The Real Lebowski

You have no idea how proud I am that the man who was the basis for one of the best movie characters of all time, has lived in Seattle. “But yeah, well, you know...that's just my opinion, man” 
 
If you somehow haven't seen The Big Lebowski, do yourself a favor. John Goodman should have won an Oscar. Jeff “The Dude” Dowd (A nickname given to him as a child) was a student at The U from 1968 to 1970. He transferred from Cornell where his dad was an economics professor and anti-Vietnam fundamentalist. He quickly joined The Seattle Liberation Front. (SLF) It was a collection of radicals organized in January of 1970 by U Dub philosophy professor, Michael Lerner. It was formed following the collapse of the Student's for a Democratic Society the previous summer.
Former Century Tavern
Their unofficial clubhouse was the Century Tavern at 5260 University Way NE (Now The Rat and Raven) where I’m going to assume The Dude drank a few Caucasian's. Their first assembly was held in the auditorium of the Husky Union Building at 4001 Stevens Way. (Coincidentally, there is a bowling alley in the basement) One of the SLF's first organized actions was to hold a demonstration in support of the Chicago Seven, who were charged with inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The HUB
The demonstration was held on February 17, 1970, the day after the Chicago Seven trial ended. (They were found not guilty of conspiracy but were convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to  incite a riot) The demonstration is referred to as “The Day After.” The SLF issued a call to shut down the Federal Courthouse.
HUB Bowling Alley
Over 2,000 demonstrators attacked the courthouse and the Federal Building with rocks, bottles, and paint bombs. After someone sprayed tear gas into the courthouse lobby, the newspapers reported that a demonstrator threw a grenade at the building. There were 76 arrests and 20 injuries.
Demonstrators clashing with cops
On April 16, 1970, a federal grand jury issued conspiracy indictments against eight of the demonstrators; Professor Lerner, Susan Stern, Chip Marshall, Mike Abeles, Joe Kelly, Roger Lippman, Michael Justesen, and The Dude. Justesen went underground and the remaining defendants became known as, The Seattle Seven. 
4 of the 7. The Dude is on the far left.
"Ever heard of the Seattle Seven? That was me. Well, me and 6 other guys." The trial was moved to Tacoma and began in December, 1970. On the 10th, Judge George Boldt (Whom we later learned had Alzheimers during the trial) declared a mistrial due to the defendants' “unruly behavior.” All seven were cited with contempt of court but the conspiracy charges were eventually dropped. The Dude and the others did six months in jail for the contempt. (He roomed with Seattle’s biggest heroin dealer and the leader of The Hell’s Angels) The SLF dissolved in 1971 due to internal strife. In 1976, SLF member Susan Stern died at age 33 of a drug overdose. After his release from jail, The Dude spent some time in South America before moving to Los Angeles to become an independent movie producer and promoter. In 1983, divine intervention led him to meet Joel and Ethan Coen while they were promoting their debut film, Blood Simple.
The Coen's on set. The iron lung scene
(It’s just as good as Fargo and also stars Frances McDormand) The Dude received a phone call later that year that the Coen’s were developing a character based loosely on him. If I were them, I would definitely consider The Big Lebowski my finest work. Jeff Bridges might have exaggerated the laziness of The Dude, but not his love of Creedence or bowling. Or that rug. In July of 2002, at a tattoo expo in Louisville, two guys named Scott and Will (aka The Founding Dudes) were trying to sell t-shirts for Scott’s shop. After baking in the sun all day, the delirium drove them to start trading lines from the movie. The other vendors around them began to join in, creating a sense of brotherhood between complete strangers. Then came a revelation: If they can have conventions for tattoos, then why not a convention for people who love The Big Lebowski?
Seattle's Lebowski Fest at Acme Bowl
A date was set, a bowling alley was rented and Lebowski Fest was born. People flocked from all over the country. The first fest went so well that Scott and Will decided to keep hosting them. Seattle’s Lebowski Fest is a two-day event held in the Fremont neighborhood. The movie is shown on an outdoor screen and different bowling alleys in the area have hosted the second day festivities.
The Dude gets his key
In July of 2009, Fremont presented The Dude with a giant key to "The Center of The Universe" (The neighborhood slogan) I could go on forever about how much I love the movie but "Fuck it, I'm outta here man."