The Dude would most definitely abide. In just a few days the ninth annual Lebowski Fest will descend upon the Chicago area attracting fans from all over the Midwest. Lebowski Fest is a celebration of all things related to the 1998 Coen brothers cult comedy, The Big Lebowski. Fans of the film (aka "Achievers") come from far and wide to drink white Russians, throw some rocks and party with an array of Dudes, Walters and Maudes (not to mention a nihilist or two).
The three-day festival in The Windy City will kick off Sunday Sept. 12, 2009, at the Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.) with a special showing of The Big Lebowski, the film that started it all. The party will then continue Monday and Tuesday night at the Diversey Bowl (2211 W. Diversey).
For devoted Lebowski fans (commonly known as Achievers) the movie is not just an eclectic Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan) comedy, it is a way of life. Full of witty, highly quotable dialogue the film has very quickly taken a life of its own. Although the film was a sleeper when it was first released in 1998 it quickly blossomed into a cult movie.
The story of Lebowski Fest begins in 2002 during a rather dull tattoo expo in Louisville, Kentucky. Under the mistaken belief that it would be a great place to sell T-shirts from Scott's shop (Mothership Connection, R.I.P.), the “founding dudes”, as Scott and Will are now known, were manning a booth but were so bored by the lack of activity that they took to quoting The Big Lebowski for amusement. No matter how many times a line was said, it was undeniably funny. As the other vendors joined in they very quickly realized they had tapped into a pop culture phenomenon which had not yet been recognized.
In creating a sense of bonding and camaraderie between complete strangers came a revelation amidst this swirl of neck tattoos and piercing enthusiasts: "If they can have conventions for tattoos and God knows what else, why not a convention for people who love The Big Lebowski? As a famous dude once said "If you will it, it is no dream."
A date was set, a bowling alley was rented and flyers were printed. And people flocked from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and Pismo to take part in the shenanigans. The First Annual Lebowski Fest went so well that Scott and Will decided to host another one, and another, and another.
The “founding dudes” discovered that Lebowski fans were everywhere and took the movie very seriously. Thus, The First Annual Lebowski Fest was born. Crowds poured in from all over the country to celebrate the movie and bask in its eclectic goodness. Sensing the universal potential of the venture they decided to continue the festival touring America each year.
It's a multi-day party that typically opens with live performances and screening of the film the first night and concludes with a raucous bowling party the following night. The First Annual Lebowski Fest was in 2002 in Louisville, but subsequent fests have been held in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Austin, Seattle, London and Edinburgh. While the Coen brothers continue to maintain a safe distance from the madness they created, the fest has earned the blessing of the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, who attended the fest in L.A. and even stuck around to sing a few songs
Are you a closet achiever? Come out and show your pride this weekend. Festivities include unlimited bowling, costume contests, trivia and much more. For more information visit www.lebowskifest.com or call 502-583-9290.
Check out photos from past fests, and click here find out when Lebowski Fest might be coming to a city near you.
Lebowski Fest Speed of Sound Tour Dates:
Lebowski Fest has packed up its dirty undies and giant bowling pin costumes and has hit the road for a North American tour Tickets are on sale now!
Lebowski Fest Minny: Sept 11-12
Lebowski Fest Chicago: Sept 13-15
Lebowski Fest Boston: Sept 19-20
Lebowski Fest New York: Sep 22-24
Lebowski Fest Philly: Sept 25-26
Lebowski Fest DC: Sept 28-29
Lebowski Fest Austin: Oct. 9-10
Lebowski Fest Denver: Sept 8-9
Lebowski Fest Seattle: July 20-21
w/ Jeff Dowd, Har Mar Superstar
Lebowski Fest Portland: July 22-23
w/ Har Mar, Lebowski Burlesque
Lebowski Fest San Fran: July 24-25
w/ Liam, Har Mar Superstar
Lebowski Fest San Diego: Jul 26-27
w/ Liam, Har Mar Superstar