July 28th, 2009 5:33 pm | by Jenny Booth Music | Posted In: Columns, Live Cuts

Live Review: Lebowski Fest, Wednesday, July 22 @ Aladdin Theater

bowling pin guyThe lengths people will go for a moment of shared bonding.

Wednesday night, and a trip down to the Aladdin found us in distinctly ‘unique' company: beards a plenty, oversize leisure wear, and the occasional spangled Viking—that's right, Lebowski fest just rolled in to town.

Having never had reason to go near a ‘fanfest' before, we wondered just how popular it could be to spend more than twice a cinema ticket on seeing an old film. Again. But that's where the pre-show entertainment comes in!

For the gentlemen, Itty Bitty Bang Bang, resplendent in bowling pin head dress, swinging gold tassels, sequined underwear and, er, not much else. Bouncing and teasing, she fittingly recreated a dream sequence from the movie and went down a storm. No surprise there.

Now for the ladies, an equivalent sensory feast parades the stage in the form of (drumroll) Har Mar Superstar. Attempting to justify his inclusion in the tour, he first appears silhouetted against a white screen in homage to an obscure interpretative dance scene in the movie. Emerging adorned with remarkably scant faux vines, entwined around an oh-so-figure-hugging one-piece, it was indeed a sight to behold. Having already promised "a fun filled super energetic love-fest" (see the Top 5 way HMS can sex you), he gyrated and paraded like Rod Stewart—had he been rotund, balding, and hanging around in Ancient Greece.

har marhar mar

Finding the foliage stifling by the time he pressed Play on the first backing track, Har Mar got down to skimpy black undies. And yet, crucially, it's the backing tape that caused the most problems—without any band, dancers, or sound technician, Superstar looks and sounds much more like a karaoke session you've always been at pains to avoid.

His 'universally loved' blend of pop heavy R&B (think '90s boy band without the parental guidance limitations), may summon the implausible adoration of Drew Barrymore and Karen O, but the Lebowskites looked dumfounded. Any invitations to "sing it with me" fell flatter than that pee-stained carpet.

Nonetheless he drew a crowd—five sycophantic female admirers bravely danced and whooped within touching distance of their man. Har Mar did his best to stir up some feeling, wandering through the crowd, even putting some clothes back on, but the stony indifference he was met with was skin-crawling. It was during the fifth ode to his immense sexual prowess that I realized where I've seen it all before. Youtube "Flight of the Conchords Sugalumps" and you get all the sleazy funk with the added bonus of knowing the pun is intended.

We discovered in the longed-for beer/white-Russian break that attendees don't just enjoy The Big Lebowski, they live it. Having already held his own fan parties and quote-athons, our new friend Terry is more than qualified to speak for the Dude, who "wouldn't have known what to make of that guy [Har Mar], I mean the Dude didn't even like the Eagles! That didn't fit in with the show at all".

dude redux

What was right up this crowd's (bowling) alley was an actual video message from hero of heroes, Jeff Bridges, holla to high heaven. Amping up a frisson of tangible excitement, everyone is rallied and ready to begin reciting their way through the entire movie. And it's actually kinda nice. The film, while worthy of its cult classic status, doesn't seem the likeliest candidate to sustain perennial viewings, but at least the people are united. And off the streets.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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