Had a really enjoyable chat with Genevieve Walker of GQ Magazine before Christmas for an article that she was writing about how Louisville is embracing Hunter’s legacy. We talked for almost two hours and the article turned out great. I am quoted a few times throughout and it was a strange feeling seeing my name in GQ Magazine!
Here’s a snippet of the article where I am quoted, for the full article click the link below the extract:
When Dr. Rory Feehan, a Hunter S. Thompson scholar based in Limerick, Ireland, visited Louisville for the first time this year, he noticed an absence of permanent public embrace of Thompson. “Why don’t they have a boulevard or street named after him? He’s an icon. This great writer is part of the cultural heritage of Louisville.”
This year’s GonzoFest kicked off with an evening at the museum on the 19th of July (a day after Thompson’s birthday). The festivities included a panel discussion between Juan Thompson and Whitehead, moderated by WFPL President Stephen George. The Curator, Erika Holmquist-Wall, gave a gallery talk alongside Dr. Rory Feehan.
Flying into Louisville for the first time, Feehan said, “I saw that flat, green land. It was like Ireland in the sun.” Not unlike Kentucky, said Feehan, Ireland is known for whiskey and horse racing. Not unlike Louisville, Dublin had a contentious relationship with its own James Joyce, who is now very celebrated.
Thompson died over a dozen years ago, which for a historian, is no time at all. Already, though, there has been significant renewed interest and engagement with Thompson’s work. “In the last 15 years there has been an explosion of research papers,” said Feehan. As the Gonzoville movement builds momentum and academics fine-tune theories, reframing Thompson’s situation in literature, it makes sense to start defining his place in his hometown, too.
The goal, said Whitehead, is to have a permanent place for all things Hunter S. Thompson. A place that can showcase, and maintain, all of his personal archives.
There are many parties interested in the Thompson archives, and where they’ll eventually come to rest. (Johnny Depp owns a portion.) Will a multi-million dollar facility, like the Muhammad Ali Center, ever be built for them in Louisville? Right now it seems unlikely. But, as Lindenberger said, “If anybody can do it, Ron would pull it together.”
Ron Whitehead—the Outlaw Poet, as he calls himself—will be 69 years old this November. He cares deeply about Thompson’s work, and giving him his proper due in Louisville. He’s also ready to pass the torch. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” said Whitehead. “Juan [Thompson] has moved to town. I’m turning this all over to him. Everybody knows that I’m going to stay on top of whatever is going on. I’ll work behind the scenes, but 25 years is enough. This is an ending and a beginning.”
To read the full article on GQ.com click here