Lebowski Festival Thrills Fans as Jeff Bridges Takes the Stage, Screen

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 05:25 PM

By Angela Deines

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Actor Jeff Bridges didn’t disappoint fans at the Lebowski festival in Los Angeles on Friday, an annual celebration of the 1998 cult classic, “The Big Lebowski.”

Bridges and his band performed at the Wiltern Theater in front of a capacity crowd.

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"It's the people here that are so awesome," Steve Lewis, who said he’s been to 11 Lebowski Fests since they began in 2002 and has seen the Joel and Ethan Coen film more than 100 times, told The Associated Press. "It's a community."

Matt Goforth, a bartender working the event in costume, said he'd been looking forward to the shift for six months.

"First of all, I knew it was going to be a good crowd. Second of all, it's a fantastic movie. Thirdly, Jeff Bridges' band is amazing," Goforth told the AP. "It's fun. I've had my picture taken maybe 35 times. It's just a great atmosphere."

The Wiltern Theater in midtown Los Angeles was reportedly decorated with inflatable bowling pins and the drink menu featured white Russians, a nod to Bridges’ character’s favorite cocktail.

Bridges and his band performed a 30-minute set that included songs from "Crazy Heart," the 2009 film for which he won the best actor Oscar. Kyle Gass, the other half of Jack Black's band Tenacious D, opened the evening by singing tunes from "The Big Lebowski."

Of course fans at Friday’s Lebowski festival all watched the movie, shouting out some lines and applauding for others, the AP said.

Mike Sullivan, who said he’s been to the festival four times and has memorized the movie, said he has an idea as to why “The Big Lebowski” has a cult-like following.

"What you got here," he told the AP, "is a bunch of pot-smoking hippies having a good time."

According to YouTube video posted on the Lebowski Fest’s Twitter account, Friday’s crowd gave a standing ovation when the character, Brandt, Jeff Lebowski’s butler, played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, appeared onscreen during the showing of the film.

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