How to fake it at Lebowski Fest
Learn to achieve, Lebowski-style
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Before there was Seth Rogen, there was The Dude, the pot-smoking leader of Los Angeles freeloaders. The Big Lebowski has become a cult institution since its 1998 release, and when in 2002 the number of fans reached a critical mass, Lebowski Fest was born. The annual event, which originated in Kentucky, is a chance for Lebowski lovers, a.k.a. Achievers, to gather, wear costumes, drink, and, of course, bowl. Now in its 10th year, the Fest has comes to Milwaukee this weekend, and features a Friday-night screening of the Coen Brothers flick at Cathedral Square. With so many diehard Achievers at the fest, it’s important to fit in, or risk being exposed as a fraud. That’s why The A.V. Club has created this list of easy-to-pull-off costumes for the slacker in all of us. So, let’s go bowling, man.
Who the fuck are you, man?: A shaggy guy with a paunch
I don’t need your sympathy, man, I need: A dingy bathrobe, stained white V-neck, whoops-I-spilled-my-bong-water lounge pants
What do you do, sir?: Put on a schlubby outfit and cover it with a bathrobe. Allow hair to grow to unseemly lengths, then pin it back with a silver barrette. Squint eyes and move around languidly.
It was a purdy good story, too: The Dude is the man for his time: lazy, unemployed, and broke. He loves to bowl, chill, and leave everyone else alone. It is only when his treasured rug gets peed on that he gets tied up in the intrigues and backstabbing of a half-baked kidnapping scheme. The Dude meanders through the death threats and detached toes with very little concern, ultimately emerging much as he was before.
In the parlance of our times: “I’m The Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or his Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”
To be an over-Achiever: Carry around a Walkman with bowling sounds or Creedence tapes. Bring a bowling ball. Wear jelly sandals, The Dude’s footwear of choice.
Proof you’re out of your element: Unaccounted for energy, failure to abide
Who the fuck are you, man?: Skinny, preferably with a bad ‘90s bowl haircut
I don’t need your sympathy, man, I need: A bowling shirt, shoes
What do you do, sir?: Throw on a pair of bowling shoes, a button-up bowling shirt, and some jeans. Flutter around the edges of conversation asking for explanation.
It was a purdy good story, too: Donny is the third member of The Dude-Walter bowling team. He’s terminally out of the loop, because Walter believes he's out of his element and refuses to let him enter conversation. Donny dies from cardiac arrest during an attack by the nihilists.
In the parlance of our times: “I am the Walrus?”
To be an over-Achiever: Carry around your own ashes all night. When Walter and The Dude are unable to afford the funeral parlor’s “most modestly priced receptacle” for Donny’s ashes, they take him to the sea in a Folgers coffee can.
Proof you’re out of your element: Demonstrating any idea of what’s going on, successfully participating in a conversation.
Who the fuck are you, man?: Willing to be hit on by a bowling alley full of terminal fans
I don’t need your sympathy, man, I need: A ditzy attitude and a collection of bright colors and prints
What do you do, sir?: Paint nails and toenails green. Pull half of hair back into a messy ponytail on top of head and fasten with a scrunchie.
It was a purdy good story, too: Bunny is a former farm girl who ran away to L.A. to marry up. She owes money all over town and runs off to Las Vegas for the weekend, opening the door for the nihilists’ ransom demands. She returns at the end of the movie, much to the Big Lebowski’s chagrin.
In the parlance of our times: “I can’t blow that far.”
To be an over-Achiever: Carry around a boombox playing “Viva Las Vegas.”
Proof you’re out of your element: Refusing to giggle, displaying brain power.
Who the fuck are you, man?: Extremely lazy
I don’t need your sympathy, man, I need: A small rug
What do you do, sir?: Wrap the rug around torso and fasten with a rope.
It was a purdy good story, too: The plot of The Big Lebowski kicks into gear when a "Chinaman" pees on The Dude’s rug. The rug is a treasured part of The Dude’s sparse apartment, and he spends the majority of the movie trying to replace it.
In the parlance of our times: Walk around all night saying, “I really tie the room together.”
To be an over-Achiever: Being a rug is making the choice not to achieve, a very Dude-like decision.
Proof you’re out of your element: Not letting other Achievers pee on you.