Film and motorcycle fans from all over the U.S. and Canada descended upon Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico Saturday in honor of Dennis Hopper’s cult classic Easy Rider. Saturday would've been the 78th birthday of the late Oscar-nominated actor, and Ranchos de Taos officials hope the gathering will become an annual event called "Dennis Hopper Day."
Hopper was once a resident of Ranchos de Taos, and is now buried there, and town manger Rick Bellis stated that 'Dennis Hopper Day' is meant to acknowledge and appreciate Hopper's contributions as a resident of the town, as an actor and director, as a champion of the arts and for simply being a good member of the community.
Here is the official trailer of Hopper's Easy Rider from 1969:
Easy Rider was co-written by Hopper, Peter Fonda and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda and directed by Hopper. It relates the story of two bikers (Fonda and Hopper) who ride through the American Southwest and South. Regarded as a landmark counterculture film, Easy Rider was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 1998.
"Dennis Hopper Day" commenced with the first-ever "Easy Rider Ride," when motorcyclists left the town plaza for a 49-mile easy ride with a police escort. A local band kicked off the "Dennis Hopper Commemoration Reception," with songs from the Easy Rider soundtrack, while some restaurants served Hopper-inspired dishes. Ranchos de Taos mayor Dan Barrone declared May 17 an official holiday for the town and county.
Here Hopper appears in David Lynch's Blue Velvet from 1986:
Hopper was laid to rest in a Native American-style burial mound in the Jesus Nazareno Cemetery in Ranchos de Taos, which is believed to have been the actor's final request. Hopper first went to New Mexico in the late 1960’s to scout for locations for Easy Rider.
Happy birthday, Dennis Hopper! pic.twitter.com/OQUofTW6pw
— SvBell | BlackFlagTV (@svbell) May 17, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons