The Dude abides at OCC, man

Costa Mesa campus is exhibiting posters made for the Lebowski Fest that pays homage to the 1998 cult classic film, 'The Big Lebowski.'

November 02, 2011|By Imran Vittachi
  • One of the posters on display at the Lebowski Fest exhibit.
One of the posters on display at the Lebowski Fest exhibit. (Courtesy Bill Green…)

COSTA MESA — Where else could the Lebowski Fest have started but in a bowling alley?

The movement that hero worships His Dudeness and All Things Dude took root 10 years ago, not in the Golden State but in the Bluegrass State.

In October 2001, Lebowski Fest co-founder Scott Schuffitt invited his former classmate and longtime friend, Bill Green, to a bowling party in their hometown of Louisville, Ky. It was themed around "The Big Lebowski," the 1998 cult-classic comedy by the Coen Brothers. Green was both an avid bowler and a fan of the Coens' films.

Schuffitt expected 40 to 50 people to show up at his party that night, but 150 came. Realizing he had tapped into a potential cultlike following around the bearded figurehead of the film's slacker hero, Jeff Lebowski (aka "The Dude," played by Jeff Bridges), Schuffitt then asked his friend to design a poster for what became the inaugural Lebowski Fest.


Since then, Green hasn't stopped creating posters for his friend's festivals. The phenomenon has spread from Louisville to other American cities, including Los Angeles, where the film takes place. The festivals are two-night affairs that include a screening of the film followed by a bowling party — not to mention the drinking of many White Russians.

On Monday, Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa opened an exhibition of 40 official Lebowski Fest posters designed by Green, a Los Angeles artist, during the festival's first decade of existence.

The "Across the Sands of Time" show will continue through Nov. 10, and follows on the heels of a separate Lebowski-themed art show in the campus' Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion. The other show ended on Oct. 28 and featured large paintings by Joe Forkan of scenes from the film.

"Of course, I did not intend to commit the next 10 years of my work to it …," Green said at Monday night's opening in the Student Project Space at OCC. "It's a job, first and foremost, but it's also fun. I could have been designing posters for who knows what, but it just so happens to coincide with my love of bowling and my love of Coen Brothers' [movies]."

OCC's Hillel organization, a Jewish campus group, is sponsoring Green's show because the film has some Jewish elements. The Dude's sidekick, Walter Sobchak (played by John Goodman), is a converted Jew thanks to his ex-wife — though The Dude insists Sobchak isn't "even [expletive] Jewish, man!" but rather just another Polish Catholic.

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