Meanwhile, I tried introducing "Breaking Bad" to Jetta last night. She objected to what she saw as its glorification of sex, drugs, and violence. She has plans of her own to see "The Big Lebowski" in that greatest-hits tour of classic movies that's traveling around to various theaters this summer. Except Jetta keeps calling it "The Big Lewinsky":
Trying to start a “Breaking Bad”-themed fan fest in Albuquerque, N.M. — where Heisenberg-related tourism has flourished — is harder than you might think.
Like a certain fictional chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin played by Bryan Cranston, super fans Jennie Rexer and Miguel S. Jaramillo are starting out small with their venture. They have no choice. Their campaign to raise $35,000 for the fest on crowdfunding site Kickstarter stalled out, and now they have to reach into their own pockets to realize their dream.
“It’s expensive to put on a fan fest!” Rexer told Speakeasy in an email interview. So far, they’ve already paid a few thousand dollars for deposits on the venues as well as other necessities. The cost will grow even further, though, if they end up attracting more special guests. (Series creator Vince Gilligan would be their ultimate guest, Rexer said.) New Mexico natives Steven Michael Quezada and Jeremiah Bitsui (recently of NBC’s “The Night Shift” and the Sundance selection “Drunktown’s Finest”), who played popular recurring roles on the series, are already slated to appear at this year’s event.
Rexer, a Houston-based neuropsychologist, said that she was inspired to create the event after seeing how a fan fest devoted to Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 cult comedy “The Big Lebowski” took off. Will Russell and Scott Shuffitt founded the Lebowski Fest, a traveling party-slash-convention, 12 years ago in Louisville, Ky., with low expectations and even lower costs.
“We started Lebowski Fest as a lark and expected 15 to 20 friends to show up, and didn’t expect to even do it again,” Russell told Speakeasy in an email. “We rented a cheap, tiny bowling alley on the seedy side of Louisville and printed up a few flyers to put around town. We never dreamed that 150 people would show up.”
Hundreds more showed up the following year. Since then, Lebowski Fest organizers have held more than 60 fests in 30 cities — the next event is scheduled for Aug. 22 and 23 in New York — and it has been embraced by the movie’s stars, including Jeff Bridges and John Goodman.
That’s the kind of growth Rexer and Jaramillo hope to see. “Breaking Bad,” like “The Big Lebowski,” has become one of those unlikely pop culture stalwarts that ends up burrowing deep into the minds of many and inspiring obsession. Tapping into and celebrating its rabid following — which remains large and intense since the series finale netted more than 10 million viewers last fall — appears to be a no-brainer, particularly with prequel series “Better Call Saul” coming soon to AMC.