I WAS THERE . . . The Lebowski Fest 2009 @ Terminal 5, 9/22 – 9/24/09

Photo credit:Gabi Porter

(in the voice of The Dude):

Like a beautiful rug that ties the room together, Lebowski Fest 2009 forged a bond between fans from all walks of life. I got a message on my machine telling me that they were showing the picture on the big screen at Terminal 5 so I got on the subway because those damn kids took my car for a joyride then soiled it before they left it who-knows-where. I hear they have some promising leads. Anyway, I got to Terminal 5 but they wouldn’t let me in. The tough guy at the door took one look at my poncho-slipper combination–a fine look if I may say so–and told me that I was out of my element. He even asked me to pay 25 bones or clams or whatever you call them. He couldn’t be serious! So I looked him in the eye and said, “I’m the Dude, man!” It seemed to work because we didn’t split anymore hairs on the issue. Then I walked into Terminal 5 and I realized that I was late because the place was darker than a steer’s tuchus on a moonless prairie night and I could barely see anything except for the picture on the screen and two giant bars glowing like amber oases. I got myself a beverage and took a seat in the second tier of the VIP floor. I’ll tell ya, Terminal 5 is huge, man! There’s no way I’d pay the rent on time for this place–it must be big enough for at least 1,000 rugs. I will say this though: the big screen was pretty righteous and it was a chill experience overall except when some folks would say all the lines before the picture could say ’em or laugh before anyone else. I guess that’s the way the whole darn human comedy keeps perpetuating itself.

I woke up in the middle of my living room and found a message on my machine about going bowling at some ten-pin joint. I called Walter to come along and he said he couldn’t come because he had to walk Cynthia’s rat-dog. I don’t know why he didn’t just bring that thing along like he did the last time. So I went by myself to place and I said, “Hey man, is this the ten-pin joint for the festival?” He looks at me and says, “‘Ten-pin joint’ is not the preferred nomenclature. Lucky Strike, please.” I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Okay, man, Lucky Strike.” I strolled in and was immediately confronted by, well, me.

Lucky Strike was lit all posh and swanky and there was a holy glow around my doppleganger. I wasn’t sure if this was real or if I was having the occasional acid flashback. I looked at him and he looked at me and he said, “I’m not Lebowski, man, I’m the Dude!” I squinted twice thinking that might clear the noggin but then I looked behind The Dude and I saw another Dude. Then I saw Maude, and then two more Maudes: one dressed as a saucy viking and the other wearing that dark green robe she wears when she’s not throwing paint around. Then I saw the Nihilist running towards me with those damn big scissors and I yelled, “I need my johnson, man!” Then a really nice woman looked at me and said, “Welcome to Lebowski Fest 2009! Would you like to bowl?” I told her I didn’t rent any shoes but the nice lady gave ’em to me anyway so I strapped up, grabbed a ball, and went golfing. Pretty sharp–the other folks at the festival. Some were dressed up as me, the Duderino, some as Maude, some as the Nihilists, I saw Walter walking around, and I even saw the marmot. Jerk.

I shimmied past while the marmot watched me with those beady little eyes and I sat myself next to some upstanding bowlers starting a new round. When I got up to bat, I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to mark the boards but the young man wearing Larry’s homework on his t-shirt told me everything at Lucky Strike is high-tech and automated. Larry’s Homework assured me that the balls were glowing because of the fancy black lighting system and not because of any funny stuff slipped into my Caucasian. Relieved, I tossed that globe down the lane and struck luck. I went drink for drink and strike for strike and I noticed the fellow wearing Jackie Treehorn’s notepad on his chest was getting a little y’know and he whispered, “If you throw the rest of this game I will compensate you to the tune of eighteen dollars.” I thought about what the money could do; how many more bits of rolling paper that could get me. But no, man! This isn’t ‘Nam! It’s bowling! There are rules! I ignored the candy-man, marched ahead, and threw whole turkeys down the gullet; taking out all ten hens so everyone at the festival could feast while We (yes, the Royal ‘We’) celebrated Lebowski Fest 2009. I dedicated my perfect game to Donny, in the alley in the sky, and I wept sweet tears because strong men also cry…Strong men also cry.

Nicole Velasco

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