Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. The weather was fine, the peonies are in early bloom, the asparagus is still producing, the haricots verts have emerged. The squire of the Stately Manor spent the weekend elbows deep in the rich, organic soil of his experimental work farm, threw some dry-rub ribs on the barbie, and quaffed a very excellent white Rhone with the Lovely Lisa.
It was a beautiful weekend.
Dennis Hopper, what can I say, man?
I have been much consumed by his death Saturday as I was with the death of George Harrison (nine years ago!), both of natural causes, both key "counter-cultural" figures of my misspent youth.
I am much struck by Hopper's seminal role as Billy in Easy Rider -- and by his endorsement of Pabst Blue Ribbon in Blue Velvet. A last link to James Dean, dead these 55 years. Plus, he was a Republican in Hollywood -- now THAT is counter-cultural!
I do believe that we will see Dennis Hopper retrospectives; that his stature will only grow. He was sui generis. Has there ever been a villain more villainous than Frank Booth?
Did not realize that the man was an accomplished photographer, painter, and sculptor. Or that, as a director, he created "lens flare" (think of Easy Rider). As he aged, looked even better.
Perhaps his life was his best art. Married eight days to Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas in 1970, he said "the first seven days were pretty good." Or laying in a coffin surrounded by dynamite in the desert. Is that existential?
Dennis Hopper once consumed three grams of cocaine, a half-gallon of rum, and 28 beers (presumably not Heineken) per day, every day for years -- and lived to tell about it. SNL did a skit on a show he co-hosted based on a Ralph Edwards "This is your life" premise, the joke being that he could remember none of it. If you remember the '60s you weren't there.
For all that, the stoned hippies of Easy Rider were destructive and self-indulgent. The commune scene is unbearable today. But a pretty movie, still. Was it the first music video?