Bowling with Walter

Some films, like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, hit cult status by the time the first scene trips over itself and tumbles to a close. Others, like The Big Lebowski, take a while to slosh around in the popular consciousness, their lines issuing from more and more mouths until critical mass hits and everyone realizes something miraculous happened when none of us were looking. For Lebowski, that moment was in 2002, two years after the film opened to mixed reviews (“an episodic, unstrung film,” said the Daily News, not realizing those were strengths), when a midnight screening had to turn away fans. Later that year, the Lebowski Fest was born, with 150 fans muttering “The Dude abides” and “Smokey, my friend, you are entering a world of pain” while throwing frames in a Kentucky bowling alley. Since then, the festival has exploded like a bomb, or a White Russian dropped on a rug that really tied the room together if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. 2009’s Lebowski Fest Speed of Sound Tour spans 12 states, 14 cities, and a little Canada for flavor, with both bowling and film nights at each stop (the Bay Area screening is July 25 at Oakland's Fox Theater). Obey the Walter-like command to dress up, which means yellow sunglasses, cardigans, and blue jumpsuits for the men and pigtails, gladiator sandals, and bowling headdresses for the women.
Fri., July 24, 7:30 p.m., 2009

 
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