Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

Update and Quick “Ghost” Story…

My most favorite time of year is just around the bend!

Oh, who’m I kidding, it is DEFINITELY already here.  With the Halloween season comes ghosts, goblins, witches, falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns, horror movies, pumpkin-spice-everything and fortune tellings. Speaking of which!  Check out this fun, spooky, new campaign I got to work on.  


Your favorite snack brand also launched a new pop-up restaurant in Hollywood this week called The Flamin’ Hot Spot.  My wife and I were invited to enjoy all of the amazing foodie goods put together by Chef Roy Choi, who I even got to meet personally.  He was SO cool.  And the place was put together fabulously.  It was like a Chester ART MUSEUM in there…and we kinda never wanted to leave.  




So are you ready for a quick ghost story…?  I posted this on my Facebook last week:

I could barely face the one-year deathiversary of Mickey the pug yesterday but something REALLY strange happened very early Sunday morning.

We have this digital frame in our living room filled with Mick pics and it hadn’t been turned on in a good long while. We keep it atop the little polished, wooden box they sent his ashes it. So I woke up around 3am and came out into the living room for a security check and wouldn’t you know it, the darn thing was ON…flashing the pics. You need a remote to turn it on. Like…it takes a WHILE to get going.

I got really freaked out. This had NEVER happened with the frame. Nic says it was Mick saying hello but the logic part of me couldn’t understand how it happened. So I clicked it off with the remote and sat there in the dark for about an hour.

Listen, it’s not like this sorta thing hasn’t happened to me before. I try so hard to be very open to small miracles. But this one has taken me a few days to process. It’s OK if you think I’m fulla crap. But I just wanted to share.

WINE PAIRING: I forgot to mention, ’tis the season when we start to see more BLACK CATS about…
Happy Almost October!

I’m on Netflix!

Hey, kids, how’s it goin’?!  Sorry it’s been so long since my last post.  I just wanted to let you know that I have a really cool, fun, guest-starring role on the all-new DreamWorks/Netflix animated series, The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants.  The show is Executive Produced by the endlessly-brilliant Peter Hastings and I play a dude named Hank.  You can catch him in the 13th episode, currently streaming now.  I had SO much fun with Hank and I’m simply certain that you will, too.

So click the pic of Hank below and GO!


In other news, I have a new Cheetos commercial running.  I gotta tell ya, I am just blown away by this one. It looks just like a Steven Spielberg movie!  Check it out.

More to come…!

WINE PAIRING:  Listen, I’m no fan of summer, but I do tend to drink a heckuva lot more Rosé this time of year.  So why not peruse the 25 Best Rosé Wines of 2018, courtesy of VinePair.  I’m particularly drawn to the 2017 Fullerton Three Otters Pinot Noir Rosé from Oregon.  I mean, who doesn’t love otters??  Especially the ones I’ve seen in Morro Bay

It’s Almost APRIL Already…??


Do you mean to tell me I’ve been neglecting my poor blog since last December??  ALL apologies, kids.

I guess the good news is, I’ve been a little busy.  Here are just a few quick updates:

  • I can’t express enough how grateful I am that I get to voice everyone’s favorite cheetah.  Here was an awesome music video celebrating the USA Curling team that was posted back in January.  Then there was this fun new app.  And then this cool little spot that was just tweeted out today.  Plus I’m told regular commercials are airing on TV.  Wahoo!
  • My buddy Brett and I wrote a little horror web series-type deal that we’ve already starting shooting.  No idea how long it will take or when it will be finished.  All I know is I’m learning a lot about directing and when we gave out the scripts to the actors we wanted, only ONE of them turned us down!  Oh, I was hardly offended by the decline, it’s just that the actress wasn’t really up for going to such a “scary place” in her head.
  • I’m READING more than ever these days.  I can’t recommend Richard Blade’s memoir World In My Eyes enough.  If you grew up in Southern California in the eighties, you will know EXACTLY who I am talking about.  
  • Barney Fife the chug and Malcolm are doing GREAT.  And while they don’t necessarily see eye to eye on a lotta stuff, at least they find other ways now and again to be brotherly.  We still miss our dear Mickey each and every day but the boys continue to supply us countless laughs and bouts of joy.
  • Nic and I continue to explore new wines and even newer television shows.  I’m telling you, it may sound lazy and counterproductive, but nothing in my life makes me happier than just chilling on the couch, lighting some candles, and disappearing into, say, the ever-stunning The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.  2017 was a surprisingly strong year for cinema, boy, but TV these days really is where it’s at.

More to come, news-wise, but for now I’ll let you get back to what you were doing.  Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!  And don’t forget to “re-envision” yourself with that app I posted above like I just did. You can find it right here.

Cheetos Vision Max

WINE PAIRING: Nic and I are huge fans of The Untitled Action Bronson Show on Viceland and we noticed they always have wine experts on there who serve Action varying orange wines.  And since orange is an appropriate theme for today’s entry, stop at nothing to try out the 2016 Paleokerisio Traditional Semi-sparkling wine.  You’ve never tasted anything quite like it, I assure!  Really delicious and unique.  



The Brrr Months

Well, here we are.  November’s arrived and things are starting to wind down.  I’m pretty grateful for that right now because it has been one HECKUVA year.  In many ways, good: Lots of fun jobs (wish I could rap about the voice-matching gigs I get, but I can’t cuz that’s not fair to the producers), huge spurts of personal growth, a few new friendship bonds…even saw one of my Top 3 Favorite bands (Depeche Mode) live at the Hollywood Bowl (Box seats! Yes, I have to boast about that.  Bucket List item, you see.  It was glorious).  Oh, and I also managed to complete the Inktober initiative, 31 drawings in 31 days over the course of October.  I posted the first 5 here but you can see the other 26 on my Instagram.  

Yet in other ways, the year has been quite TERRIBLE  – The Death of Mickey the Pug firstly comes to mind – along with other disheartening news concerning certain relatives getting older and sicker.  And other deeply-felt losses and changes amongst loved ones.  The good news is, family-wise, we rescued/adopted a NEW little guy whom we’ve named Barney Fife!  He’s a “chug” (half chihuahua/half pug) and I have to say, he has already brought us so much joy.  He’s quite hilarious.  And jittery.  Just like Don Knotts.  He also loves to play fetch and run on the beach.  Look how cute he is here in the pumpkin patch at Jack Creek Farms in Paso Robles, where we just visited…

Pumpkin Fife

I always like to call October through December “the Brrr months” as it usually starts to get chillier, what with late-fall/early winter setting in.  Unfortunately, it’s still pretty mild here in L.A., so, I may have to switch it to the ‘ber months as we are now living in the months that end in “ber.”  No matter the case, the old ber…er…bear in me is starting to nestle in for some much-needed hibernation.  There are projects to complete, receipts to be filed, and catch-up work to be done.

Usually at the end of a year, I like to post a little wrap up of my 365 days here on the blog.  Not sure if I’m gonna do that for 2017 because I think as I get older, I get a little less enthusiastic and a little more weary of the years changing over.  It just seems to all be moving SO fast that I can’t keep up anymore.  Life is hurling by.  One minute your soulmate of a pug drops dead from cancer, the next you’re bringing a new pup into your life, scared as hell and whizzing on wee-wee pads.  It’s exhausting.  I mean, never before have I more admired my friends who are parents to human children.  How?  How do they DO it???

Things also seem to be getting more unpredictable each and every day.  You can’t wake up anymore without receiving “breaking news” alerts on your phone regarding some horrible, senseless tragedy, or some spurt of outrageous controversy blasting out of Washington, like some mythical giant farting.  And don’t get me started on the rapid-fire news of who groped/molested/sexually assaulted who, where and when…it all gets so grim that I just want to grow a weird beard and live in the woods, feeding squirrels for the rest of my days.  But then I remember that – as someone who sincerely enjoys entertaining people – I still have a “job” to do.  I think?

Unpredictability came full-bore yesterday morning when the wife and dogs and I were on the freeway, heading back home from the Central Coast after a little 3-day Halloween/Wedding Anniversary getaway. The trip, while brief, was much-needed, and so while we were sitting in traffic on the 101 freeway at a relative standstill, not exactly elated to be driving back to L.A., I glanced up towards my rear-view mirror and saw a black car hurling towards us from behind.  The driver rammed us pretty hard and I felt a jolt of shock and pain shoot up my back.  Everyone was okay – my car was merely scratched and dented – and the guy who hit us appeared convincingly apologetic.  But it was all just another example of how fleeting it all is and how life can throw you a serious curveball at any damn second.  Car accidents are ESPECIALLY unnerving and inconvenient.  I should know.  I’ve been in about 8 of them.  Including two cars TOTALED. (Okay, one little one back in the 90’s mighta been MY fault.)

So now I deal with insurance companies and chiropractors.  Par for the course, I suppose.  Accidents are always good wake-up calls, anyway.  But I’d always rather be in a studio, working.  Or creating stuff on my own.  Using my pain and angst for comedy, not X-rays!

It’s funny.  I once told a friend, “I think my purpose, my higher calling, is to be the best companion I can be to those I love and care about.”  Yeah, that may be true.  But I’m starting to think that’s not enough. I’m starting to feel like there might be a little more to ol’ Max Koch and what he’s about.  Maybe I can ponder that, too, while I hibernate and open some books and stretch my IT band and finish up Netflix’s Mindhunter and enact a plan for 2018.  Until then…I hope to be going “brrr” through the ‘ber months because I LOVE when, baby, it’s cooollld ooouuutsssiiide. 

WINE PAIRING: The first winery we hit on this last trip up north was Penman Springs Vineyard in Paso Robles.  CANNOT recommend their 2014 Merlot enough.  And Sabine in the tasting room took great care of us.  Not only did we purchase 3 bottles of their stuff, but also brought home a jar of their delicious, homemade WINE JAM.  Yum!

All told, not a bad way to celebrate 18 years of marriage.  Even as we ice our backs from the accident and laugh at how stupid-crazy life is…



Inktober: Days 1 – 5

For the first time since its inception in 2009, I am participating in the Inktober Initiative, created by illustrator Jake Palmer.  31 Drawings, 31 Days.  And let me tell you: I am having a blast!  I’ve never worked with prompt words before to inspire a drawing, so…this is bitchin’ new terrain for me.  It’s gotten me back on a consistent creative schedule – which I have considerably neglected since I’ve been mourning the death of my beloved pug, Mickey – AND, best of all, it has re-ignited a fire inside me to put my ideas to paper, no matter how shitty or strange. And the rules are VERY simple:

Inktober rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it online

3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017

4) Repeat

Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. Inktober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.

Well, that sounded perfectly reasonable to me.  So off I went.  Here are my first five submissions, with the accompanying prompt words.

Day 1.  Prompt word: Swift.  I went with the late, legendary Hollywood super agent, Irving “Swifty” Lazar.

Swift Day 1-2

Day 2.  Prompt word: Divided.  I’ve never been more worried about the future.


Day 3.  Prompt word: Poison.  The Las Vegas Massacre AND the death of Tom Petty all happened at once.


Day 4.  Prompt word: Underwater.  This one was inspired by the notorious Sourtoe Cocktail.


Day 5.  Prompt word: Long.  In honor of NBC’s hit show Cheers, I call this one “Skelley Long.”



More to come…

WINE PAIRING: I’ve never been to Wine & Canvas, which is more about painting while drinking wine…but if anything makes me happy anymore, it’s bound to be drawing with a glass of wine next to me on my desk.

Rest in Peace, Mickey the Pug

Mickey the Pug passed away last night. It was Sunday, September 10th, at 6:05 PM and I’ll never be the same.

For those of you who follow me on social media, you know what a big deal Mick was. Not just to me and my wife and his brother, Malcolm…but to pretty much anyone who saw his picture or read a post about him or held him in their lap or stopped to say hello to him in his stroller.

Oh, and ALL the ladies. ALL of them. They. LOVED him. Especially his Aunt Kari and neighbor, Bekka, who deemed him her “boyfriend.” He had the ‘X’ factor. And, oh, those BIG, BEAUTIFUL BROWNS. So soulful, it was eerie.


We’d had Mickey for almost six years. That’s nothing. But he was such a Velcro Pug to me that you may as well double my time with him to 12 years. He followed me everywhere. He was always by my side.

Mickey was the most loyal friend I’ve ever had. Even my wife would jokingly say, “Jesus, I love you but I don’t think I love you like HE loves you.” It was true, though.

We adopted “The Mick” from Nikki Dogfather, the same wonderful, hilarious British woman who let us take Malcolm off her hands. The price for Mick? Two big bags of dog food to help feed her other rescues. That was it. SOLD.

Malcolm now had a brother. Frick and Frack. We took them everywhere with us. The few times they couldn’t come on a plane, we’d have our friend Sharon look after them. She did a fine job. The brothers slept together, snored together, traveled together, but NEVER ate together. That’s the breed for you. Pugs are VERY possessive of their food. I always had to feed them separately. Cuz THAT’S not a pain in the ass.

This was one of the last pictures I took of Mickey and Malcolm side-by-side. Can you tell which one is which? Many never could. That was always fun. (Mick’s there on the right with the giant tongue…)


Mick came with all kinds of physical problems. This we learned the hard way. For starters, he was pretty much already nearing his “senior dog” status when we took him in. His previous owners – may they ROT in DISCOURSE – never took care of his teeth. So we paid to have 14 extractions right out the gate. Oh, you shoulda seen Mickey on those pain pills. Poor baby. 

Not soon after came the pancreatitis…then the seizures…and finally, this past January…Mickey was diagnosed with Insulinoma. I was shattered. The doctor gave him 6 months.

We spent thousands of dollars on that dog. Worth every red cent. We would call upon our neighbor Erika to administer his Cerenia shots whenever he needed them to stop his terrible nausea bouts because I was so afraid to give them to him myself. But I sucked it up and forced myself to do it eventually, which royally impressed my wife. I also came to cook for him. And care for him morning, noon, and night in ways you can’t even imagine. He was a little god to me. I worshipped him. We worshipped each other. He always gave back. In love and loyalty and humor. Oh, he was the funniest pug. Pugs are known to be quite the little comedians, you know.

Mickey started losing the use of his rear hinds. He could walk. But barely. So I came up with the stroller idea and it made a world of difference. Yeah, there were times when rolling a smiling little black pug around the neighborhood got a little awkward. But I didn’t care. Mickey taught me to not give a shit about what people thought. I’m starting to cry now.

This past weekend was trouble. Mickey wasn’t sleeping and seemed very uncomfortable. I could tell he was further deteriorating. I could sense the end was near. I am in regular contact with his vet, the eternally-amazing Dr. Robert Fullington, so it wasn’t like Mick’s problems weren’t tended to on a regular basis. But he was struggling. And tired. And on a lot of medications. Prednisone by itself can be very rough on a little animal’s system. 

Then all hell broke loose. Early Sunday evening, Mickey started seizing in ways I’d never seen before. He was gasping for air. Foaming. And violently shaking. I immediately rushed him to the ER. I knew this was it. Worst of all, Nichole was not home. She was performing a show at Second City. I had to make the call without her. I did.

When we put down our dearly departed Lily the pug, who Mickey was SO much like, we had the luxury to have a doctor come to our house to do the deed. But last night there was no time. No time at all. The ER it was.


It all happened SO fast. The staff was kind and quick-moving. The ER doctor came in to give the 3 Final Shots of Freedom. She knew his fine work on this godforsaken planet was finished.  I could barely see what was going on through my tears. I looked down. The medical gauze tape they wrapped around his paw was purple. That was Mickey’s color. Purple collar. Purple towel in the stroller. How did they know?


My boy’s heart stopped. And so did mine.

VET TECH: Would you like us to take an imprint of his paw?

ME: Yes. Uh. Please.

VET TECH: Okay, well, Carmen up front should have your bill for you.

ME: Carmen? Right. The bill. Thank you. 

Oh, my God, what just happened? Where was my Mickey? He was just sitting in my lap less than 2 hours ago. Who’s going to love me like he did now? Who’s going to follow me from room to room and NEVER rest until I’m seated so he can crawl into my lap? Where is my beautiful baby boy? My sweet little old man?

I stepped out onto the street in a haze. I looked down. There was a crushed red rose on the sidewalk. 


Then I looked over and saw two random taquitos.


It’s so dumb but I thought maybe Mick was playing a little goodbye prank on me cuz he knows how often I stop to take pictures of weird crap on the street.

When I got home, I waited for the wife to call. Poor Nichole. She took it hard as I knew she would. She didn’t get to say goodbye. But honestly, I am so relieved that she didn’t see Mick go out the way I did. I needed to be strong for her. I was.

Anyway, my Mickey is gone. And now comes the shit sandwich-eating. The devastating mourn sessions. I’m supposed to go out tonight with a bunch of friends to see the new “It” movie. I was gonna bail, but I think I need to go. I’ve been immersed in Mick business for so long, it would be a good palate cleanser.

WINE PAIRING: Mickey was always happy to lie down and chill in a tasting room. So let’s go with the 2012 Fusion from Opolo. The notes declare it has “a wonderfully long finish.” Perfect for Mick has he managed to live two and a half months longer than he had been given.

I love you, Mickey. Forever and always. Thank you for being such a great dog.


A Decadent Day in Downtown L.A.

Sure, I live in Los Angeles but I never bother to go downtown unless I’m being dragged against my will to attend some play or musical by my lovely wife.  So you can imagine the dread I felt inside when she said, “Hey! Why don’t we take the Metro line downtown sometime and see some sights.”

To be fair, she was coming from a place of encouragement because I had just seen an old Huell Howser segment featuring Downtown L.A.’s Grand Central Market.  I was suddenly very curious to see what it was all about and that set the wife off on a mission to plan a day downtown.  ANY opportunity to explore a city (even our own!) and my wife is ON it.

ME: But we can’t leave the dogs alone that long…

NIC: They’ll be FINE. We’ll only be gone for 5 or 6 hours!

So yesterday morning we drove up to the North Hollywood Metro station to park our car so we could get on the subway train to head downtown.  I suppose we could have just walked there since we only live about 25 minutes away from it on foot.  But it was already so hot and humid by 10am, that we said, “Ah, screw it, let’s spoil ourselves!”  The truth is, the parking lot was unbelievably packed and confusing. There were green zones and blue zones and pink zones and yellow zones and bus zones and bike zones and we didn’t know WHAT the hell was going on. But we finally figured it out after about another 30 minutes and finally made it down to the station’s ticket terminal, which was equally confusing if not more so.  

(Seriously, we had not ridden the Metro since, like, the late 1990’s…)


The wife utterly bewildered by the ticket machine. (Tap card? What’s a TAP card…?)

We weren’t on the subway car FIVE seconds before some kind of heated argument broke out between 2 passengers, only adding to my anxiety about getting on an underground train in a region RIPE for a massive earthquake to erupt and bury us in concrete and steel. 

Thankfully, Security arrived to break up the brawlers and I managed to breathe it out the rest of the ride down.

We got off at the Pershing Square exit and were IMMEDIATELY thrusted into a monsoon of people, pollution, buildings, bricks, construction, noise, odors, oddwins, cars, cranes, filth, fury, and honking horns. We also started accidentally walking in the opposite direction of our first destination on the itinerary. Namely, The Last Book Store. (Suggestion: NEVER forget a MAP.)


The Last Book Store was SO cool. New books, used books, rare books. And BEST OF ALL, a warning sign to customers that I was very happy to see:


THANK YOU, Last Book Store!  It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, these loaf-abouts who grease and gross up the stock with their finger tips and coffee dribbles.


And check this out, they even sell used DVDs and rare-ass PUNK ROCK records!


The Annex Room is a TRIP.  So many kickass, Koch-centric treasures to be found…










So of ALL the things I coulda bought, what do you think I wound up with?

You guessed it: A Carrot Top DVD, a book on Shane MacGowan, and “The Collected Works of Beavis and Butthead!”  Am I a refined, cultured individual or WHAT!


Listen, I stand by my choices.  And this total badass bookseller babe at least agreed with my Shane selection, anyway… 


Phew!  Shopping for books can be exhausting and we were starting to get hungry so it was finally time to say goodbye to The Last Book Store – and this Fishbowl Head Lady – and make our way over a few blocks to the Grand Central Market for some culinary taste-gasms.


Along the way, I stopped to see if I needed any Aloe Pure or joint support pills.  I did not…


I’m telling you, you never know who – or what – you’re going to run into in Downtown L.A. …it’s all VERY surreal.  I even saw a man talking to a natty, old ventriloquist dummy.  But I saw that in San Francisco, too, once, so it really wasn’t that big a deal.


Ah.  Thar she blew.  The Grand Central Market.  We’d made it.


The first thing we saw when we entered the left-side door was a WALL OF WINE.  Perfect for this blog!


This was a title I was interested in picking up on the way out but it was all so overwhelming, this marketplace, that I forgot.  I mean, who in their right mind wouldn’t wanna enjoy a red blend during Happy Hour…?


The scents, the sounds, the hunger, the humanity…


The Grand Market has SO many options, you almost start to short circuit.


And don’t even get me started on the delicious artisanal Goudas (from Scotland and Holland) we picked up at DTLA Cheese.



You need spices?  You need chiles?  You need Moles?  What about powders and rubs?  ANYTHING YOU NEED!!!


You need to re-adjust your pants in front of the China Cafe counter?  GO for it…


Finally, we settled HERE to catch our breath.  The Oyster Gourmet.  If you follow me at all on this blog, you know ALL ABOUT my adoration for oysters.  And best of all, you don’t judge me for it.


I ordered a beer and the Chef hand-picked my 9 globs of glory…


Nic ordered a French white (you’ll see…it’s this entry’s wine pairing) and a succulent shrimp cocktail…


I mean the produce ALONE down there.  Of course, we came from a train so we could only carry so many canvas bags full of crap.


And I assure you, your sweet tooth will NOT feel ignored.


They even got an Eggslut.  I don’t know what it means, but I’m intrigued…


If you think we’d had enough to eat, you are VASTLY incorrect.  Nope, it was now time for our actual LUNCH!  Spaghetti with Tomato, Garlic Bread, and Ceasar Salad from Knead & Co.  I’m telling you, the main directive of the day was DECADENCE. And Knead was SO fantastic.  Just enough fuel to get us back home.  

(And don’t worry…we shared…and did so much hot, sweaty walking, we pretty much lost every pound we’d gained during this adventure.)



Back out on the street and into the heat, it was time to find a refreshing, COLD dessert.  Nic had seen an ad in The Downtowner for a place called Little Damage that served – you guessed it again – GOTH ice cream!

By the time we were ready to hike it back to the Pershing Square Metro station, I was WIPED.  But I also felt a new appreciation for my city.  Like I had actually gone away on vacation for a day and all I had to do was take a quick subway ride downtown for a few hours.  And we BARELY scratched the surface.  There is SO much more to do and see and EAT.  But, MAN, was I happy to get back to my little old black pugs. AND MY AIR-CONDITIONING.

WINE PAIRING: Nic’s French white choice! The Picpoul de Pinet. Merci!

My Return to Twin Peaks

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers about the series Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Return. Reader discretion is advised.

“Hawk, electricity is humming.  You hear it in the mountains and rivers.  You see it dance among the seas and stars and glowing around the moon.  But in these days, the glow is dying.  What will be in the darkness that remains?”  – Margaret Lanterman AKA The Log Lady, Twin Peaks: The Return

In 1994, not too long after the Northridge Earthquake, the wife (then-girlfriend) and I decided to move to Seattle. Our master plan was to be “big fish in a small pond.” Yeah, well, little did I know a small pond meant me working crappy dinner theatre shows and running a little video store on Lake Washington while my woman waited tables, serving the likes of August Wilson and Courtney Love. (Yes, we were living in Seattle when Kurt Cobain was found dead. Devastating.)

There were a few reasons why we chose to relocate ourselves to the Pacific Northwest.  One was because the apartment building we were about to move into down here in L.A. had been red-tagged as a result of the quake.  Not to mention, the restaurant where we had met and worked at together, located in Northridge, had endured some significant damage as well.  Plus, I had friends in Seattle and thought it would be a good idea to get the hell out of the San Fernando Valley before we, you know, got killed by “The Big One.” I might even add that I LIVE for rain and cool weather.

Sno Falls

There was another more secret, more mystical reason why I felt I was being called to the state of Washington.  I wanted to live – you guessed it – in Twin Peaks.  I mean, even though Twin Peaks is a fictitious town – or state of mind, depending how you look at it – I felt that if I could just get up to Snoqualmie Falls on the weekend for a hike…or head on over to the Double R Diner for a piece of damn fine cherry pie, well, it would just be a 40 minute drive from Seattle to Twin–okay, North Bend, Washington, but still!  I would be closer to the Black Lodge.  To the Roadhouse.  To the Great Northern Hotel.  To the strait where Laura Palmer’s murdered, wrapped-in-plastic body washed ashore. 

Nichole and I did get up there a few times, North Bend.  We used to hike around the bottom of the falls and one time we brought my Uncle Patrick up there and actually made our way BEHIND the falls.  I mean, if there wasn’t a backdoor entrance into the White Lodge already established, behind the falls would be PERFECT.  Ideal.  It’s breathtaking. 

So why did I want to live in Twin Peaks so bad?  Well, after meditating on it for a minute, the answer has come to me: Twin Peaks was the first show I had ever truly felt a part of its “cult.”  I was already a massive admirer of David Lynch films before the first episode of Peaks hit the air on April 8, 1990, and I will NEVER forget how I felt viewing that initial pilot.  Holy shit, TV is finally taking a CHANCE. Obviously it blew the minds of millions and went on to become one of the most influential series in television history, but I almost felt like it belonged to me personally as well, at that raw, tender time in my life.  For example, the girls on the show were girls I’d gone out with.  Girls who were do-gooders, got good grades, were loyal to their families…but at an instant could easily be drawn to mystery and darkness.  And, oh, that darkness.  It reminded me of all the rocks I used to lift growing up, to see what was underneath.  And there was always those haunting mentions of “a wind” in the trees.  Lynch himself said recently at the premiere of the new show, “I like to cut wood.  Tonight, we’re going to a place where the trees are primarily Douglas firs.  Douglas firs are a beautiful tree, and if we’re very quiet we can hear the wind rustling the needles as we move through the forest, getting closer and closer, and now we’re here.”  Shit, I can relate to that even as a camper. Why don’t you join me by the fire and we’ll talk of things many refuse to try and understand.


Twin Peaks.  And so it was.  It was where I always wanted to be.  Where I felt at home.  Pure nostalgia. With the girls–some of whom were ruinously attractive.  With some of the guys–Special Agent Dale Cooper may as well be my ENTIRE idea of the Ultimate Hero.  With the oddwins of the town like The Log Lady and Pete Martell and Mike, the One-Armed Man.  With the dwarves and the giants and the demons and the spirits.  It all just felt…like home.  Where my sensibilities would never be questioned.  Just like a Star Trek convention would be for a Trekkie (or Trekker) or, like, wherever these Game of Thrones junkies go to hang out, wearing pelts and preparing recipes from their Game of Thrones cookbook (I have never seen “GoT” but I hope to get into it eventually…?)

I did attend a very special Twin Peaks Tree People event with my friend Kyle back in the early 90’s, where we got to cocktail with cast members and learn a bit more about planting “the seeds of change.”  It was also at that party that I got to hang out with Mark Hamill for about 45 minutes.  We had both performed the role John Merrick, the Elephant Man onstage and were comparing the way we disfigured ourselves without the use of prosthetics, unlike in Lynch’s wrenching 1980 cinematic tearjerker, The Elephant Manstarring Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt.

I suppose the bottom line is…Twin Peaks has always sorta brought out the geek in me.  It’s my comic books, my video games, my action figures.  Y’know, GEEK shit. MY geek moment.  Like, if I was ever to go to a convention, it would either be a Twin Peaks gathering…or, I dunno, maybe Monster-Mania Con

Even after I moved back to L.A., Twin Peaks continued to inspire me to create my own worlds in my head. I mean, why else do I STILL have THESE after 25 years…???

Koch and Twin Peaks Books

Now little did I know my RETURN to Twin Peaks would pack such a…well, frankly… EMOTIONAL punch.  For starters, it’s CRAZY to see everybody in the cast 25 years older.  Especially the ones who are crushingly no longer with us, like Miguel Ferrer (Albert) and Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady.)  It also wows me to no end that Laura Palmer told Cooper in the Black Lodge that she would INDEED be seeing him again in 25 years.  Was that planned all along??  And don’t get me started on the countless cool guest stars and musical acts and returning oddball characters like Harry Dean Stanton’s Fat Trout trailer park landlord, Carl Rodd.

Seriously, when Showtime announced David Lynch and Mark Frost were returning to Twin Peaks for a limited series event, the first thing that popped in my head was, “Oh, Jesus, I hope I don’t DIE before this happens!”

So in preparation for The Return, Nichole and I went through all of seasons 1 and 2 as well as 1992’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, all of which we were still trying to get through even after The Return had commenced.  Which is nuts because now that I was reminded of Cooper’s fate – that he went into the Black Lodge 25 years ago to rescue Annie Blackburn, the waitress and eventual winner of the Miss Twin Peaks pageant, and got STUCK in there while ANOTHER Cooper, the evil incarnation of himself, managed to escape back out into the real world to do terrible harm to many – it’s absolutely HEARTBREAKING. Because now BOTH Coopers are out in the world, and every week a whole new, nail-biting hour ignites…and I sit there, tied up in knots, wondering what the hell is going to happen when the two finally come face to face. Or maybe they won’t.  Or maybe–whoa, wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, is that…is that REALLY Laura Dern as Diane??? GENIUS CASTING, DL!!! All your muses, present here…


Heartbreaking, too, because Special Agent Dale sacrificed 25 years of his life to save the woman he loved from the surreal horrors of the Black Lodge.  And now I think of all the OTHER lives he could have saved during that time. All the OTHER good deeds…and even Blue Rose cases he could have solved.  But no. No, our man Coop was trapped in a red-curtained purgatory…avoiding scary, sludge-y coffee and witnessing The Evolution of the Arm.  But I wasn’t thinking that when I first saw the series finale 25 years ago.  All I thought was, “whoa, cool, that was SO trippy and weird and now Coop is Bob, too, awesome!”  I had no idea the emotional impact Cooper’s entrapment (and eventual mind erase) would have on me.  And now that Coop’s out these days, barely functioning in the real world, living in the fleshy guise of some Las Vegas insurance agent clown named Dougie Jones, it’s even MORE sad what happened to him. Although you could gather that he is ever-so-slowly returning to himself.  And it’s taking a WHILE, Coop’s comeback, believe me.  But I’m not complaining.  I am ALL IN on this journey each and every week, sweating gusto, verve, exhilaration through my PORES.  And I am geeking out just as much now as I was 25 years ago. Lynch is SO into this dual universe/doppelgänger deal, too, look at all his films, it’s WILD.

When my most favorite filmmaker of all, Stanley Kubrick, passed away in 1999, I didn’t think anyone could fill the void of his loss.  Now I think David Lynch is doing a fine job of that.  Or at least carrying the fire.  So much so, that…sometimes…it feels like the two have been merging INTO one another lately.  Especially on Twin Peaks: The Return.  It’s THAT special.  

Have I mentioned I’m inspired?  

Art LIVES, baby.

Gotta light…?

WINE PAIRING: Well, well, well…look who’s making their OWN wine now…


(Cue Angelo Badalamenti score!)