| 17-Jun-09 |
KS and Jeff Dowd
Waiting out the rain together, backstage, Red Rocks tonight,
"Film on the Rocks"
In THE BIG LEBOWSKI, the lead character, "the Dude" aka Jeff Lebowski, played by Jeff Bridges, is inspired by Jeff "the Dude" Dowd: "His rumpled look and relaxed manner suggests a man in whom casualness runs deep."
"Everybody knows somebody like the Dude -- and so, rumor has it, do the Coen brothers. They based the character on a movie producer and distributor named Jeff Dowd, a familiar figure at film festivals, who is tall, large, and shaggy and a boil with enthusiasm. Dowd is much more successful than Lebowski (he has played an important role in the Coens' careers as indie filmmakers), but no less a creature of the moment. Both dudes depend on improvisation and inspiration..." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
The Dude Speaks
By Marya Gates
When one hears the words “the Dude,” one usually thinks of bowling and White Russians. But before
there was “The Big Lebowski,” there was the real Dude-film producer and one-time Vietnam-war protester, Jeff “the Dude” Dowd.
The Dude of “the Big Lebowski” fame (Jeff Bridges) resembles more the Dude of days gone by-the Dude of the 60s and 70s who was part of the “Seattle Seven” student anti-war protesters (a group who spent a year in jail for trying to take a stand against the war in Vietnam.) This political activity runs in the family: Dowd's father, a former UC Berkeley professor, took part in the Free Speech Movement.
Dowd said the 60s “weren't just about being stoned and protesting. It was also a time of fantastic enlightenment-and yeah, protests, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll-but primarily enlightenment. It was an incredible time of information exchange-you learned something new everyday from books, music, poets, breathing.”
After meeting some of the most interesting people of our time-including Neil Young, Metallica, Robert Redford and Hunter S. Thompson-and living all over the United States, Europe and South America, Dowd is finally putting all his experiences down on paper in his forthcoming autobiography entitled “Class Tales and Rebel Rants from The Dude.”
“I've just been in the right place at the right time to be around extraordinary people” Dowd said, “I have learned from writers like Thompson and Jack Kerouac. I might not write as well as them, but I have more interesting material.”
Dowd insists all his stories true, although some may be embellished just a wee bit. “Someone once said 'myths are lies that tell the truth',” explained Dowd.
Aside from being a political activist and liver of life, Dowd is veteran of the film industry, working as a producer and writer as well as a marketer. His diverse filmography includes “Chariots of Fire” “Desperately Seeking Susan” “Ghandi” and “Better Luck Tomorrow.”
Not one to dabble in only one facet of film, Dowd has also produced several documentaries, including “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” “Documentaries allow you to learn a lot and meet new people,”
Dowd has been a big influence in the realm of independent films-assisting Robert Redford in setting up the Sundance Institute for one. Dowd believes the promotion of independent films is very similar to grass roots politics “It's all word of mouth,” he said. “One person equals four more. It's important to listen to what people want.”
Arguably his most important contribution to independent film was helping the Coen brother's release their first film, the dark comedy “Blood Simple.”
“When I first met them I was at the New York Film Festival, and they were two grungy guys trying to get their film released,” Dowd said, “I ran into them again that same day in Greenwich Village and later that night in the East Village.” They say the third time is a charm.
This eventful meeting lead to the eventual creation by the Coen brothers of Jeffery “the Dude” Lebowski and thus the mythos and cult following of “the Dude.” Although Dowd prefers to drink “vodka and Red Bull,” he said, “I'll drink a White Russian when people buy them for me-which is often".
"Folks just want to hang out with 'the Dude'.”
The Dude abides!
- ks - self-portrait -
| 4-May-09 |
Max Wayne Cookman
The Horse Whisperer
August 7, 1943 - April 27, 2009
Max died suddenly April 27th at his ranch home in Fruita, Colorado.
He was born in Anderson, Indiana on August 7, 1943. His family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1951 and he graduated from Carl Hayden High School in 1961. He graduated with multiple credentials from Parks College - East St. Louis University for aircraft repair.
He worked as an airplane technician for many years, finishing his career with America West Airlines. He moved to Fruita, Colorado in the late 1980's and pursued his passion for training horses, becoming well-known locally for his skill with starting and "fixing" horses.
Max rode his life to the fullest.
He was never happier than when he was riding with friends, his dogs by his side, looking out at the majestic backdrop of the Colorado Monument or the Bookcliff Mountains.
He often said he was extremely blessed -- living in a place he loved, doing the things he loved. Those around him were blessed as well because to know him was to love him.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at a private residence,
1420 20 Road in Fruita. In lieu of flowers,
Max would have loved donations made to the Mustang Heritage Foundation,
P.O. Box 703, Bertram, TX 78605.
Max, we miss you and love you more than words can say.
- ks -