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Dennis Hopper’s American Dreams


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Dennis Hopper’s American Dreams

American actor and film director Dennis Hopper was born in Kansas in 1936, but in our journey across America, I ended up finding him in California. 

Hopper died in 2010 and is buried at a most unusual cemetery in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico. A blend of Native American, Mexican, and Catholic dispositions, the Jesus Nazareno cemetery seems the most appropriate resting place for this wild American spirit who went from drugs and alcohol to total sobriety. 

It was when we were walking the streets of La Jolla, California, however,  that I had my Hopper encounter. Warwick’s, a beautifully appointed bookstore, has been in existence since 1867 and is still family owned and operated. Their own story is quite American, originating in Iowa, passing through Montana, and finding its current  location in La Jolla. 

 

As we entered, I said to my husband, “I wonder if I will be able to find a book of Dennis Hopper’s photographs here.” It was a statement of pre-existing resignation. It’s been difficult to find any of Hopper’s photographs and they are mostly distributed by European publishers. Much like jazz, Hopper’s art is more appreciated in Europe today than in America.

Art books lined the shelves and my eyes scanned to see if there was anything even remotely resembling Hopper’s photography. And then it appeared: a hard cover book with a photo of a woman on the cover, eyes closed, lost in a trance or a dream. Across her face, letters appeared: In Dreams, Dennis Hopper. It was a beautiful moment, you might as well cue the lights and expect the angelic choir sounds to bathe the book in all its fullness. :snip:

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