The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh held their fifth annual Dude Abides party on Saturday. This yearly celebration of the Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult classic film, “The Big Lebowski” usually occurs mid-summer, but this year was pushed back to September to serve as an end of summer celebration.
“The Big Lebowski” tells the story of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a bohemian Los Angelite, who is robbed of his rug by two goons looking for a man of the same name. His quest to save his rug quickly becomes sidetracked, where he must now save the other Lebowski’s wife, Bunny, who has been kidnapped. On top of this, The Dude and his friends — Donny and Walter — are competing in a bowling tournament, which takes a lethal turn.
Hundreds of Lebowski fans showed up for the event, filling up the museum’s park, from the main stage and film screening area to the field which hosted a large line of food trucks including local favorites American Meltdown and Two Roosters Ice Cream. The museum also supplied White Russians in honor of The Dude’s favorite cocktail.
Another change this year was the addition of a live musical act, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his son Colin Gilmore, the former of which played the character Smokey in the film. Known for his work in the band, The Flatlanders, the father and son duo performed a selection of songs from the band, their own solo work, and covers of Butch Hancock’s “My Mind’s Got A Mind Of Its Own” and Lucinda Williams’ “Howlin’ At Midnight.”
Following the performance, was a short question and answer forum facilitated by David Menconi, music critic for The News And Observer and country music contributor for Rolling Stone. The first half was conducted solely by Menconi, and the second half was open to the public. The audience was a bit more complimentary than questioning, but overall the forum shed a light on Gilmore’s experience in the film. With no prior acting experience, the Coen brothers persuaded him into the film by claiming they could teach him how to act, after all, Smokey is only in two scenes at the end of the film.
After the performance, a costume contest was held for the prize of a bowling party at Kings, as well as a custom Big Lebowski Holly Aiken bag. The contest was filled with many faithful recreations of the main characters, as well as some more abstract ones such as a White Russian, the rug and the running scissor man from The Dude’s dream, who ended up winning.
Finally, the movie screening began, or at least the first few minutes. There were technical difficulties with the sound, which pushed the showing back from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The crowd, presumably drunk off of too many White Russians, began shouting and booing at the sound guy. Drunken crowd members started telling everyone to go home, and that they wanted their money back, which was obnoxious, to say the least. Once the sound issues were fixed, the audience thankfully quieted down to watch the film.
The film was great as always, and honestly was much funnier watching it with other people. Jokes that were not as obvious when watching it alone became amplified by the large audience. Some die-hard fans would shout things at the screen occasionally, but it was not nearly as distracting as before.
Overall, the party was a great way to enjoy the 1998 classic stoner-comedy. The audience was a bit rude at times, but being in a space with hundreds of passionate fans gave a new energy to the film, but that is just my opinion, man.