Does the female form make you uncomfortable? If so, you'll probably want to stay far away from the Gorilla Tango Theatre on Saturdays in September, when local burlesque troupe Vaudezilla Productions debuts "Rollin' Outta Here Naked: A Big Lebowski Burlesque." That's right, dude, it's a striptease show inspired by the Coen brothers' 1998 cult film starring Jeff Bridges as a bathrobe-wearing, White Russian-swilling hippie who gets tied up in a complicated plot involving a soiled rug, a known pornographer and lots of bowling. We caught up with show creator Ann Marie Weinert (aka "Red Hot Annie") to find out how this here story's about to unfold.
What about "The Big Lebowski" made you think it would make a good burlesque show, and how long has this been in the works?
Part of what makes "The Big Lebowski" such a great basis for a burlesque show is the variety of situations The Dude finds himself in. He meets strange people, he does strange things, and these experiences are great inspiration for burlesque routines!
Using "The Big Lebowski" as a concept for a Vaudezilla burlesque show was something that came up while my partner, Dick Dijon, and I were watching the movie earlier this year. In fact, Dick Dijon came up with it as sort of a throwaway idea. But we both really dug the idea right away. At the time, we weren't looking to put on another big production, but we knew we wanted to do something later in the year. We kept coming back to it every now and then, but once we learned that Lebowski Fest was coming to Chicago in September, then that just clinched it for us. "Rollin' Outta Here Naked" was born, and we've been working on it since June.
How big of a Lebowski fan are you? How many times have you seen the movie and what's your favorite part/character?
Both Dick Dijon and myself have seen the movie 10-20 times, and I can quote more parts of it than most men. I know nuances and obscure references. So I'd say I'm a pretty big fan. My favorite character is definitely Walter. The character Walter forever changed my opinion of John Goodman. I think he should have won an Oscar for it, and I'm being totally serious. Depending on the day you ask Dick, he'd say Walter, Brandt, or Jesus.
You've recently signed on to perform at Lebowski Fest. How did that happen?
The guys at Lebowski Fest reached out to us – asked us to bring a 15-minute preview to the movie viewing on September 13 at Portage Theater. Naturally, we couldn’t resist! We’re also hanging out at Diversey Rock 'n' Bowl on Monday, September 14 and Tuesday, September 15, and bowling with the fans! Bonus – Diversey Rock 'n' Bowl is sponsoring our show, too. We have $100 gift certificates to give out each night of the run!
Can you give us some hints as to specific songs/scenes to expect during the show?
"Eight year olds, Dude."
(See more photos from the show here.)
Photo: Joe Marinaro, oomphotography.com
You can certainly expect some hot and fun stripteases. One of the requirements for the stripteases was that they had to be to songs from the movie, so you'll hear a lot of the classics: "Run Through the Jungle," "Hotel California," and "Technopop," among many, many others. As far as the scenes, we've actually written original scenes that we feel would have taken place before or after something you see in the movie. So, for example, we have a scene where The Dude is on the phone with Brandt setting up the first meeting between The Dude and Jeffrey Lebowski after The Dude's rug gets peed on.
We don't want to give away too much, because half the fun of the show is discovering exactly what the Vaudezilla brain trust has come up with!
What do you think The Dude would say about your show?
I think he'd say: "Far out!"
"Rollin' Outta Here Naked" runs at 10 p.m. September 5, 12, 19 and 26 at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling (773) 598-4549, or visiting www.gorillatango.com.