By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — It’ll be White Russians all around Saturday, as North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre marks its fifth-annual tribute to the cult film “The Big Lebowski.”
Frank Cannata, executive director of the theater, said this year’s event doesn’t mess with past years’ formula for success, paying homage to the 1998 movie starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Julianne Moore in the tale of Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski.
“We’re planning on having even more people,” Cannata said. “It continues to grow yearly. It’s become a regional event. We are finding from up to an hour away just to come to this event.”
The evening will start at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails — of course including Lebowski’s signature drink, the White Russian — followed by live comedy from 7 to 8 p.m. and an airing of the movie.
Following the film, the party will move to Classic Lanes on Military Road in Kenmore for two hours of bowling ... of course, The Dude’s favorite sport.
Classic Lanes owner Brian Borowski said last year’s bowling event sold out. Tickets that include the after-event are capped at 216 people, so he recommended that those interested purchase them as soon as possible.
“It’s a very busy event,” he said. “It’s a great time going to the movie and then going bowling, and everyone’s all excited after watching the movie. It’s awesome.”
While the Riviera portion of the evening continues to be popular, Cannata recommended Lebowski aficionados go for the full experience.
“I can’t tell you how much energy ... there’s a lot of energy anyway when you have 700 people watching the same film,” he said. “But to walk into a bowling alley with hundreds of people who’ve just been watching the same movie, dressed in their bathrobes and Viking horns ... the energy level is off the charts.”
The formula has been basically the same since 2009, Cannata said — and the crowds have consistently grown.
“We feel like we’ve made a recipe for success,” he said. “Why mess with it?”
Tickets to “The Big Lebowski” event are $13 for the comedy and movie only and $20 for the movie and bowling. Call the Riviera box office at 692-2413 or visit www.rivieratheatre.org to purchase.