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Lebowski Fest LA 2009: May 7 - 8

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If there was ever any question that Love of Lebowski runs deep in the veins of believers, one needed only stand outside the Wiltern on Thursday, May 7th, or at Cal Bowl the following Friday for proof aplenty.

Lebowski Fest is a two-day valentine to the Coen Brothers movie, and sweater jackets, military style vests and orange-tinted aviator sunglasses were present in abundance on both nights. A few bold fanatics showed up in purple onesies as Jesus (our hats off to you!), including one of the Wiltern bartenders (see photo gallery).

Being in L.A., we had the unique advantage of being home to the semi-employed actors who made up the peripheral characters in the film, so the event opened with appearances by Gary the bartender, whose right arm is featured more than once, the Ralph's checkout girl (a crowd favorite), Liam (he of the bowling belly shake), and none other than the Original Dude - the OG himself, the inspiration for the movie, his Dudeliness.

After the cast intros, the stage was semi-overtaken by the smallest rock star we’d ever seen. 9-year-old Yuto Miyazawa holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest professional guitar player, and, we found out, for good reason. Playing an instrument that was at least as big as he was, he wailed his way through a set that included “Crazy Train” and “Free Bird.”

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Night One wrapped with a reenactment of the rug pissing scene (classic), the landlord’s dance (bold), and finally a showing of the entire film. By about ten minutes into the movie, Jeff Daniels et al could hardly be heard over the fans yelling out the lyrics. It was like a stoned, lazy version of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Night Two - well, what can we say? On night two, we rolled. We rolled at Cal Bowl in Lakewood, where a line of characters again trailed down the sidewalk. There were a few more Maudes in the crowd, due perhaps to the phallic nature of bowling. We speculate.

White Russians were once again the drink of choice, and many a Walter bowled strikes and spares down every open lane in the joint. The same group of actors made appearances on a small podium, this time joined by Lu Elrod, who played, of course, the Coffee Shop Waitress.

And so, for one more year, the Dude abides...

Photos by Andy Sternberg and Jessica Pauline | LAist