Milwaukee Abides at Lebowski Fest

Cathedral Square Park in Milwaukee was home to white Russians, Creedence tunes, Walters, Maudes and Dudes last Friday night. Video by Garrett Katerzynske.

By - Jun 28th, 2012 11:00 am

Words by Christina Wright. Video by Garrett Katerzynske.

White Russians. Bathrobe clad guys with scraggly beards. Numerous bowling themed costumes. At Cathedral Square Park on Friday, June 23, Lebowski Fest descended on Milwaukee for the first time.

(Photo: Angela Morgan)

Lebowski Fest originated in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002 as a celebration of all things relating to the Coen Brothers’ cult film The Big Lebowski. Friday’s event, presented by the East Town Association and the Pabst Theater,  was an outdoor viewing of the film on the big screen where dressing as one’s favorite character was strongly encouraged. A variety of dudes spent the day abiding by the chilled out lifestyle of “The Dude” himself. A parked Gran Torino operated as a meeting room for two such gentlemen, one who nursed a white Russian and another who sipped on a Sprecher sarsaparilla. Red haired Maudes posed for photo ops and cantankerous Walters trudged around in military boots. One of the Walters even carried a coffee can under his arm, the temporary urn for late bowling partner Donny.


Winners of the Lebowski Fest costume contest.

Blue Moon Swamp, a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band, played classic tunes like “Bad Moon Rising” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain” as the crowd danced and sang along. After a brief set by Blue Moon Swamp, Mayor Barrett and the bowling-pin-costume clad founders of Lebowski Fest took to the microphone. Mayor Barrett, wearing a bowling shirt himself, officially decreed that June 22 and 23 would be Lebowski Weekend.

After sunset the film was projected onto a large screen near the Jazz in the Park bandstand. Applause and cheers erupted from movie watchers seated throughout the park as the film’s title song, Bob Dylan’s “The Man in Me,” played and then all was quiet as we turned our attention to the Jeff Lebowski’s antics on the big screen.

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