Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lebowski Fest

To an outsider, cult film screenings must be a strange sight to behold. It takes a special kind of weirdo to dress up like his or her favorite character and go to a theater to see a movie that came out years ago, and yell out lines at the screen in unison with the crowd.

This author is one such weirdo.

Lebowski Fest, the annual festival celebrating Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 masterpiece The Big Lebowski, hit New York at Terminal 5 last Tuesday. Achievers (the name for die-hard Lebowski fanatics) turned out in droves to bowl, drink White Russians (the cocktail of choice for The Dude, the movie’s lead character played by Jeff Bridges), wave their pieces around, and watch The Big Lebowski alongside fellow Achievers.

The party featured music by the band Black Diamond, who performed a set covering songs from the film’s soundtrack in addition to a few of their own originals. Also in attendance were the Pin Heads, a troupe of Achievers dressed as bowling pins, as well as Jeff Bridges himself (via satellite).

But the night’s big event was, of course, the film screening. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere of watching a movie like The Big Lebowski on a big screen in a room full of strangers who also know every line of the film. Think of the greatest thing on Earth, and you have at least a remote idea.

Suffice it to say, good times were had by all. And if nothing else, there is a certain bizarre pleasure to be had at the sight of a full bar lined with pitchers full of ready-made White Russians to be poured for thirsty Achievers. This author had no choice but to abide.

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