"They call Los Angeles the City of Angels. I didn't find it to be that, exactly, but I'll allow it as there are some nice folks there. Course, I can't say I seen London, and I never been to France, and I ain't never seen no queen in her damn undies, as the fella says. But I'll tell you what-- after seein' Los Angeles in this here story I'm about to unfold-- well, I guess I seen somethin' ever' bit as stupefyin' as you'd see in any of those other places, and in English too, so I can die with a smile on my face without feelin' like the good Lord gypped me." -- The Stranger, from the opening narration of The Big Lebowski
You know you were waiting for it: Here’s my Lebowski Fest 2006 report and full-color photo album, perky paragraphs and picturesque portraits of a night of beer, bowling, boorish behavior, white Russians, crazy costumes and lessons on how to care for one's bowling equipment that came straight from the source. Here we go:
This is where it all happened: the Cal Bowl, Lakewood, California.
From left: Steve, Michelle (we met her and her boyfriend, Ryan, not pictured, just a few minutes before this photo was taken), Noel and Brian. Michelle and Ryan made up the fifth and sixth spots on our lane, and we were lucky to be teamed up with such good humored, genial folks, especially considering some of the goofballs on the lanes on either side of us!
Warming up at the cavernous Cal Bowl. Finding a bowling ball was not easy for one as sausage-fingered as I (even Brian had trouble finding a ball that he could jam his fingers into), but we eventually got lucky. Apparently only those with very slim digits bowl in Lakewood...
Jim Hoosier, who played Liam O’Brien, Jesus Quintana’s league partner in The Big Lebowski, demonstrates his showcase bowling ball buffing routine before the evening gets underway.
They came dressed as Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore) and Jesus Quintana (John Turturro).
There were rumors of a Jeff Bridges-John Goodman sighting at the Cal Bowl that night. I can neither confirm nor deny those rumors; I can only offer you this photographic evidence and encourage you to weigh the facts and make your own decision as to what you believe…
We call him Catnappin’ King, the life of the party!
Here’s Ryan and Michelle at the end of the evening. Michelle took to holding her ball on her lap, as it was being continually co-opted by one of the thoughtless young maidens on the lane to our right. And I had some issues with a sturdy young fella trying to steal my ball, too. But maybe since I was dressed as Walter Sobchak, who, as you probably know, is not the kind of fella who would ever let that kind of aggression stand, I was moved to have a few words with the young interloper and we were able to come to an “understanding” without having to draw firearms or involve league officials.
Final high scores: Brian and Dennis, 140; Steve, Ryan, Noel, 135; Michelle, 122. We could leave the friendly confines of the Cal Bowl with our heads held high. I got my “Mark it 8, Dude” bumper sticker (now proudly featured on the back of my minivan, the vehicle endorsed by hard-ass bowlers the world over), and I picked up a couple of great T-shirts, one that says, “Do you know what happens, Larry?” on the front, the other with a bold “ACHIEVER” label on the front and a quote on the back: “And proud we are of all of them!” Yes, proud we were to be a part of Lebowski Fest 2006. It was a lot of fun, even if I never got to meet Edie McClurg… Edie, did you chicken out? Or just come to your senses? Next year, same lanes, perhaps?