Mark it, Dude! The Lebowski Fest Facebook Page just found its 100,000th Achiever! We had no idea when we had the 1st Lebowski Fest in that small, run-down bowling alley in Louisville in 2002 that there were so many other Achievers out there. We are much obliged to the Achievers who have kept this thing rolling for over 11 years now. Let’s go get us a lane.
Lebowski Fest finally made it to The Big Easy for Lebowski Fest New Orleans last weekend and we sure had a far out time. Here’s a few highlights. Well, enjoy.
The highlight of the Movie Party was a performance by The Dudes Abide when they brought up Jim Hoosier aka “Liam” to sing “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the fucking Eagles. It turns out that the Achievers love Liam more than they hate the fucking Eagles so they did abide. The Dudes Abide consisted of two “Best Dude” winners Tom Esterline and Jeff Faith playing some great songs from the film including the theme from Branded, some Creedence and closing the set with Dead Flowers.
These Dudes were fresh off an epic road trip in which they drove three Dude Mobiles starting in Wisconsin all the way down to New Orleans while shooting a documentary “So, That’s What You Call Me.“
One of The Dude’s cars got a little dinged up and only two of three actually made it to New Orleans but they went out and Achieved anyway. You can follow the progress on the documentary here.
Thanks to all the New Orleans Achievers who came out and made the first Lebowski Fest New Orleans such a far out event. We’ll catch ya later on down the trail.
Above is Tiny Walter and Tiny Dude sent to us by Achiever Mom, Erica Pyle. We think this may be the best Halloween costume ever but that’s just like our opinion, man.
As if that picture wasn’t cute enough, this was sent in by Ettore Ferin with Donny, Maude, The Dude and Walter. Donny looks like he’s out of his element.
This may be the most far out Jack-o-lantern ever. Whoever the Achiever is that carved this pumpkin, proud we are of them.
Thanks to all the Achievers who submitted their take on Halloween this year. Made us laugh to beat the band. If you want to submit a picture, post it on the Lebowski Fest Facebook Page.
Catch ya later on down the trail.
The Achievers took San Francisco last weekend on the 11th anniversary of the very first Lebowski Fest and it was far out, man. We packed up our bags in Louisville, Kentucky, headed out to the West Coast and fortunately the god damn plane did not crash into the mountain.
We hit the streets of San Francisco and checked out the Musee.
We hit Haight Ashbury where no one seemed to mind if we did a J. No really, it smelled like weed everywhere. And that’s cool. That’s cool. We even found a show dog, with papers.
We headed off to the venue for the Movie Party and got ready. We saw a couple of Achievers out front beforehand. There were ready to roll.
This Dude was one of the first to arrive. As you can see, they gave Dude a beeper.
The Extra-Action Marching Band took to the stage and gave a strongly vaginal performance that helped us all conceive, man.
The posters by Bill Green turned out nicely and they are available here, signed and numbered, screen printed and limited to 200.
The next day we headed to the Bowling Party in Daly City and the Achiever costumes were fantastic. Here were some of our favorites.
How’s the smut business, Jackie?
Best Dude, Best Maude, Best Jesus & Best Walter after the Bowl-off.
Note the 10 commandments: Thou Shalt Not Roll on Shabbos, Thou Shall Not Like The Eagles.
The Whale Sounds took home best costume. Far out!
Karl Hungless poses with Walter and his floating ear along with the Nihilist who he bit it off from.
Some female Achievers including “The Big Meowski.”
And of course we finished out at the In-N-Out Burger. Those are good burgers, Walter! Thanks to all the San Francisco Achievers who came out and achieved with us. If you have any photos, please send them in or post them on our wall. Hope to see some of you guys in New Orleans!
This week marks the anniversary of the very first Lebowski Fest or the “1st Annual Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. The very first event was held on October 12th, 2002 at The Fellowship Lanes on the seedy side of town in Louisville, Kentucky nestled between a trailer park and several strip clubs including “The Classy Lady” and “The White Collar Review & Stag Bar.”
Lebowski Fest was born in the summer of 2002 when Founding Dudes, Will & Scott, were selling t-shirts at a tattoo convention. They were bored so to pass the time they started quoting lines from their favorite movie, The Big Lebowski. Lo and behold some other vendors jumped in and started quoting lines with them and they realized that they were not alone in their love (or some would say obsession) with this movie. They were sitting by the stage where the climax of this convention was happening which involved two people suspending from their “ass piercings.” They were out of their element but it struck them that if these people could have this weird tattoo convention, they could have a Big Lebowski convention. They knew of a tiny run down bowling alley they could rent out, came up with the idea to have costume & trivia contests and Lebowski Fest was born. They printed up a few flyers and expecting to have 15-20 of their friends show up, they were shocked to welcome 150 people to the event.
The venue was fucking interesting, man as it was a Baptist-run center and had some restrictions that made this a funny venue for Lebowski Fest. They had rules against drinking and cussing and would not let us show the film as the F-word is used over 280 times in just two hours. But we went out and achieved anyway and had an absolute blast.
We decided to have another one and in July 2003, the 2nd Annual Lebowski Fest drew over 1200 people from 35 states.The next year we added live music with My Morning Jacket and took Lebowski Fest on the road and to date there have been over 50 Lebowski Fests in over 30 cities. We had no idea there were so many Achievers out there. It is truly an honor to be able to travel the country and celebrate our favorite movie with fellow fans. Thanks for everybody who made this dream come true. And proud we are of all of you.
Here is a video by Bill Green of the 1st Annual Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest. Well, enjoy.
Here is a recap written by Will a few days after the event if you want the blow by blow.
Will’s Recap of the 1st Annual Lebowski Fest
October 15th, 2002
Here is what happened at the 1st Annual Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest.
150 people were in attendance at the “1st Annual Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest” or “Lebowski Fest” if you’re into the whole brevity thing. Some as young as 15 and some closer to 50. Two guys traveled from Tuscon, AZ just to bowl at the Lebowski Fest. A group of kids skipped class on Friday, drove from Buffalo, NY, got towed on Friday night in Ohio and still made it to the event on Saturday! A father and son drove from Oxford, OH dressed as “The Stranger” and “Walter” and little brother and big brother came from Indianapolis dressed as “The Jesus” and “Jackie Treehorn”. Others traveled from Columbus, OH, Bloomington and Muncie, IN.
It was a family affair in more than one way. The Fellowship Lanes is a Baptist establishment which meant two things: No Cussing and No Drinking. Yes, there was actually a big sign when you walked in with the words “NO CUSSING” scrolled ominously by the door. The irony was irresistible since the movie mentions the “F*** word” and its variations 267 times! We were not allowed to play the music we compiled for the event with 15 second audio clips from the movie between tracks because there wasn’t one clean one! Almost no one had an issue with the ‘no beverage’ policy but the 2nd annual will be at a place where the ‘White Russians’ can flow freely. The bowling alley was in a rather seedy area of town wedged between a trailer park and the most strip clubs per square mile in town – including the ‘The Foxy Lady’, ‘White Collar Lounge’, ‘Thoroughbreds’, and everyone’s favorite ‘The Classy Lady!’ It was nothing but good clean fun inside the Fellowship lanes. Seriously, it was just really fun!
The first round of trivia was impressive with over 30 people getting all 10 questions correct. We drew 10 round 2 finalists from the 30+ round 1 winners and came up with quite the trivia crew. Everyone was taken into the banquet room and given 10 more written questions placed face down with their number 2 pencils. You could cut the intensity with a knife as the contestants reached deep within their Lebowski memories to come up with the color of nail polish Bunny Lebowski wore.
Bill Green was busy running around with his mini-DV camera working on his ’1st Annual Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest’ documentary. He interviewed Scott and I, the guys from Tuscon, the crew from Buffalo, Mike from BowlingRoadTrip.com, various attendees, and got some great Coen Brothers inspired shots of bowling and What-Have-You.
The costume contest was won by 15 year old ‘Jesus’ with his glued-on goatee which he enthusiastically kept pressing back on his face all night! Jesus rules! Second place was taken by some very spirited Nihilists with their jam box blaring some German Techno (Autobahn?). They had a lot of spirit for a group that believes in “Nossing”. Third place was taken by the Stranger who brought his son (Walter) and had “the whole cowboy thing going on.” Everyone who dressed up was awesome. There was a definite absence of ‘the Dude’ in the costume contest but the spirit of the Dude was alive and well throughout the night and seemed to be a little part of everything there.
As you can imagine, “Over the line!” was bellowed several times during the evening as well as “Mark it 8, Dude.” Probably my personal favorite part of the evening was when we were closing and it was Scott, myself, Flobie, the guys from Tuscon, the crew from Buffalo, and Mike from Bowling Road Trip hanging out and trading lines from the movie. It may not sound that interesting, but there was an intangible magic about it. Kinda had to be there I guess.
Furthest Traveled trophy went to the guys from Tuscon, and the crew from Buffalo won the engraved ‘Dude’ bowling ball and bag. Highest bowling score was 175. These were not necessarily seasoned bowlers. There was a greater purpose for the evening. With four hours of unlimited bowling, everyone got plenty of practice! All prizes were various vintage bowling trophies with “Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest, 1st Place **** 2002″ engraved on them. Special thanks to the Nitty Gritty and Bombshells Clothing for donating the vintage bowling trophies.
So now it’s time to look ahead to the ’2nd annual Lebowski Fest.’ We will have a bigger bowling alley and one that allows not only drinking, but cussing as well! Hopefully by next year Mike from Bowling Road Trip will have hit all the bowling alleys in the country and can recommend one. We are considering a bowling alley in Louisville that is adjacent to a drive-in movie establishment. We would love to have the bowling from 8-12 and then have a midnight showing of the film at the drive-in! We would also like to get a celebrity from the movie to come down. There are some rumors that John Turturro a.k.a. ‘the Jesus’ visits Louisville from time to time and is somehow affiliated with Actors Theater of Louisville. We shall see…
Thanks again to everyone who braved 7th Street Road to be a part of Lebowski history! Please email us and let us know your thoughts or any suggestions for the 2nd annual What-Have-You Fest. This has been an absolute blast from conceiving the idea in July through the actual event last night.
Take ‘er easy…
Lebowski Fest has a brand new website made by the Achievers over at VIA Studio, yes, and proud we are of all of them.
Now this a-here story I’m about to unfold began way back in 2002, around the time of the first Lebowski Fest, or “The First Annual Big Lebowski What-Have-You Fest” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. This first Fest was a quaint event held at a Baptist-run bowling alley called The Fellowship Lanes on the seedy side of Louisville, Kentucky. We expected maybe 15 or so of our friends to show up and thanks to a web page we put up (not a website mind you, just a page on another site) the word began to spread via forums and emails and what-have-you across the Internet and we ended up with 150 Achievers at the first event.
The Big Lebowski is the first cult film of the Internet age and this wave of the future had a lot to do with why Lebowski Fest turned into the phenomenon that it did. By the next year, Lebowski Fest was written up in SPIN Magazine as one of the summer’s can’t miss events due to an intern at SPIN searching the Internet for a picture of Nixon Bowling and stumbling across LebowskiFest.com which was launched initially in December 2002. Suddenly, there were 1200 Achievers arriving in Louisville on July 19th, 2003 for the 2nd Annual Lebowski Fest and the rest is history.
Around 2008, the original Lebowski Fest website was given a facelift and due to the growth of social media beginning with MySpace then Facebook the Achiever Nation was exploding and the Lebowski Fest Facebook Page just crossed the 90,000 Achiever mark this morning. Mark it.
Earlier this year we got together with VIA Studio which is run by Jason Clark who has been a friend of Lebowski Fest from the beginning and taught the Dudes at Lebowski Fest about throwing events for a “limber” crowd with the raves he used to host in the nineteen hundred and nineties. Jason is also the DJ at the infamous annual Lebowski Fest after party and knows how to have a good time. We knew we needed a site that would showcase the incredible art that has been created by poster artist Bill Green who has made incredible posters for every Lebowski Fest of which there have been over 50 to date.
It also had to look good on mobile devices which the old site was a fucking travesty with. Now it’s looking good and working like a champ so the Achievers can go out and Achieve in the modest task which is their charge.
So please feel free to inspect it and, ya know, give us notes.
The Nerdist Channel was at Lebowski Fest LA in March of 2013 and made a video that Knox Harrington, the video artist, would be proud of. The segment features Jeff “The Dude” Dowd who is the real-life inspiration for The Dude and fortunately was adhering to a pretty strict drug regimen to keep his mind, uh, ya know, limber.
Lebowski Fest has had its share of special guests and we have come to expect the unexpected. In March of 2013, we had a surprise cameo from none other than Jack Black, actor, comedian and as it turns out an Achiever just like you and me.
We were very excited to have booked the Kyle Gass Band, (link) Kyle Gass being one half of the mighty Tenacious D. (link) They were set to headline the Lebowski Fest LA Movie Party at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills where we would be screening the 35mm film print of The Big Lebowski, not the revised second draft. Kyle Gass showed up with his shaggy band in tow for sound check and took the stage with some promising Creedence covers and a scorching opener of “Condition” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. During their sound check, a man knocked on the front door of the theatre with shaggy hair and a ball cap and told the staff member who opened the door that he was there for sound check. He said he didn’t know anything about it and after checking with the house manager discovered that he was talking to Jack Black and promptly let him in.
As I watched Jack Black causally stroll across the lobby, my jaw hit the floor. We had no idea he would be attending and I knew we were in for a great night. Jack entered the auditorium as the Kyle Gass Band sound checked and proceeded to run up and down the aisles like a kid who had too many candy bars checking the sound in all corners of the theatre. Jack gave the thumbs up and hopped on stage to sing “Viva Las Vegas.” It was just me, the sound guy and the band in the auditorium and I was grinning from ear to ear witnessing this secret sound check imaging how the hundreds and hundreds of Achievers were going to react when JB took the stage.
The Theatre filled up with Achievers in costume and actors from the film like Jack Kehler who played The Dude’s landlord, Leon Russom the Chief of Police of Malibu and Philip Moon who was Woo the infamous carpet pisser. I asked Mr. Moon if he would be interested in using a squirt bottle to feign peeing on a rug really tying the stage together and he declined saying that he needed to get away from that image. Apparently whenever casting agents or directors google him for potential acting jobs they come across photos of him pissing on the rug at past Lebowski Fests. He said it was time to move on.
The auditorium filled up with Achievers with their ceremonial White Russian beverages and the lights went down. Kyle Gass Band took the stage in full Lebowski costumes, Kyle as Walter, the guitarist as as convincingly creepy Jesus, the bassist as The Dude and the heavy drummer in a skin tight red nihilist outfit. They kicked it off with “Condition” and the crowd went wild. They even started “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and stopped after the hall filled with boos and the Bassist Dude stepped up to the mic exclaiming “I hate the fucking Eagles man!”
After redeeming themselves with Creedence’s “Lookin Out My Backdoor,” the band breaks into the beginning of “Viva Las Vegas.” Suddenly the voice of Elvis is heard over the PA “How y’all doin’ tonight, alright baby!” and the crowd whirls around to see Jack Black running down the aisle in a skin tight Evil Knievel outfit. The King climbs over the front two rows high giving everyone in his path and belly flops onto the stage. He then proceeds to crush “Viva Las Vegas” in full Kung Fu Elvis mode, takes a bow and exits the stage. The roof of the Saban Theatre almost blew off!
Jack walked behind the movie screen and out the stage door onto the street. Sunglasses still in tact and sweat falling everywhere, he walked down the sidewalk alone with his cape flapping in the wind. I shouted “Thanks for coming Jack!” and without missing a beat he just did a fist pump in the air and disappeared into the LA night. It was the grandest entrance and grandest exit I had ever seen. Elvis has left the building.
Video of Jack Black’s surprise cameo at Lebowski Fest LA. Video by Paul Niesen.