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The Mix Tape series presents: The Big Lebowski

Rockin’ and Bowlin’ like “The Dude,” all night long

Published: Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 09:01

The Mixed Tape Film Series kicked off its much-anticipated second season with The Big Lebowski: Rock n’ Bowl Wednesday night at the downtown Carolina Theatre and Triad Brunswick Lanes on Wendover Avenue.

The inaugural 2008 film series from WUAG’s “Movie Show Guys,” Joe Scott and Mike Compton, began with two sold-out 35mm screening of the Coen Brothers classic, The Big Lebowski. For 2009, Scott and Compton amped-up the viewing from a mere screening to a two-part festival experience, complete with costumes, White-Russians, and unlimited bowling.

A Big Lebowski festival may sound like a crazy idea for thos unfamiliar with the films devoted fan base. But since 2002, annual festivals have become a world-wide cult sensation. According to LebowskiFest.com, it’s, “a celebration of all things related to‚Ķthe Big Lebowski.” Fans “come from far and wide to drink White-Russians, throw some rocks and party with an array of Dudes, Walters and Maudes (not to mention a nihilist or two).” The weekend festivals occur in major cities running from “La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and Pismo.”

Greensboro “Achievers”, the preferred nomenclature for Big Lebowski fans, gathered at Greensboro’s Carolina Theatre. Bowling shirts and baggy shorts speckled the crowd of fans, nihilists, “Dudes,” and Jesus.

On screen, the robe-clad Dude purchasing milk with a 69-cent check looked quite picturesque framed by golden sculptures that line the Carolina’s proscenium. The 80-year old theatre’s lavish décor suited the heavy cursing of the movie, and the classiness of the venue extended out into the crowd, including the ‘nihilist’ kid carrying a pool float, an empty fifth of Jack Daniels, and dressed in little more than cut-off jeans.

The turnout was nearly three times larger than the average Carolina Theatre crowd, which left the snack stand inundated with droves of thirsty ,robe-wearing patrons. Following the film, fans clustered under the bright marquee to trade quotes, quips, and plans to get to the bowling alley. At the Brunswick lanes, the crowd slipped into Velcro rental shoes, thrust a ball or two in the air and took out a few pins.

As if vodka drinks and cheap pitchers weren’t enough, admission included unlimited bowling and shoe rental. When the lanes began to fill Scott and Compton stayed on their toes, finding small groups and filling empty lanes to ensure everyone got their chance to “throw a few rocks.” The lanes were packed with bowlers of all shapes and sizes. Mixed Tape t-shirts and popped collars bowled side-by-side in pursuit of annihilating those ten little pins. Bowling brings out the best expressions of victory, especially after a few drinks when Creedence flowed out the speakers in between the constant clank of pins crashing into the waxed wooden floor. As with any WUAG event, music was an integral part of the experience. Instead of the usual ‘Top 40’ playlist, DJs sent soulful tunes over the speakers while bowlers scribbled into their scorecards. “I get a strike every time I hear Wilson Pickett,” exclaimed UNCG senior, Micah Barron. Indeed, the soul of James Brown, Al Green, and Bob Dylan provided a solid soundtrack..

Dude, we abide. The Mixed Tape Film Series got off to a great start, and there’s many more opportunities to see some great movies on the silver screen. Midnight Madness will crank up its Fall 2009 season with Ninja Fest, and will run every Friday night in September.

As for the Mixed Tape Series, it’s time for TURTLE POWER! The heroes in a half shell will make their way to Gate City. “Filmed in NC and loved by the world,” the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will appear on the big screen September 3 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Kowabunga!

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