For a few hours this past Saturday, Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley became the home of Lebowski Fest, man.
Hundreds of achievers (fans of The Big Lebowski, for those of you who aren't fluent in Lebowski lingo) gathered to throw some rocks, drink a few Caucasians, and generally celebrate the Coen brothers' legendary tribute to bowling, friendship, and the tale of a rug that really tied the room together.
Aside from the bowling (which, thankfully, wasn't a league game), White Russians, and music straight out of the film (and some other tunes), a trivia contest provided entertainment for the most diehard achievers, while a costume contest was overwhelmingly the most popular activity for the night for those who opted not to roll (even if it was after shabbos).
With all of the Dudes, Maudes and Walters competing in their own categories of the contest, one might assume that anyone in a different costume would be out of their element, but it was actually unique minor characters, such as Bunny Lebowski, the Nihilist's marmot and Arthur Digby Sellers in his iron lung, who ended up stealing the show.
Lebowski Fest, which started as somewhat of a joke in Kentucky 14 years ago, is no stranger to Southern California, as LA and OC have been regular spots for the traveling festival for quite some time now. On Saturday, we (the Royal "we," you know…) even had the opportunity to meet the Coen brothers' inspiration for the Dude, Jeff Dowd, while surrounded by people dressed in the standard sweaters and robes of the character based on his life.
"It's so much fun, man," Dowd says. "I don't get paid to be here, I do it for the fun."
After Friday night's movie night in LA (which included a performance by the Kyle Gass Band), it was hard to believe that the widely-varied crowd could be even more excited for an evening of bowling (once the sabbath ended), but the typical bowling alley was quickly turned into a huge costumed celebration of the film, the community and life itself. Between the bowling, the dancing and the endless quoting of lines from the movie, there didn't appear to be a person present who wasn't having a good time.
As the night wrapped up with a combination of '80s rock and early '00s hip-hop (Nelly, anyone?), an army of Lebowski character clones flooded out on to the streets of Fountain Valley. You know what they say, sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you. On Saturday night, Lebowski Fest definitely ate the bear, and we think the Dude would abide.