Kentucky Events: Lebowskifest

Bowling, white Russians, and cuss words in Louisville with The Dude

The Coen Brothers movie, The Big Lebowski, has spawned an annual festival full of Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Maud and Jesus Quintana fans. Or Achievers, as they prefer.

When the Coen Brothers made their iconic bowling film, The Big Lebowski, it is doubtful that they knew what it would spawn. Despite the picture getting a mixed critical reception and disappointing box office receipts, it has become a cult hit, with devoted fans across the world. And as a result of this rather disturbing fan adoration, a festival devoted to the film and its characters has been born.

For those who have not seen the film, it starred Jeff Bridges as Geoffrey Lebowski, a scruffy drop-out who called himself The Dude. Along with his angry Vietnam war vet friend, Walter Sobchak (played by John Goodman), he accidentally got involved in a complicated blackmail and kidnapping plot. As with many Coen Brothers movies, the storyline took a distant third place behind the characterization and dialogue. It’s one of those love it or hate it things.

Enough people absolutely love it, however, to make it the Lebowskifest in Louisville, Kentucky an annual event.

People come from all over the world, some dressed as characters such as Julianne Moore’s Maud Lebowski, John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana and Steve Buscemi’s Donnie. Whilst there, the Achievers (as attendees like to call themselves) are treated to unlimited bowling and a special screening of the film. The fun doesn’t stop there, though, as in between obsessive geek fans constantly quoting lines from the movie at each other, there are bowling and trivia contests, celebrity appearance (often by Jeff Dowd, the man who inspired the main character) and prizes for the Achiever that has travelled furthest.

As for drinks, well, White Russians, Sarsaparillas and Oat Sodas are heavily in demand, whilst the costumes worn are scarily authentic.

The original Lebowskifest event has been such a success that spin-off events have been held in bowling alleys across the US. Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Austin have all played host to people using “so many cuss words” and abiding.

And, if that didn’t make much sense to you, it’s probably best that you watch the film – it really ties the room together and it’s got nothing to do with Vietnam.

The annual Lebowski Fest will be held at the Executive Strike and Spare in Louisville in July.

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