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Lebowski Fest rolls into Orlando this weekend, man

The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, abides in The Big Lebowski, with White Russians aplenty.   

Gramercy Pictures

The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, abides in The Big Lebowski, with White Russians aplenty. 

Dude, what are you doing this weekend? There's only one place to locate the correct beverage (White Russian, of course), roll on Shabbas and generally do whatever the wrong Jeffrey Lebowski would do.

Yessireebob, it's time to breeze along with the tumblin' tumbleweeds to Orlando and the first-ever Lebowski Fest in Florida, paying tribute and what-have-you to the greatest movie of all time, Joel and Ethan Coen's The Big Lebowski.

But that's, like, just my opinion, man. If you haven't seen the movie, shut up like Donny (Steve Buscemi) won't. You're out of your element.

This is where you'll meet true Achievers, and how proud we are of all of them.

Since 2002, Lebowski Fest has evolved from a Louisville lark among fans into a nationwide cult, from Austin to Los Angeles, from Chicago to San Francisco, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and up to Pismo where Donny used to surf. It's a good time, and thorough.

After attending the 2005 Lebowski Fest in Los Angeles, I tried to talk founders Will Russell and Scott Shuffett into bringing Lebowski Fest to Tampa, where Channelside and that giant bowling pin outside Splitsville tied the idea together, did it not?

It didn't. But bringing the party to Orlando is the next best thing.

So, what happens at Lebowski Fest? Oh, the usual. We bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.

Seriously, tonight at House of Blues the action begins at 8 p.m. with punk Creedence Clearwater Revival covers by the Attack, followed by a screening of The Big Lebowski. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $20 for seats. Doors open at 7.

Saturday night is the Lebowski Fest Bowling Party, 6 p.m. at Aloma Bowl, 2530 Aloma Ave. in Winter Park, featuring a costume contest guaranteed to astonish with its accuracy and attention to the movie's tiniest details. The winner in L.A. was a woman dressed as "Mrs. Jamtoss," a character who isn't in the film but whose name appears for a split second on Larry's homework paper.

Trivia and other contests are planned, with bowling and shoe rental included with the ticket ($25 at www.lebowskifest.com, $28 at the door). Bowling is general admission and not guaranteed.

But remember this is not 'Nam. There are rules.

First, you need to hate the freaking Eagles (only for a couple of days). The Dude won't even ride in the same cab with their SoCal harmonies.

Second, don't be fatuous. Maude (Julianne Moore) doesn't like that at all.

Third, realize that if you skip Lebowski Fest in Orlando, my friend, you are entering a world of pain.

Note: If anything in this story confuses you, watch the movie or browse the memorable quotes on IMDb.com for hints.

Steve Persall can be reached at persall@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.

Lebowski Fest rolls into Orlando this weekend, man 05/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2010 8:32am]
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