Lebowskifest brings Dudes to Philly

A festival for its time and place 

Lebowskifest Philadelphia
Lebowskifest came to the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia Friday, June 3

By SHAUN SMITH

Blogger in Chief

PHILADELPHIA – They were there to fix the cable. Fans of the Big Lebowski packed into the Theater of Living Arts for Lebowskifest Friday, June 3.

For nearly 10 years, co-founders Scott Shuffitt and Will Russell have been traveling the country with Lebowskifest celebrating the 1998 Cohen Brothers film and “what have you.”

Lebowskifest co-founders Scott Shuffitt and Will Russell welcome the crowd at the Theater of Living Arts.

The two-day festival included a bowling party and costume contest Saturday at North Bowl.

The TLA was nearly at its capacity with a Maude Lebowski serving up the house special: a Caucasian (otherwise referred to as White Russian) which is the preferred beverage of choice Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski.

“Achievers” the moniker that lovers of the film wear proudly, were mingling in the bar and theater for nearly an hour before the show began.

“The bums will always lose” an other quotes from the movie on bumper stickers were given out at the Geekadelphia sponsored event bringing the City of Brotherly Love spirit to a level that was very “dude.”

After a warm welcoming from Shuffitt and Russell, Philadelphia based chip music creator Chipocrite received a standing ovation when he began playing the film’s opening credit music “The Man in Me” by Bob Dylan.

Using a Game Boy, Paul Weinstein creates original tunes and plays renditions of classic songs that make the geek in everyone adore the 8-bit sounds of their videogame past.

Chipocrite (Paul Weinstein of Philadelphia) performs Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me" during Lebowskifest Friday, June 3 at the Theater of Living Arts.

As I was enjoying my finely crafted beverage and watching the 8-bit visuals that played on the movie screen behind Weinstein pounding away at a Game Boy that matched his crimson shirt; I wished I could have seen the people walking past the venue on South Street when they heard 1,000 people singing “Looking Out My Backdoor” with an 8-bit score.

With popcorn and Caucasians in hand, Achievers tore through the movie shouting out dialogue and tapping their friends to remind them their favorite part was coming up.

At nearly midnight as the counter clicked down its final minutes, the crowd erupted in applause when Jeff Bridges delivers that infamous line: “The Dude abides.”

Photos and Videos by Shaun Smith

Paul Weinstein performs as Chipocrite for Lebowskifest Friday, June 3 at the Theater of Living Arts Chipocrite performs at the Theater of Living Arts for Lebowskifest Friday, June 3 in Philadelphia.