When Lennie Ambrose, the marketing and events director for Saint Arnold Brewing Company, met Jason McElweenie years ago at an Art Car Parade, Ambrose says McElweenie was clear: He wanted to do a Lebowski Bash in Houston.
And Ambrose was happy to find a fellow Achiever. In fact, not only is Ambrose a fan of the 1998 cult classic, The Big Lebowski, he’s also a Dudeist priest.
What’s Dudeism? And what does it have to do with Jeff Bridges’ iconic, bathrobe-clad character, The Dude? Well, the uninitiated can find the answers at Saint Arnold and the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art’s Houston Lebowski Bash. Ambrose and McElweenie will co-host the evening’s festivities, which will celebrate both the 10th anniversary of Houston’s first Lebowski Bash in ‘08 and the 20th anniversary of the film, which has only increased in popularity since it opened flat at the box office.
“I think it resonates with people still because, first of all, it’s just a really funny, well done, great Coen Brothers movie, but also the whole attitude of the Dude and the whole perspective on life speaks to people too,” explains Ambrose. “It’s one of those that after the movie came out, it wasn’t a huge hit immediately, but it just grew and grew into a cult classic, which so many of those do over the years, and it’s [because of] the message of the movie.”
Though the film’s message has lingered, the film itself is pretty hard to describe, with Ambrose only saying, “Bowling. Amputated toe. And two people named Lebowski.” But don’t worry, Ambrose is confident you’ll understand – if you’re patient.
“Before the movie even starts, there will be a costume contest and there will be plenty of people walking around in costumes that you won’t understand, you won’t know,” says Ambrose. “There will be people speaking in a Dude language that you may not get right at the beginning either, but you’ll get it once you finally see the movie.”
In addition to the costume contest, there will be an all-are-welcome (from novice to expert) trivia contest; a DJ set from Vinyl Ranch; and plenty of the Dude’s drink of choice – the “White Russian,” or “Caucasian” if you prefer, a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and half and half. Saint Arnold will also be debuting the new Orange Show Blonde Ale, which Ambrose notes will be a good alternative for anyone wanting the full Lebowski experience without an upset stomach.
“I would suggest having one, maybe at the most two Caucasians to start and then switch to beer or, as the Dude might say, ‘oat sodas,’” says Ambrose. “It [will] probably be a better experience for you and for everybody [else] if you didn’t drink dairy for five hours.”
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And then, the main attraction: a screening of The Big Lebowski for which Ambrose strongly urges everyone to bring their own chair. You’ll want to be sitting when your mind is blown.
“I think if you have never seen it, don’t know anything about it, and you’re going to go to the event, just be prepared to have your eyes opened,” says Ambrose.
Prior Lebowski Bashes have sold out, so Ambrose has one more tip for anyone considering spending their evening with the Achievers in Smither Park: “It’s very Dude to wait until the last minute to buy the tickets, but don’t be the Dude in this case and get them as soon as possible.”
The Houston Lebowski Bash is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 3 at Smither Park, 2441 Munger. For more information, visit saintarnold.com/lebowski-bash. $10 to $15.