Dudes take on the world at Lebowski Fest

“The Big Lebowski” movie is about blackmail, mistaken identity and of course bowling.


So many people can relate to the main character – who has no problem, staying in a robe all day, and drinking White Russians – that a movement has formed, attracting thousands of people over the years.

Lebowski Fest and shows us why this anti-hero is so appealing in these turbulent times.

Beneath the echo of falling bowling pins, costumed fans of “The Big Lebowski” are trying to figure out where things went wrong.

“Why is this happening to me, I’ve done nothing wrong,” said one bowler, dressed like the movie character, Walter, played by John Goodman. “Just like a lot of us, we’re just trying to get through life. We’re like, what did I do to deserve this?”

Fans of “The Big Lebowski” from around the country are taking a break from the chaos of America 2011. The Coen Brothers film has achieved cult status and Jeff Bridges immortalized the Dude character, who lives for White Russians and bowling.  The film about a Southern California slacker resonated so much, that fans travel across the country to take part in the annual Lebowski Fest.

“We flew all the way from Kansas,” said one bowler dressed as the character, The Stranger.

“To be an achiever means driving to California from Arizona to bowl with a bunch of freaks like myself,” said another die-hard fan, dress as Julianne Moore’s character, Maude.

Lebowski fans call themselves achievers, an ironic reference to the Dude’s lack of ambition.  Like the Dude they sense they’re being scammed by the system.

“We’re all being screwed in so many ways by opportunists, speculators, because they’re just playing that game,” said Jeff Dowd, a filmmaker and anti-war activist, who the Dude character is based on.  “It’s not good for capitalism.  It’s not good for main street its not even good for Wall Street,” Dowd added.

In his eyes, the Dude would take on the man, from Wall Street to the White House.

“He’d probably be taking on the president,” said James Hoosier, the actor who plays Liam O’Brien in the film.  “What the f’s up dude.  Why you doing this to us?” said Hoosier, imitating the Dude character.

In these uncertain times, the little guy, much like the Dude, can feel overwhelmed by outside forces he doesn’t have any control over, making the philosophy of the Dude a lot more appealing these days.

“I think sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you,” said The Stranger.

Some piece of mind when those with the power seem more focused on saving themselves.

“The whole bowling thing with the crazy buddies is a metaphor for, if those yo-yos can stick together, we all can too,” said Dowd.

Lebowski fans say we can all learn a thing or two from the Dude.  From being loyal, to dealing with life when it seems like the world is coming down on you.

“We have to show the light of what’s really there and stick together and not have all these fear-mongers decide, oh this is how it’s got to be,” said Dowd.

But during Lebowski Fest, problems like nihilists, or Wall Street speculators, are an afterthought.  Instead, the biggest problem is finding cash for another White Russian.