Many thanks to (my old UT film school T.A.) Louis Black for his acknowledgment of Dennis Hopper's passing [“In Memory of Dennis Hopper
,” Screens, June 4]. I was lucky enough to have shared Mr. Linklater's experience – firsthand – of what an entertaining crazyass the late celebrity was. Although I haven't thought about that explosive performance event in God knows how long, I can confirm that it was definitely not
apocryphal. Once again, my Chronicle
has jogged a forgotten memory to appreciate and share.
Actually, Dennis had several dozen of us bused from the Rice University Media Center (it might've been early '84) to some outlying country racetrack for his "blow myself up for you" trick. I recall more folks than just my friend and I joining into the vibe to imbibe all the way there – in more ways than one – according to the tone Hopper had set verbally.
So here was the kicker, for me: He made certain that everyone knew how risky the placement and lighting of the dynamite sticks was, and through it all, the guy was so drunk that his speech was slurred! It was cheap, risky fun – if not strangely anti-climactic afterward – and he laughingly thanked us for coming. Nah, they don't make 'em like Dennis.