“Dennis Hopper Day in Taos” is a guest post by Robert Cafazzo, owner of the Two Graces Gallery in Ranchos.
Sunday May 17, 2015 motorcycle ‘gangs’ may have been out of control in Waco, Texas, yet in Taos, New Mexico it all seemed rather peaceful and mellow for the second annual Dennis Hopper Day.
Motorcycles were in abundance arriving in Taos from morning to late afternoon, by 3PM there were about 80 riders hanging out in front of Old Martina’s Hall Restaurant next to the El Cortez Theatre (home to Dennis since the mid 70’s). Many had driven up from Santa Fe, a few from as far as Chicago and the Bay Area. It was great to see some new models of motorcycles that I had never seen before like the Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide. Although, I might need more information before I commit to making any purchases of my own! Early on, photographers and onlookers outnumbered biker participants, everyone waiting for something to happen. Word of mouth circled around Taos quickly that Patricia Arquette would be in attendance for festivities later that evening. She was indeed present mingling with the crowd and graciously taking ‘selfies’ with anyone who asked. The evening included a free screening of Easy Rider, a costume ‘look-a-like’ contest and music with Robbie Romero and Robert Mirabal, all at Old Martina’s in Ranchos de Taos.
Taos events can too often leave most businesses flat, this one created a whole lot of goodwill and synergy among shops, galleries and restaurants. Over the weekend Taos was busy with visitors and locals strolling around town. It was also the first weekend for the return of the Farmers Market on Taos Plaza and the second annual Taos Lilac Festival, all of these events brought a lot of people out and about.
Hopper was much more than the fringe jacketed, motorcycle riding, middle finger flicking hippie star (and director) of “Easy Rider”. In Taos there was no entourage, no pretentiousness, here he was just Dennis. You’d see him standing in Ranchos Plaza taking photographs of the iconic San Francisco de Asis Church just like everyone else. Dennis helped pick Taos up, making it ‘The’ place to visit in 2009. The success of the “Summer of Love” and his “Hopper Curates” exhibition at the Harwood Museum of Art singlehandedly saved tourism in Taos.
Now he’s an icon too, and now we have a small tribute to him right here in Taos, a place he called home. Long live ‘Dennis Hopper Day’.
To read more of Robert’s writing, please visit his blog twograces and for more information about Robert and his gallery, please visit the link below.
All photographs by Robert Cafazzo