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Abiding, Part IV

On Bars & Bowling



When last we left Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, the eponymous inspiration for Bridges character in "The Big Lebowski," we were discussing the advantages of being The Dude. We'd covered free White Russians and not having to bring your own weed.

JD: Yeah, I like to - the other thing about The Dude, in the movie, besides that he's the holy fool full of heart is that, The Dude does like to hang. And yes, we always hung, together, we were big-time hangers. And interestingly enough about the bowling thing, you know The Dude never bowls in "The Big Lebowski." 

 

LC: Huh, I never thought of that.

 

JD: There's a scene where you see me bowling in the background, when they're doing the scene with Mark and The Dude and all that with Smokey, uh Jimmie Dale Gilmore, but I'm in the background in kind of a cool shirt, actually… But he doesn't bowl because what the bowling is about is it's a great location to have people hang. So you put swingers in a bar, or you could put people on a football field or a basketball court, in a bedroom or whatever, or riding horses, but the bowling alley has the illusion of action all the time but people are really just sitting, everyone else is sitting but the guy who's bowling… So, it's a great setting, particularly for guys like Joel and Ethan who have characters who can always have great dialogue, which is one of the reasons every great actor likes Joel and Ethan. 

 

By the way, there's all this stuff about a tournament and all that stuff. There's no tournament. You know, they never pay that off. So it's more of an existential thing. But it's not that I, I mean we bowled a little and everything when we were hanging but (???) kept getting' us into the racetrack so we were hanging more into the racetrack, at the garden section… But the bowling thing, you know we were doing "Blood Simple" and I decided we were going to have this big party for the West Coast premiere, so I live in Santa Monica and there was this bowling alley on Pico Blvd, not the bowling alley on the movie. The bowling alley in the movie was in Hollywood and it got torn down… (this was news to me and I was bummed to hear it - memories…) So, I thought, "Well, this would be a good place for a party, and so I called the place and this manager guy, Steve, answered the phone. Steve says, well like come one down like 2:30, 3 o'clock. And so I go down there like 2:30, 3 o'clock and there's a bar there, too. And it's a small little bar and it's got like eight or ten seats, four tables and a stage that you could maybe put a trio on or a quartet, you know? And I walk in the bar, it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon, it's like two old, 70 year old drunks at the bar. That's all. And there's Steve onstage, white shirt, you know, open, hairy chest, gold chain, the whole nine yards, you know, singing, "The Impossible Dream." Like it's The Sands in Vegas plain' to a full house on a biiiiiig, you know. 

 

LC: Holy cow.

 

JD: So then I sit there and wait forty minutes for him to finish the set, you know, with the two drunks, and I go, "Hey, you know, I got this party."(??? mumble mumble…space ??? restaurant area ???) But it's a two story place so I say, "Hey, maybe we could, uh, what do ya got upstairs? Maybe I want the space upstairs, too. We got a lot of people." And he's like (impersonating a voice) well, no one goes up there. It's a funky old bar. It's all funky and dirty. I go, "Well, 'Blood Simple's pretty funky and dirty, too. He goes, "Nah, it's pretty bad (??? mumble..funky, dirty ???) And he takes me up there to this big, huge room and there's this great old bar. You know, like a classic bar. 

 

LC: Yeah?

 

JD: And what the place was, and this is at Pico and Main Street, two blocks from the beach, I mean four blocks from the Santa monica pier, okay? And what the bar was was a bar that the Rat Pack would go be themselves. It was a secret hideaway bar that they could go to late at night before they went like down to Peter Lawford's place, which was like, a mile away on the beach, shit like that. It was the secret Rat Pack bar. So, we got it, we cleaned it up and the "Blood Simple" party was both upstairs and downstairs that night and we had bands there and we rocked that place till we rocked the roof off. And that's when Joel and Ethan, you know, got the idea of like the bowling alley.

 

LC: Have you ever been to Mid-City Rock 'N' Bowl here?

 

JD: No.

 

LC: Aw, it's this great place. It's got a stage and a dance floor with a disco ball and all that kinda stuff.

 

JD: You gotta be really there to, you know, when you blow into New Orleans for four days a week, you probably don't go bowling, you know?

 

LC: Well, no, you go at Mid-City Rock 'N' Bowl. I mean, Kermit Ruffins plays there for fuck's sake, you know?

 

JD: Yeah. No, that would be great. That'd be great.

 

Next week, The Dude compares the music and food of New Orleans with his once home, Seattle.

 

www.lauracayouette.com

www.latonola.com

 

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