“I’m Ron Fucking Kuby”

December 16, 2008

THE ride to Louisville began at 1:15 PM. We were supposed to leave as soon as I arrived but for once, I wasn’t the person holding things up. We were still waiting on a few to get in place for pick-up. Sean, the pilot, navigated the bus to the first person and finally reaching the last site of the last two – 1313 Mockingbird Lane, and I say that with the utmost sincerity.

The place is best described by the scene outside. A Jolly Roger cut from painted plywood is perched on the roof, this the first thing you see from the street. Making your way up the wide, old school professional concrete steps that could be a scene for craps and 40’s, you notice the weightlifting bench straight out of a Milvale basement filled with ‘One For The Thumb’ memorabilia and Franco’s Italian Army posters – it is red and rusty and there are no locks on the barbells – with this crew, the potential is there for them to land on someone’s foot or hand. On the right side of the porch is the Tony Little Gazelle in drab tan and faded blue that once popped against the also faded background. Making your way up the last flight you can now see the accompanying Ab Master and a collection of six rusty electric hair clippers perfectly soldiered on three unbroken paper towels.

This ‘collection’ is no surprise given the owners insane assembliges of various items. This is one of the things that I really appreciate about Sean – he gets it that everything really does count in large amounts. I think he is of the exact same mindset because I also have inane collections of items, like knives and pens; watches and rolls of multi-colored reflective tape. Or the collection of about 75 dead pc mice that were just dumped into my trunk because they couldn’t fit in the box.

Tex Hauser is with him Sean.

While waiting inside I imbibe on four pieces of ‘corn cake’ – spiked with the Mary Jane.

THE van is put into drive and I check the time, it is now almost 3pm – Louisville is at least six hours away once we manage to crawl through the I-79 south construction zone. The highway finally opened up just before the Bridgeville exit and as I check the time, I note that we lost thirty-five more minutes. We travel for a time and I am starting to feel a bit queasy – I’m actually tripping the fuck out. Luckily all of my physcadelic training throughout the Port Authority Transit strike of 92 prepared me to ride the lightening. I sat with my head between my knees for about forty miles. Bob was sitting next to me in the same pose. The brilliance of the late day autumn sun gleaming off the pavement was blinding me. This is what was getting me crazy; coupled with the realization that we would be in the van for at least another six hours.

SPORADIC ball busting and stories of past and present glories were passed. We had been in the car for about three-and-a-half hours as we rolled on Cincinnati. I had some trouble there once and have vowed to never again visit the place, as I start to write this impression I have to breakaway and update the Wikipedia article on Cincinnati.* Look under the ‘Law enforcement and crime’ section; the very last paragraph for the story.

MY only real experience was Corryville and four blocks of Central Parkway. Driving through I can see why this place is referred to as a sister city of Pittsburgh – it has an okay skyline, not as big as Pittsburgh but no Wheeling either. It had a presence. And they have tunnels that you have to drive through, but like the Wheeling tunnel, in both inconvenient distractions from view and short length, they don’t add anything. Say what you want about Pittsburgh, and God knows I chose suburbs over cities, Pittsburgh is unveiled by its tunnels not hidden by a third one.

I wasn’t expecting much but this is the south so I know it is going to be different. The huge billboard inscribed “HELL IS REAL!” in ten foot letters just before Paducah made that point extremely clear.

WE arrive in Louisville at about 9:30pm. The rain that plagued us sporadically on the trip gets heavier and more steady. We arrive at The Executive West, a grand Motoring Hotel from a bygone era in good condition but the short cuts taken three renovations ago were starting to stand out and date the place, and here they really did. And this was part of the charm.

THIS hotel was hosting three two very different conventions, one for the Lebowski conventioneers, and a bomber group of eighty year-old WWII B-17 pilots. There were also a bunch of black and white children staying there. I can only imagine what these kids and dinosaurs thought as they heard “I fuck you!” and “Fucking nihilist!” all weekend.

AFTER an hours journey by bus, we end up at the ‘free’ showing of the Big Lebowski at Harbor Lawn on the banks of the Ohio. It was cold and drizzling. The park seemed a lot like the moors in American Werewolf in London save for the giant sheet steel birds. The size of the screen was disappointing – it was no Schenley Park sized screen. The fucking thing was inflated and it looked like a projection TV. This was uneventful. We stuck around until the end of the movie, drank overpriced skunked beer and made our to the bus line. It was now 12:45am and there were seriously about a bus load ahead of us. There are a total of about eighty people. I expected more. This was the first sign that these supposed Über fans are pussies. Every fan should have been there and we should have collectively went and stormed the town like we were Yankees and this was 1864.

I’M hungry and I want to explore this place and the fact that the last shuttle ends up here at 3am means there is a lot of time to explore. Sean P and I make our way to town leaving the others who want to wait on the bus.

THIS lead to viewing a nice cultural cross-section. The deli was next to a Martini bar that had two gay bouncers (and I’m not saying that in a disparaging way, they were gay) and a guy who puked about four or five times on the café seating directly in front of the club. At one point he took his flipflop off and was grinding his foot and pants leg in it and then put the shoe back on. They moved him out of the puke to another table free from vomit where he promptly threw up on his other foot. I finished my Pastrami and Swiss and the other half of the team who had not joined us at the deli called to say they were at PG’s strip club. They had left the bus stop minutes after we did and ended up at the strip joint on their search for food. They had a guy in the lobby cooking what the guys said were the best burgers they had ever had. Remember – they ate the ‘corn cake’ too. We navigate our way to the club and as we head up to what we think is the club I see the grill on the side walk. We make our way in and see the gimp that they bought the burgers off.

THIS is where we really see Kentucky in all her brilliant glory. There are three stages and they have your typical strip club chicks: the skinny ‘little’ girl who probably looked underage but the two years of coke and meth have left her looking more like a forty year-old; the chick with an okay fat ass but fakest tits ever and the chick who looks like she was an athlete in high-school – the broad swimmers shoulders and toned legs; the one who went of the tracks after her second high school party gang bang.

IT gets strange. Looking around I notice that the waitress is seriously about six months pregnant. All of the servers are dressed in bras with matching panties and hose that came up to their waists. She looked fucking ridiculous. I also start to notice a few more pregnant women in the club as patrons and they are smoking and drinking. I’m pretty liberal when it comes to social issues – I just don’t give a fuck what people do in their spare time. This is not to say I won’t make fun of them, but I don’t think their should be laws to stop personal freedom. I cannot get with smoking pregnant chicks. I draw the line with that and with pedophiles – everything else is up for grabs. Now having seen pregnant chicks that are both drinking and smoking I can say I’m not down with the drinking either. Most of the men by this point sounded gay and sort of scanned the room and would lock eyes with you if you looked long enough – and not in an ‘I’m gonna kick your ass’ tough guy way. And the woman patrons filled the tables; they had strippers rubbing their nipples in their mouths. And this might have been fun to watch had the patron chicks not been from Kentucky.

WE stumble back to the LZ… and wait. Most of our party was convinced that the bus wouldn’t come – I knew that he would. What else was there for him to do here?

2:35a: “He’s not fucking coming dude, let’s get a cab.”

2:45a: “Let’s just go back to the strip club and get cabs…”

2:50a: “Ten minutes and we find out if he is coming or not…”
He will be here.

Three minutes before 3a and we see the school bus brody around the corner and power down the straightaway, his foot flooring the accelerator making the diesel sound like a jet.

We load the bus with our crew of eleven plus six additional revelers including the drunk gay mans health crisis that just kept chattering as we waited. I don’t remember much more about the evening as I passed out periodically before finally waking up to Sean P karate chopping me in the face at about 10:30a.

Having all of the liquor for White Russians we are missing the sole non-alcoholic ingredient. We had no luck securing any upon our arrival so imagine our surprise when we made our way to the breakfast buffet and see that twenty once bottles of milk are included in the cost of the buffet.

Back in the rooms we stack our milk score in garbage cans. We then start drinking White Russians and beer.

AFTER a few hours we jump in the van to make our way to the Louisville skate park. I immediately imbibe on more ‘corn bread’. This park is in-fucking-sane. They have a concrete full pipe that has to have at least an 80 foot diameter. The runs are massive and wide with several roll ins, stairs and rails. The half pipe is massive. It is lighted and the kids are young and really good. Plus the place is lit so it is open twenty four hours a day.

Half the party skates and I hung out with the other half. Since my AVM popped, I have been more of a pussy than I was before. We stay for awhile and then the rain starts. Not a problem until it starts to get heavy.

OUR next stop is a bowling alley that is several miles from the Executive Lanes that are right across the street from the hotel. To get there from here, we traveled through a ghetto section of Louisville and I am taken aback by how clean it is. There are some pieces of trash on the ground but nothing like what you might see in the comparable Pittsburgh neighborhood of East Liberty. All of the vacant lots are fenced in with the grass cut.

I noticed liquor stores on almost every corner. The huge ‘WHISKEY” signs are at least fifty years old neon still contained and illuminating some tubes.

WE arrive at the bowling alley and pile out of the van looking for some place to throw the empties that we drank along the way. I am sure that if we had been pulled over they would have just made us dump the beer out and let us continue on our way. People seem to drink everywhere all of the time in Kentucky.

I look into the bed of the pickup that is parked diagonally from us. I see that not only is it full of garbage, but the trash was in various stages of decay. We throw our cans in and Jeff starts tossing a bunch of other trash that filled the van from the trip to Ky. We bowl dollar games and keep refilling the pitchers with cans from the cooler that was smuggled in.

ABOUT six hours have elapsed since we left the park and my head is spinning. I’m starting to pass out periodically. I had to somehow pull it together and wake up. I’m seriously in doubt as to whether I can get the costume on, let alone actually walk across the street to the site of the party.

SELF doubt about my choice of costume really took hold while on the way to Louisville. ..How redneck will the place be; will I get fag-bashed because of the skirt?..

These thoughts continued as I pulled myself out of bed. My head felt so heavy .. I just want to sleep. I need fresh air. Somehow I make it, albeit after getting off and stumbling around the wrong floors, to the back of the hotel. I know that I am wobbly so I look for something to lean on. Across the street are the Executive Lanes .. the official Saturday night spot for the Fifth Annual Lebowski Fest. I hear the sounds and see the people shuffling back and forth from the venue to the hotel. I see familiar faces in the distance.

I follow my crew back to the room and everyone begins to put on their costumes. Sean P is a nihilist; Shawn T is The Dude, Honky is Walter and Peck is the guy who smashes the Dudes car to avenge Walter smashing up the Corvette. Peck proceeds to tell us all about Janet Jackson..s all male gay porn collection and other funny stories experienced by being a Hollywood insider.

FIRST, I put on the skirt, it is pretty form fitting but my ass looked surprisingly good in the mirror at the Goodwill. Next, the shirt, tie and jacket. Since wigs are hot I put it on last.. a possible fly in my ointment, I cannot find the 80’s Yuppie glasses that I also obtained from the Goodwill which are necessary to complete the look.

“They are probably in the van.” A sensible suggestion from Honky.

I follow, stumbling, as we make our way to the parking lot and a brief stop at the van. Thank God the glasses are there .. for the few people that will probably get that I am Ron Kuby, this part of the costume is essential. Why Ron Kuby? Because the Dude tells the Malibu Police that he wants to be represented by either William Kunsler or Ron Kuby. To me, this was the only character to be. I grew up watching Mort Downy J.R. screaming at Ron Kuby; he wore a skirt and was on the show because men didn’t have enough rights in divorce proceedings. To my knowledge and others in the group who had been to prior Lebowski Fests, they had never seen a Ron Kuby. Once I put the glasses on and slightly bucked my front teeth, I really felt like the man. I suppose ‘corn bread’; White Russians and Beer helped too.

NOT much was going on at the venue, terrible band after terrible band took the stage and we made our way inside and represented. I was there for about an hour with people snickering and saying “That guy has a dress.” I’m fucked up and I’m wearing five power magnified glasses so I can’t see shit. I can’t believe that no one knows who I am. Then, as I am walking the length of the bowling alley a dikie fresh chick rolls up next to me and locks my arm; we walk in stride together.
“Your Ron Kuby aren’t you!”

“Finally! Someone gets it!”

“My boyfriend and I were going to make Ron Kuby t-shirts and sell them.” She says.

“You should of,” I reply, “then these dicks would know that I’m not some dude in a dress.”
I am validated, “That is a great costume”, she slips off into the crowd.

I walk around and get approached by a couple of guys outside.
“Dude… who the fuck are you supposed to be?”

“Ron Kuby…”

They laugh and pose for pictures with me.

Another few hours of nothing and then I am in the bowling alley surrounded by people taking my picture, five flashbulbs going off one after the other, like paparazzi.

The organizers come by and Peck knows them .. he points me out to them.

“Guys, that’s Ron Kuby” he says.

“Yeah, I’m not too familiar with what Ron Kuby looks like…” one of the gents says.

“Maybe we will come back for you, but I don’t know, I’m not familiar with Ron Kuby either” the other one says.

I ask Peck what that was about. “They are looking for people for the costume contest.” he says.

You have got to be kidding me. A million dicks show up in cargo shorts with yellow ‘narc’ type glasses and they are automatically in for the judging; some cock shows up with a rug, as the rug (okay, I do like that one) and two chicks are dressed up as White Russians looking more like the stripper rejects that end up at Hooters instead of a pole high on cocaine because they have weird scares on their bodies and acne stained faces.
Dissing on Ron Fucking Kuby because they don..t know what he looks like? What kind of ‘pop-culture’ mavens are these guys? I suddenly realize that these dicks that organized it and most of these people participating; that their pop culture world view is second hand. They think that they are authentic because they can drop a Members Only reference and they watch I Love the 80’s on VH-1. In the words of GG Allin: ‘straight out of my asshole, FOR YOU!’ Motherfuckers.

Dejected because I have no chance of possibly wining the five hundie and because I realize that maybe one percent of the participants even get it, I make my way back to the hotel to change. As I walk through the back doors of the bowling alley, again, I hear a cock saying, ..Nice dress, dude…. I..m so glad that I am leaving this phony fucking event filled with fucking wankers that have way too high opinions of themselves.

I stop. I turn. I am facing this douche crew.

“I’m Ron Fucking Kuby, you fucking assholes…” I turn around and hear the typical “Ohhh..ha,ha,ha” as I walk away.

There was an uneventful after party in our hotel, save for the huge, old gay man, black t-shirt tucked into his bulging black waistlined jeans framed with red suspenders, replete with ashy elbows, dancing like Madonna and getting pissed as I laughed at him for doing it. The Pixies ‘Wave of Mutilation’ comes on and, seriously, like seven people are into it and I..m one of them. I think we were the same seven that had zero reaction when ‘Beat It’ came on. This crowd really is a bunch of cunts.

The ride home was your typical hung over affair. We fucked with a few Cincinnati Bengal..s fans and everyone had basically run out of fuel. It got eventful as we pulled off the Dallas Pike exit on I-70. While refueling the van and stretching our limbs we heard a small waterfall, only to look under the van and see that radiator fluid was pouring out. We limped back to Honky..s mother..s house in WashPa and the van finally died – twenty seven miles from where we needed to be. As this was Honky’s bachelor party, it is bittersweet: womb to tomb.

I was glad to finally be back in Pennsylvania. If I ever do go back to Louisville for another Lebowski Fest, I will definitely bootleg T-Shirts and get paid off of those lame motherfuckers.

I had only one, real objective that failed to materialize in Louisville: I didn’t leave a bastard child behind.

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