By GENE DAVIS, DENVER DAILY NEWS
If there’s ever been an event that The Dude would abide by, it’s the Lebowski Fest that’s rolling into gear tonight.
The 1998 Coen brothers cult classic comedy that, in short, tells the story of a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler who tries to solve/foil a supposed kidnapping is being screened at the Ogden Theatre tonight. The Black Diamond Heavies will be performing live music at the screening as well.
A bowling party, trivia and costume contest — as well as unlimited White Russians — will wrap up the festivities tomorrow night at Bowl-Ero.
“There’s nothing quite like watching this film with 500 other fans,” said Scott Shuffitt, co-founder of the Lebowski Fest. “It’s a great, great chance to have a lot of fun with a lot of likeminded Achievers (the name for Lebowski fans).”
Shuffitt and Will Russell, aka “the Founding Dudes,” came up with the idea for Lebowski Fest while working at a tattoo convention in 2002. The two friends started trading Lebowski quotes to help kill the time, and it didn’t take long before much of the tattoo convention was quoting and laughing along.
“We decided if you can have a mediocre tattoo convention, why can’t we have a Lebowski convention?” Shuffitt said.
Several months later, Shuffitt and Russell Several staged the inaugural Lebowski Fest at a run down bowling alley in Louisville, Kent. that forbid alcohol and cursing. The event ended up exceeding the friends’ expectations, according to Shuffitt.
“We thought it was going to be a real downer and that only people in Louisville would show up,” he said. “We were totally blown away, people came from all over the place and it had that sense of community that we kind of sought at the tattoo convention.”
Since then, Shuffitt and Russell have gone on to host Lebowski Festivals across the nation. Shuffitt said he’s shocked at how big the festival has gotten and credited its success to the film’s funniness, ability to be quoted and the power of the Internet.
“If you have a certain sense of humor, you can watch it time after time and continue to mine the comedy from it,” said Shuffitt, who has seen the film over 100 times. “And at the festival, there’s something about dressing up in these characters and playing the part…that’s hard to beat.”
Where and when: Ogden Theater tonight at 7:30, Bowl-ero, 5480 W. Alameda Ave., tomorrow night at 8
Cost: $20.50 for the movie tonight, starting at $25 for tomorrow night’s bowling party