Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I know where I'm going to be on Saturday, March 4-- in Lakewood, California, that's where, sipping white Russians and deconstructing the screenwriting style of one Arthur Digby Sellers (You know... Branded? "All but one man died there at Bitter Creek"?) with as many no-accounts and Coen-heads as can fit into the Cal Bowl in Lakewood for the 7th Annual Lebowski Fest West, celebrating all things substantial and tangential to the Coen Brothers brilliant 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski. (Yes, even this.) There's a pre-party at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood the night before, but clearly the place to be is gonna be the Cal Bowl on Saturday night. Of course, there are always rumors about celebrities from the movie attending, and this year is no different, but if you're gonna get all excited about maybe tipping a sarsaparilla with Sam Elliot, trading photography stories with Jeff Bridges, pitching a script to Philip Seymour Hoffman, or getting your toenails painted by Tara Reid, you'd best scale your expectations down a bit. Jeff "the Dude" Dowd and Peter Exline, the real-life inspirations for the Dude and Walter, will be appearing at the Knitting Factory, and it's reasonable to think they might find their way down to Lakewood as well (although I'm not sure I could handle sharing a lane with the real Walter Sobchak.) And the good folks at Lebowski Fest 2006 have confirmed appearances by Jim Hoosier (Liam, the Jesus's teammate), Robin Jones (sullen Ralph's checkout girl), bowling technical consultant Barry Asher and even Edie McClurg, who had not one thing to do with The Big Lebowski, but who is a tremendously good sport and loads of fun and who has given up her Saturday evening to spend it with a bunch of drunken film fans who may or may not even know who she is.
(Maybe I'll throw her a curve and ask her about Brian De Palma and Carrie-- "Edie, do you ever lay awake at night regretting having treated Sissy Spacek so badly?")
This event sold out faster than you could toss a marmot into a bathtub last year, so if you're a fan of the film, or perhaps just a very interested, very brave sociologist who can't get a date for March 4, you might want to consider getting your tickets now. I'll be there dressed as Walter (if I can find my hunting vest) to my pal Stoogeking's Dude, and we're hoping to drag a few likeminded travelers to tumble with the tumblin' tumbleweeds right alongside us that night. Remember, you can say what you like about the tenets of Lebowski Fest 2006, but at least it's an ethos. Come see the ethos get tipsy, drop 15-pound bowling balls on their tender feet, and luxuriate in a bowling alley full of fellow Lebowski-heads on that very special night in Lakewood March 4.
Yet another bit of Lebowskiana: Here's some tomfoolery by way of GreenCine Daily called Sizing Up Lebowski, a peek inside the LebowskiFest phenomenon. You may want to take a look at this before buying your tickets, especially if your favorite Coen Brothers movie is The Ladykillers...