In the past week or so Conan O’Brien has revisited some of his more memorable guest interviews as he looks back on his career before he takes over The Tonight Show. One of the clips featured our favourite Doctor drinking some hard liquor and firing some guns with Conan. Here is the Good Doctors second interview where they remember that event and also discuss bomb making, fake shoes and how to shoot bears without hitting your assistant !! – Ron Mexico
“What we really need is a riot. This would not only justify the purchase of gas, firebombs, electric zappers and various armored equipment – it would also give Aspen the modern, up-to-date image that it vitally needs. We are fortunate in having people like the sheriff and Guido and Bugsy around, if only to keep a rein on dangerous waterheads like Tom Benton.”
Hunter S. Thompson (On behalf of Martin Bormann) – Letter to Aspen Times & Aspen News March 9, 1968
One of the most intriguing events in the history of Gonzo Journalism has to be the collaboration between Hunter and Tom Benton that produced the now infamous Aspen Wallposter Series. In late 1969 Hunter decided that the political scene in Aspen needed a good shaking up, so he persuaded Joe Edwards to run for mayor on the “Freak Power” ticket. Although the campaign got off to a late start, the Freak Power candidate lost by only one vote. Hunter couldn’t believe how close they had come to overthrowing the fatbacks in Aspen. The following March he decided to launch bis own campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County. The Wallposters proved to be the ideal way to promote his unique brand of politics – the front carried Tom Benton’s eye-catching art and the reverse served as a platform for Hunter to outline his policies and take shots at the greedheads he was opposing. It was here that the Gonzo Logo made its first appearance, featuring on Wallposter #5 – better known as the Thompson for Sheriff poster.
Tom Benton also created the original cover for Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail along with various campaign posters for over 30 candidates including Gary Hart, George McGovern, and Willie Brown. He also produced numerous “cause” posters for local benefits, non-profits, and charitable causes. In the 1980’s and 90’s, Benton worked part time as a jailer for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department and continued to create artwork including re-election posters for Sheriff Bob Braudis.
According to Aspen Sheriff Bob Braudis, “Benton was heavily intellectual and understood the threat that speculators were to our environment before anyone else. Throughout his career Tom remained steadfastly loyal to rock solid values and committed to sending his political message through his art.” Sadly Tom Benton died from lymphoma on April 27, 2007. However I am delighted to inform everybody that there is a project underway to catalogue Tom’s work over at http://www.bentonbook.com and you can also order silkscreen prints and Aspen Wallposters over at http://www.tomwbenton.com. The prints are also on display at the Woody Creek Community Center (WC3). A book that covers Tom’s work is scheduled to come out later this year, published by our Gonzo friend George Stranahan. George started the project to catalogue Tom’s prints and was a patron and fan of Tom’s art. I would highly recommend that you take a few moments to not only check out Tom Benton’s Gonzo artwork but also take some time to examine his other work which is really inspiring and beautiful. Here is an example from his poetry series.
Finally for those of you who want to refresh your memory on the Aspen Wallposters and Hunter;s run for Sheriff check out Freak Power In The Rockies originally published in Rolling Stone but also to be found in The Great Shark Hunt. I leave you with another image from the Wallposters – can you imagine what the land developers thought of this?
Just a quick heads up that Bruce Robinson will be on BBC 4 Radio today at 4.30pm GMT. He will be discussing his return to film-making after 17 years. Hopefully he will be able to shed some light on the apparent changes to The Rum Diary. You will need realplayer to listen in and don’t worry if you miss it – you can listen to the show anytime once it airs. I will blog any juicy info. here for those of you that can’t stream the show.
Thanks to Holly for the heads up, much appreciated!
Ron Mexico (in much pain with a broken toe of all things!)
UPDATE: Bruce Robinson describes the script as very close to Withnail & I in tone. He mentions that Johnny Depp was instrumental in getting The Rum Diary published and he also believes the script to be very funny.
Just a heads up that two more actors have been added to the roster of The Rum Diary…..Aaron Eckhart, who is still in negotiations (to play Sanderson) and Richard Jenkins, who has signed on (to play Lotterman). Both great actors and wonderful additions to the film.
Thanks to Holly for the heads-up!! I haven’t had access to the net for the past week due to storm damage so it was nice to get this news when I managed to fix my connection.
For those of you that are wondering about the character of Yeamon, it appears he is no longer going to be part of the movie version. This is quite common with the book to silver screen transition. Bruce Robinson has taken The Rum Diary novel and reworked it for the big screen. I will try and get more details on this so lets just wait and see how everything pans out before people get upset about this. Personally I am just glad we have a new movie based on Hunters work. A few months ago it appeared that this project was doomed and would never get made. They actors that have been cast so far are all excellent, looking forward to some more developments.
According to various sources Amber Heard is either in negotiations for the role of Chenault or has indeed secured the part. Here is a little report from firstshowing.net :
Amber Heard will play the “unattainable” romantic interest Chenault, whom is the girlfriend of “a slick PR consultant named Sanderson” that becomes entangled in a corrupt hotel development scheme with Kemp. The role of Sanderon hasn’t been cast yet, or at least, they haven’t publicly revealed a name. Heard’s role apparently has quite a bit of nudity, but if you haven’t heard, she’s pretty much nude all throughout The Informers, so this wasn’t a big issue for her. I didn’t see The Informers, so I can’t speak for her acting abilities, but obviously with the roles she’s getting, it’s starting to seem like she’s the next big thing.