The Dude abides in Salem

The dude sitting next to me gets it.

He has watched The Big Lebowski 15-20 times already (his estimation) and is talking along with the movie, shouting out at the right parts, anticipating our audience cues, loving every minute of the first-ever live, interactive Big Lebowski movie spectacle.

I’m the gutter ball.  Taking a cult classic and experiencing it interactively can be fun, but for me, it’s a little awkward, since I have only seen this movie in snippets while it was playing at parties about ten years ago.

I can’t say I didn’t get the memo. When we arrived at High Street Cinema, we were handed a bag, a ticket with a rug on the back (stolen in the movie), and a handful of goodies and props to use at strategic points of the film.

  • Mustaches – to wear during any Sam Elliott scene
  • Badges – to wear when a police officer is in the shot
  • Sunglasses – to wear whenever the Dude is wearing them
  • A Rug Ticket – to hold up during the rug theft scene.
  • Bowling score cards – to hide behind and peek over during the Over the Line scene
  • Pretzels – to eat during the bar scene (yum! not enough!)
  • Bell – to ring when Walter throws the ringers from the car
  • Beaver picture – to throw into the air when Maude talks about movies
  • Leaf – to flick and dance with during the performance art scene
  • Larry’s homework – to shake during the Larry’s Living Room scene
  • Candy – to eat whenever

In all, a brilliant and inspired adventure. But I am always just a little behind —  a leaf late, a bowling score card short.

This, I think, is the challenge of taking something that is already out there in the culture (rabid fanboy obsession with The Big Lebowski) and taking it to the next step (mashing it up a la Rocky Horror Picture Show). There will always be curious people like me who go to a movie to watch a movie. The real experience starts when you have retained the kind of muscle memory necessary to interact with the film.

Throughout the movie, Culture Shock Community Project, who put on the event, had a crew of live actors performing the movie in the aisles and below the screen. I invite Ryan Rogers to explain in the comments section here how it is possible to find someone in Salem who:

1). looks like the Dude
2). has the Dude’s entire wardrobe

Word on the street is that this is just the first showing — and the first adaptation of an interactive film — to be launched in Salem. Next on the docket? The Princess Bride, which I have seen 20+ times and which I am actually in wuv with.

Wuv, twue wuv, fowever and ever…

Gotta start drop-kicking those R.O.U.S’s.

14 Responses to “The Dude abides in Salem”

  1. clockworkscafe Says:

    I hesitate to give away the origins of our Dude…at least just yet. But I shall soon. 🙂 But here are some teasers. The costumes were all his, and he has won awards at the LA Lebowskifest. And he’s Salem’s own. Pretty epic right?

  2. Amy Durbin Says:

    “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.”
    Who doesn’t love The Princess Bride?! I would love to go to this! Will you let me know when it is?

  3. Gavin Says:

    Rodents of unusual size? I don’t think they exist…

  4. Duncan Says:

    Given the incredible ambition of the project (let’s create a cult phenomenon like ‘Rocky Horror’), this was an amazing effort. All the stagers were at least good, and I generally found the stage interactions of Dude and Walter to be be more compelling to watch than the screen versions! Favorite stage element: the bar/prop table/sam elliott statue. And yes, this Dude at times definitively outshined Jeff Bridges.

    Re: “I hesitate to give away the origins of our Dude…at least just yet.” Um, why? Secrecy is exclusion.

  5. Emily Grosvenor Says:

    I can’t believe how much work it would take to pull something like this off! I was having a hard time figuring out where the actor was separated from the Dude. Bridges might have gotten out-duded…

    Personally, I liked how the atmosphere changed when Jesus entered the picture…

  6. David P Craig Says:

    Emily,
    I was curious about the event, but having enjoyed Culture Shocks engagement with Rocky Horror I knew I could not abide my own lameness in Lebowski dudeness. I am however an expert on rodents of unusual size and can’t wait for the next show.

    • Emily Grosvenor Says:

      I clearly have not attained my own pinstripes on this one either… I think it’s great they started with TBL but imagine that they’ll have another hit with you, me, and the 12-year-old girls, David, when they stage TPB. I might even join the stage. Last night, all I could think was: No, not me! Don’t pick me! AGHHH! Don’t even look over here!

  7. Max Marbles Says:

    Can not believe I missed this, someone please plug me in! Dude, like man, really!

  8. Emily Grosvenor Says:

    I believe there will be another showing — would send Culture Shock Community Project an email to get on their list. cultureshockproject@gmail.com

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