Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nihilist Bowling: Lebowski Fest '09

"This isn't 'Nam, Smokey. This is bowling. There are rules."
Walter from The Big Lebowski

At Lebowski Fest, the traveling convention-like party that celebrates the cult comedy, the rules seem to be as follows:
1. White Russians (aka "Caucasians") must be consumed.
2. Bowling balls must be licked.
3. The word 'Dude' must be interjected as often as possible into conversation.

The second night for Lebowski Fest in Seattle went off as planned, full of beards in bathrobes and nihilistic bowlers alike. Attendees not only bowled in costume, but also took part in trivia and spent a lot of time slapping each other on the back and calling each other 'Dude.'

Speaking of 'Dude,' the real Dude was there, man. Jeff "the Dude" Dowd, inspiration for our abiding Jeff Bridges-portrayed hero Lebowski, was on hand and spent a lot of time shooting the sh*t with folks as well as helping to MC the event at ACME Bowl. Dowd, a fellow Alumnus of the University of Washington, lived in Seattle for nearly the whole decade of the seventies, seeing the city at some of its lowest points ("Will the last one to leave Seattle please turn off the lights"), and gave several interviews reflecting on that time.

Naturually, sprinkled throughout the night were selections from the amazing soundtrack to the film. Dudes smiled and swaggered to Bob Dylan's "Man in Me,' Jesus Quintanas pointed suggestively to The Gipsy Kings' cover of "Hotel California," and there was even a taste of The Eagles before the voice of Jeff Bridges as The Dude ordered it to stop.

At the end of the evening, awards were given out for best costumes, and the winner was the man in the Iron Lung, easily the heaviest costume of the night. He even managed to bowl a few frames, for effect, of course.

Several White Russians into the night, I put the camera away and just enjoyed the company. As Dowd said earlier in the evening, while addressing the crowd, "Lebowski Acheivers aren't like William Shatner and the Trekkies. You guys are social creatures."

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