and so those are the artists he picks, and it's cool to see they're in so many different disciplines.”

Indie rockers Mercury Rev will make a rare appearance, the Dover Quartet will play music from Twin Peaks, and Mike Patton has worked up something Lynchian with DJ QBert. RuPaul's Drag Race star Katya has put together a medley, in which she will perform Julee Cruise's "Falling" from Twin Peaks, "Blue Velvet," and "Llorando" from Mulholland Drive. RZA will offer a re-scoring of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, in which scenes from the kung-fu movie have been synched to Wu-tang tracks. Justin Johnson, a Nashville musician Lynch discovered on YouTube, will perform in the lobby.

Lynch fans may recognize some familiar faces wandering the fest and can also enjoy photo ops and themed food and drink from Ace's restaurants and bars. This includes the debut of Mikkeller's Wild at Heart-themed pale ale, Marietta Red.  

“At the end of the day, we are aiming to provide a real, in-person experience that gives the audience a sense of David's entire body of work — something that can be very immersive, something that can provide exposure to music or films they've never seen before," Cohen says. "Our main goal is to instill [Lynch's] awesome creativity into something people can come together and enjoy."

Festival of Disruption runs October 13 and 14 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Tickets start at $55.