Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Easy Runner

I went for what has become my usual morning run a little late this morning, and when I came out of the grove into the church lot, there were quite a lot of cars and people, and it looked like a funeral.  Turns out it was Dennis Hopper's, which I began to suspect by the eclectic nature of the crowd.

I tried to stay to the perimeter of the parking lot to be respectful, but as I ran past a parked car with an open door, I couldn't help but notice that a man was sitting there in his underwear putting on dress pants.  Anyhoo.

I definitely felt a pang when I heard that Hopper had died, since True Romance, one of my very favorite movies, features him.  In fact, there is a truly brilliant scene between him and Christopher Walken which I feel is one of the best scenes in any movie, ever.  I'm glad for the grace that allowed me to brush up against his funeral and, however briefly and incompletely, honor his life with the expression of my own through running, something I'm completely stoked to finally be doing.  I've realized that I'm a person of passion and intensity and if I don't give that energy a release in vigorous physical activity, it's going to assert itself in less healthy ways. 

So I like that this new passion of mine connected me in some tiny way to Dennis Hopper's life and death.  He was known for being "difficult," an "enfant terrible" - things I have been seen as often myself.  He walked a self-destructive path for many years, but eventually emerged out of that, and overall his life can be perceived as a wild adventure, a kind of trail-blazing, and an amazingly diverse expression of creative genius.  That inspires me.

And in many ways, Hopper embodied the spirit of Taos, which is itself a sort of enfant terrible.  I love that his funeral was at the San Francisco de Asis church, which strikes me as a wonderful meshing of the frontier-like wildness, noble tradition, profuse creativity, and eclectic spirituality that is Taos.

As I write this now, I hear the bells at the church announcing the end of services.  I also just re-watched on YouTube the scene that I mentioned, and I'll leave you with that. Some of you may not want to watch it as it's pretty intense in terms of violence and profanity.  But if you can get past those things, it's definitely worth seeing, as Hopper's character stands up against the mafia in a brilliant way to defend his son, and becomes sort of a Christ figure in the process.


  1. I'd forgotten about that scene, in fact I'd pretty much forgotten about the whole film though I loved it when I saw it and am sure we have the DVD. I'll have to dig it out and rewatch it.

    I can't think of a role I didn't admire Dennis Hopper playing, he always brought something intense and creative to a part.

    I took up running about three years ago and love it, after a run everything feels more settled. In all that time I've never run past a funeral, let alone the funeral of an icon.

  2. I didn't view the scene as your warning was "enough warning" for me. I have a real problem erasing violence once its made its way into my brain.

    I'm thrilled however to be a part of your "touch with the funeral" in your own personal and unexpected way while running.

    This running (I still have to call it jog/walk) is so invigorating to me as it was when I first embarked on it a couple of decades ago. Not having really pursued the pavement (as I mentioned in one of my posts) for a long time, it has taken me a lot of nerve to throw myself back out into the air rather than the safety of a gym or treadmill. But it's great and I plan to get myself up to speed little by little. I'm delighted that we're pursuing this at the same time. Also, I'm curious about your you measure your run in blocks or minutes or miles - I used to map out a run and measure it off with the car odometer but I told you I have a gps device now. So how do you measure yourself in this new sport?

    Oh, and like Eryl - I've never encountered a funeral while running:)


  3. That is quite a story, to have that kind of interaction with someone upon their death -- feels somewhat mystical, really. I started to watch the scene then decided I really should rent the whole movie. I have always been a Dennis Hopper fan. He seemed to live on the edge, willing to be just who he wanted to be. At least that was the impression I got. I also want to rent Blue Velvet again -- I remember it being very strange but fascinating.

  4. GREAT scene. I'm now a follower by the way :)

  5. Great post, Polli. Pretty terrifying scene. I like very much the connection with Dennis Hopper's funeral.

  6. Eryl - I first saw True Romance in the theater when it came out. I was in a strange town, by myself, and picked it knowing nothing about it except that Christian Slater was in it. It blew my mind.

    SS - I measure my runs in time. Right now, since I'm just starting out, I keep to twenty minutes, and not all of that is running.

    DG - If you do go ahead and watch the whole thing, I'd love to hear what you think about it! I really think I could write a whole dissertation on that movie.

    Mashlip and Claire - Thank you!

    Oh. And by the way, folks - I was looking at pictures of the funeral online and that man I saw dressing in the car? I'm pretty sure it was Peter Fonda.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Search This Blog