"If you will it, it is no dream." Four years ago Scott Shuffitt and Will Russell were just a couple of bums the square community didn't give a shit about, trading dialogue from the Coen brothers' comic masterpiece The Big Lebowski, when they decided to found a festival in honor of all things Duder. (Others have since gone on to make it their religion; called "Dudeism", adherents describe it as "your answer to everything".)
Since 2002, their Lebowski Fests, held in Louisville, L.A. and New York, have drawn fans from all over the world and welcomed the likes of They Might Be Giants, My Morning Jacket, and the man himself, Jeff Bridges. (He fit right in there.)
It's small wonder that The Big Lebowski, which barely broke even at the box office in '98, should eventually spawn a cult following. (If you haven't already guessed, we - the 'royal we'; you know, the editorial - consider ourselves, on a personal level, really enormous fans.) It's a film so rich in detail that it gets better and better with repeated viewings, as the convoluted, Chandleresque plot is eclipsed by the inspired dialogue and pitch-perfect performances by Bridges, Goodman, Buscemi, Moore, Turturro, Gazzara - and even Amiee Mann and Flea, who have cameos as cry-baby Nihilists. And as a buddy movie, The Big Lebowski achieves a degree of warmth and comradery that really bucks us up when we're feeling down in the dumps.
This weekend's festival gets rolling Saturday night (after sundown, naturally) at Northsix, with a now sold-out show boasting Air Supply tribute band Hair Supply, Bling Kong, and The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers, who aren't exactly lightweights, either. A midnight screening will follow the music.
The What-Have-You continues Sunday night at the double-decker Cozy Bowl in Queens, where costumed achievers will compete for a variety of prizes and demonstrate their sad knowledge of arcane Lebowski trivia. The $25 ticket includes unlimited bowling and shoe rental from 7pm to midnight. (You might want to be very un-Dude and get there early in order to grab a lane; bowling is general admission and not guaranteed.)
In the meantime, take a look at this “f#cking short” version of The Big Lebowski, which hilariously carves the movie into a two minute symphonic f-bombardment. (That particular vulgarity is uttered, in various forms, 281 times. You've got a date Sunday, baby!)