Quad City Times 10/3/09
In the News - Press and Articles
Saturday, 03 October 2009 08:02

Lebowski Fest: Can you abide?


Earlier this week, a reference was made to this movie on ESPN's much-watched "SportsCenter" highlights and sports news show. Industry Web sites refer to it as this generation's "Rocky Horror Picture Show." We, of course, are talking about the 1998 film "The Big Lebowski."

Offshoot merchandise sales are growing, new Web sites are springing up all the time and if you hear a movie quote, chances are it's something "The Dude" said. Yes, we have a phenomenon going on.

And near the middle of it is North Scott High School grad Ben Ranfeld. Ben, now living in New Hampshire (but with family in Davenport) has his own site dedicated to the Joel and Ethan Coen comedy (lebowskipodcast.com). He runs it with his wife Liz, and Ben says the podcast is "dedicated to the Lebowski culture and conversation."

Ben knows a thing or two about the movie, to put it mildly. He won the first-ever Boston Lebowski Fest trivia contest just last month - his second such victory. In May, he won the annual Rutland County, Vt., Lebowski Night trivia contest.

At this point, some of you are scratching your head. "Lebowski Fest? What's that?" Oh, dear reader, they are everywhere - from Boston to Houston and points in between. For example, the Quadrants crew attended Chicago's Lebowski Fest just a few weeks back.few weeks back. You can check out the video at qctimes.com.

For the uneducated, "The Big Lebowski" is a unique comedy starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. To describe the film would be like trying to explain the significance of the Sistine Chapel.

Bridges plays "The Dude" (if you're into that brevity thing), a classic slacker role. Goodman is his unhinged bowling buddy. And the third wheel - friend Donny (Steve Buscemi) - is out of his element.

OK, enough inside lingo. What makes this film the cult hero it's grown to be? What has three-day festivals full of bowling and costumes popping up all over the map? Ben will tell you it's a way of life. It's The Dude's creed.

"The Dude is by no means a perfect person or character, but he has a lot to offer if you take the chance to notice," Ben says. "He's all about taking it easy, and this is something that seems harder and harder to do for most with the stress of work, family, life and the global economy. The Dude also has sympathy and compassion for people that extends beyond his friends and acquaintances. These are just a couple of lessons we can learn from The Dude."

And, as we all know, The Dude abides.



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Lebowski Fest

Lebowski Fest - an event honoring The Big Lebowski.




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