The Dude abides in Bangor

Posted July 02, 2009, at 5:43 p.m.

Let’s be truthful folks. It is a rare individual that hasn’t daydreamed, at some point, of just quittin’ the rat race and takin’ it easy, for all us sinners. Putting on some pajama pants, a bathrobe and jelly shoes, mixing up a few adult beverages and bowling a few strings. No job. No prospects. Just a regular Dude. Dudeness. Duder. Or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

“Sometimes, I just want to hang out and bowl all day. Who doesn’t want to do that?” said Gibran Graham, organizer of this weekend’s Lebowski Bowl-a-Rama, a two-day festival celebrating the cult classic to end all cult classics, the 1998 Coen brothers movie “The Big Lebowski.” “Who doesn’t want to not have to worry about anything? I think the Dude represents that, in a lot of ways. The Dude abides. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Lebowski Bowl-a-Rama comes in two parts: a movie and concert party featuring Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine, 7 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at the Bangor Opera House, and an all-you-can-abide bowling party, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 5, at the Sports Arena on Outer Hammond Street in Hermon. A special “achiever” package for both nights is $45, while just the concert and movie is $30 and bowling is $20.

Graham, organizer of the successful BangPop! Comic Convention and the SnowCon Gaming Convention, has had Lebowski on his mind for many months now. Modeled on the original Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, the Bangor Lebowski party is one of many that have cropped up in cities all over the country in recent years.

“I think there’s a real universal appeal for ‘Lebowski,’” he said. “And we’ve had such great feedback, ranging from disbelief, as in ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening in Bangor!’ to ‘Man, now I have to plan my costume.’”

Expect plenty of utility vests, bowling shirts and Viking helmets at both the concert and movie party and the bowling party. “The Big Lebowski” has spawned some seriously die-hard fans.

“In a way, they’re almost like Trekkies. The mythology and the different little parts of the movie are really almost obsessed upon by so many people,” said Graham. “And it really transcends age groups and backgrounds. Teenagers and college kids love it. My mom loves it. It’s hard not to love it.”

Choosing lounge singer extraordinaire Richard Cheese and his fabulously swingin’ band Lounge Against the Machine to play at the movie party seems oddly appropriate — the man has never played Maine, and the kind of ironic edge Cheese has seems to appeal to Lebowski fans. Cheese, who plays lounge, swing and Hawaiian covers of all kinds of songs — from hip-hop to heavy metal — also has a devoted cult following.

“Richard Cheese is so funny and so talented that even if you’ve never heard him you’ll enjoy him,” said Graham. “I think it’s a great match for the show. It just adds to all the fun.”

Graham is also bringing in two bands from Brooklyn, New York — French Horn Rebellion, an electro-pop group that does, in fact, feature a French horn, and Savoir Adore, an indie-rock band. Thirty bucks for three bands, a movie and the chance to mingle with your fellow Bangor Dudes, achievers and nihilists? Not a bad deal.

“It’s a full weekend of entertainment, for not that much money,” said Graham. “And yes, we’re stopping for the fireworks during the show on Saturday. We got a little flak for doing it on the Fourth, but to that I say, ‘What else are you doing besides the fireworks?’ Instead of piling into a bar, why not see some great music and watch an awesome movie?”

The Lebowski Bowl-a-Rama starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 4, with performances from French Horn Rebellion and Savoir Adore. There will be a break for the Bangor fireworks display at 8:45 p.m., with Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine playing at 9:40 p.m. If the fireworks are cancelled because of rain, Richard Cheese will go on directly after French Horn Rebellion. The movie will start shortly after Richard Cheese. Adult beverages will be provided by Luna Bar and Grill and will feature Shipyard Brewing Company beers and Cold River Vodka in the white Russians. The bowling party on Sunday will feature costume contests and live DJs. For information, visit www.bangorabides.com.

Lebowski trivia

• A lot of The Dude’s clothes in the movie were Jeff Bridges’ own clothes.

• Steve Buscemi’s character Donny is told to “shut the bleep up,” because in the Coen brothers’ 1998 film “Fargo,” his character Carl would not shut up.

• The word “dude” is used 161 times in the movie, and The Dude utters the word “man” 147 times. The f-word, however, is used 292 times, making it one of the mainstream movies with the most usages of the swear — behind “Casino” and “Pulp Fiction,” and ahead of “The Departed.”

• The Dude drinks nine white Russians during the course of the movie.

• John Goodman has sold “peace of mind” three times while working with the Coens. In “Barton Fink,” he verbally tells John Turturro’s character, and as a bible salesman in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” he explains that he is really selling “peace of mind”. In “The Big Lebowski” we see “Peace of Mind” written on the Sobchak Security sign just before The Dude and Walter head to the money-drop.

• The Dude never bowls during the course of the movie.

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