Lebowski Fest, Wiltern, May 7, 2009

Lebowski Fest, Wiltern, May 7, 2009

There really aren’t enough opportunities to go out in your bathrobe and get hammered on White Russians.

Enter Lebowskifest 2009. A two-day celebration of “The Big Lebowski” — a movie about the ultimate slacker hero and his bowling buddies on a mission to recover a stolen rug and the Lebowski namesake’s trophy wife. (For a more fitting summary of the movie, watch “The Big Lebowski – The F*cking Short Version” on youtube, here.)

Lebowskifest day one took place at the Wiltern, with the night centered around special guest appearances and a screening of the 1998 cult classic. Dude. Can you believe the Coen brothers made this movie in 1998? Still fresh after all these years.

“Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not ‘Mr. Lebowski.’ You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

To dress the part, I personally spent a couple of days searching for a purple outfit a-la Jesus Quintana. I showed up at the Wiltern in a purple collared shirt and purple track pants and a nametag that said, “Hello My Name is Jesus.” I was a little put off that every one else was in their regular clothes, save the odd bathrobe here and there. I guess they were all saving up for the next night’s installment of Lebowskifest. Day two would be a costume contest, trivia, and unlimited bowling at Cal-Bowl in Carson. Oh well.

“Nobody fucks with the Jesus.”

Second disappointment of the night: How on earth could the front bar be out of Kahlua?! Amateurs.

“Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here!”

The opening act before the movie was a child prodigy guitarist. He was a mini shredder – a nine-year-old Japanese boy named Yuto Miyazawa who played a full-sized polka dotted flying-V guitar like Randy Rhoads used to play with Ozzy. He imitated all the classics, like “Crazy Train,” the Jimi Hendrixized Star Spangled Banner, and “Purple Haze.” Knocking them all off pretty impressively, it was only freaky when he sang along in his chipmunk vocals.

I guess even though a mini guitar hero is irrelevant to the movie, he is the idea of fun and fuck-it and not acting your age and taking advantage of a random opportunity, which is what the Big Lebowski is all about-ski.

“That rug really tied the room together.”

Following Yuto, a variety of special guests came out to greet the crowd. I was hoping for Flea (who played one of the Nihilists) or Tara Reid (who played Bunny Lebowski). Gutter ball. But, this capacity crowd of “Achievers” was so die-hard they would have revered even an extra from a deleted scene as if it were the Dude himself. The best appearances were a guy who imitated the landlord’s crazy interpretive dance and Jeff “the Dude” Dowd (the man who inspired the character The Dude). The O.G. Dude was ramblin’, mentioning hitchhiking and other righteous stuff, so I knew he was authentic.

“Fuck it, Dude, let’s go bowling.”

When the movie came on, it all came back to me. The soundtrack, the dialogue, the Dude. This movie is absolutely a cult classic. It’s a quote generator. It’s a viral video inspirer. It makes you feel like Bob Dylan song in the movie when he sings, “Oh what a wonderful feeling.”

The Wiltern isn’t typically a movie house, so their screen and audio quality weren’t tops. Not that you would have been able to hear the sound anyway over the crowd. No line from the script went by without scream-along style audience participation.

Is “The Big Lebowski” our “Rocky Horror Picture Show?” More movies should get the Lebowskifest treatment. I’d go. Especially if I could drink White Russians the whole time, which are basically adult milkshakes.

“I told those fucks down at the league office a thousand times that I don’t roll on Shabbos!”

I drank too many White Russians on day one and never made it down the 405 for Lebowskifest day two in Carson.

Sorry, dudes.

“The Dude abides.”