Hanging with The Big Lebowski

Looking behind me the crown surges, like multitudes of foam on the edge of a wave.  The last time I was here there weren’t nearly as many people but due to the rather cult following of The Big Lebowski, I can understand why the outdoor theater is so packed you can feel each other’s body heat.  I first saw The Big Lebowski when I was 13.  I remember I was at a friend’s house and I didn’t understand it at the time.  I thought it was, I apologize in advance for the preemptive gasp, stupid.  I kept this idea with me, clutching it like a teenage girl’s diary to my chest, until my mid-20’s when I finally saw it again in all it’s brilliant ingenuity.  In my humble opinion, The Big Lebowski is one of the funniest and greatest movies ever made.

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Despite my previous post about how I’m not a city girl, there are some things about Barcelona that I do love such as the open air cinema on the top of a huge hill next to a castle with impressive views of la cuidad. For 6 euros you can set up shop picnic style on the grounds and you get an hour of live music, a movie short and then the featured film in it’s original language with Spanish subtitles.  The ever enthusiastic Spanish learner inside me spent more time concentrating on the Spanish subtitles than actually watching the film. I learned some useful and very specific phrases as well as some swear words in the process.  My friend, Marta, and I rented chairs for 3 euros each which is the secret luxury of outdoor movie viewing. The first time I came to see a movie here I just brought a blanket and my butt cheeks were screaming at me for having to carry the weight of my upper torso and head for 4 hours.

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There are free shuttle buses that take you from the bottom of the hill in Plaza España to the top of the hill at Castillo de Montjuic.  It takes what feels like eternity because of this: the bus has little to no ventilation and the sheer volume of people crammed inside make for an uncomfortable sauna effect causing immediate and unwelcome sweat drippage.  I am a profuse sweater, to the point where it’s embarrassing.  And I’ll put my vanity aside to tell you this anecdote.  Recently I was giving a conversation class to a student outside on a bench for an hour in 95 degree heat and in dappled shade.  Much to my dismay, sweat was sliding down my face and body like little mini skiers riding down a flesh colored mountain.  As I was getting onto the metro after the class a random woman came up to me concerned and told me I had a stain on the back of my skirt.  I thanked her and told her I must have sat in something.  Far be it for me to admit to a complete stranger that it was actually undesirable accumulated sweat transferred from my ass to the back of my skirt.

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Emerging from the bus is akin to leaving the all-encompassing heat of the womb and being born into a world with fresh cool air.  After our bodies returned to a healthy and normal temperature, we rented our chairs and found a place on the lawn, which I wondered may have been the moat to the castle in the days of yore.  I had brought a bottle of chilled rose that only provided one glass of actual chilled wine as it sweated it’s way through the night, condensation dribbling down the bottle. I’d heard that the food you can buy here is good but I had made homemade hummus for the first time ever earlier in the day and had been eager to eat an entire tupperware of it as my dinner, flatulence notwithstanding.

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Some people really revere movies, I briefly dated a guy who did, movies were his life. I’m not one of those people. I definitely appreciate a good flick and I had been excited about seeing The Big Lebowski outside on the big screen for several weeks prior.  My real love of acting, however, is doted on theater performances, live stuff, not film. I can say though that having spent around 10 years thinking The Big Lebowski was a lousy movie, I was grateful for the master minds behind choosing the movie line-up for the summer season. As I stand amongst the throngs of people queuing to leave the castle grounds I feel like we are all one giant school of fish moving in slow motion and with not even enough water to pass between us.  I dread the stifling shuttle bus back down to Plaza España but at least for one night I made city living well worth the while.

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This is when I was Jesus for Halloween many years ago, one of the characters from the Big Lebowski. Pardon the photo quality, this is from a cell phone.