_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

She’s dead. Wrapped in plastic. Leaning against a finely turned wood column in the swanky interior of the Black Horse Studio in this gentrifying district on downtown Winston-Salem’s eastern flank.

I loved “Twin Peaks” back when it was on TV, and as the theme for RiverRun’s Spark party on Friday night it brings back a creepy sense memory of binge-watching the show over a Thanksgiving break while I was in college.

There are doughnuts and pies stacked on tables with cups of coffee, a log in the photo booth and a portrait of Laura Palmer amid an altar of dead flowers and dripped-down candles.

And there is the victim herself, leaning against the post, just the way they found her.

The RiverRun crowd mills through the space — a wood-walled warehouse catty-corner to Krankies that has a day job as a photographer’s studio — until things grow crowded and loud, like a good party should, with the sounds of revelry careening off the old industrial smokestacks and bounding up the hill of Bailey Park into the gleaming Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

I spent much of the day in and around that corner, ducking into Krankies for a hot coffee and posting up at Reanimator for some paperwork in between meetings before the party. And the scenes of city life before me evoked something even more surreal.

The first time I set foot on this corner, maybe 15 years ago, it was seriously jacked — a forgotten patch of concrete in the shadow of machinery that itself had become irrelevant. Before the Innovation Quarter moved in, this was the kind of corner where you could throw bottles against brick walls or squat in a building for a year and no one would have noticed.

If you had told me then that one day there would be a bunch of nerds playing two-hand touch on a lush lawn below the smokestacks, I would not have believed you. But there they were, frolicking in the new green space, staunching the urban decay like it was nothing. That was hours ago.

Tonight, as bright lights bleed down from above and voices carry across the once barren space in the crook of the railroad track, something that once was lost has now been found.

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