Fear and Loathing in America – Hunter S. Thompson on 9/11

Hey folks,

Just thought I’d post this as it is by far the most sought after article by Hunter, with many people contacting me on a regular basis about it. While this may be Hunter’s immediate take on 9/11, I would recommend that you also read the rest of Hunter’s ESPN column as it regularly addresses the War on Terror as it unfolded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in America. Looking back on the events now, Hunter’s column makes for chilling reading.

Fear and Loathing in America

It was just after dawn in Woody Creek, Colorado, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday morning, and as usual I was writing about sports. But not for long. Football suddenly seemed irrelevant, compared to the scenes of destruction and utter devastation coming out of New York on TV. Read more

Fear and Loathing in America – Hunter S. Thompson on 9/11

Hey folks,

 

Just thought I’d post this as it is by far the most sought after article by Hunter, with many people contacting me on a regular basis about it. While this may be Hunter’s immediate take on 9/11, I would recommend that you also read the rest of Hunter’s ESPN column as it regularly addresses the War on Terror as it unfolded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in America. Looking back on the events now, Hunter’s column makes for chilling reading.

Fear and Loathing in America

It was just after dawn in Woody Creek, Colorado, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday morning, and as usual I was writing about sports. But not for long. Football suddenly seemed irrelevant, compared to the scenes of destruction and utter devastation coming out of New York on TV. Read more

Video of first Gonzo Foundation Seminar at Owl Farm

Hey folks,

You can now download an hour long video of the first Gonzo Foundation Seminar at Owl Farm. The video features George Stranahan and Michael Owsley discussing political issues – from the local to the national, along with Anita Thompson, Wayne Ewing and various guests. Discussion aside, the video offers a rare glimpse of another part of Owl Farm, which is as you would expect – full of Gonzo related furnishings.

You can download the video by visiting this page from Grassroots TV.

Take care,

Rory

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The Gonzo Foundation

Hey folks,

Just a heads up that The Gonzo Foundation is now up and running. Anita Thompson just posted an update over at Owlfarmblog with some details. Although the first seminar is sold out, there will be more to come. If you would like to know more and receive notifications of future Gonzo Foundation events then make sure to register here – The Gonzo Foundation Official Site.

Sounds interesting!

Rory

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Tom Benton & Hunter S. Thompson – The Art of Freak Power

“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.

Aspen Wallposter #5
Aspen Wallposter #5

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.

campaign8

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?

Yr. friend,

Rory

PS: Thanks to DJ for the heads-up on the project.

London Gonzo Fans:Missing Hunter S. Thompson Fax!

 

 

THE famous illustrator of Hunter S Thompson’s work had a precious personal letter from the gonzo journalist stolen when he gave a talk to fans in north London.

Ralph Steadman, 72, spoke at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn about the late American writer, after a screening of the new film on his life Gonzo: The Life And Works Of Dr Hunter S Thompson.

While Mr Steadman talked to fans and signed books afterwards, someone stole an original fax which was among the artist’s possessions.

Mr Steadman, who illustrated Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas as well as much more of Thompson’s work, said: “It was a fax he sent me on Christmas day in 1988. It started Merry Christmas! HO! HO! HO! And was handwritten – six pages long.

“I took it along to read out and I just never thought to make a copy of it. I left it on stage while I talked to people and while I was doing that someone just lifted it.

“It is a rotten thing to do. A dirty little trick. I would have been happy to make a copy for the person who took it and I would have signed it for them, done a drawing – anything they wanted.

“I didn’t think that someone would steal it. That is not gonzo it’s bad gonzo – it’s bonzo.”

Mr Steadman is known for his work on Punch, Private Eye and New Statesman, as well as being the long established partner in crime to the writer.

The pair met in Kentucky when Mr Steadman was sent to cover a race meeting for a magazine.

After a week’s drinking they became friends for more than 35 years and started the partnership which is now world-famous.

Mr Steadman was the man who organised the funeral Thompson had been planning for years, after he shot himself in 2005. His ashes were launched into the air with a cannon.

“I’ve got lots of stuff but that’s not the point,” Mr Steadman continued.

“It is part of the gonzo collection. It was a letter in what he would have called his gibberish. It was about an animal he killed – some kind of dog – because it was threatening his peacocks.

“I don’t steal things from people so why should they steal from me?

“I don’t know why people have to be like that but I think that’s the way we are now – we’ve gone down that terrible road of meanness.

“I don’t think people were ever as mean as they are now.”

Mr Steadman travelled from his home in Kent for the talk and has offered to send a signed copy to anyone who returns the original letter.

The theatre is calling on anyone with information to come forward. Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent said: “Ralph very generously gave up his time to come and do the Q&A at the Tricycle. I’m very sad that somebody came and took away his treasured possession.

“Maybe they thought it was not important, but I know that it is and I know that he would like it back.

Ok somebody out there knows where this is so please come forward if you have any information. Feel free to email us at totallygonzo@gmail.com and we will pass on any helpful details to Ralph. Nobody is interested in getting anyone in trouble, it was probably unintentional, so just help get this fax back to Ralph where it belongs.

Cheers,

Ron Mexico

Preview Stream of The Gonzo Tapes!

 

The Gonzo Tapes
The Gonzo Tapes

Here is a little Halloween treat for Gonzo fans!! I received a great email this week (thanks Amy !) full of information concerning the release of The Gonzo Tapes. This truly is the Holy Grail of bad craziness folks! For those of you that may still doubt me (shame on you!) why not listen to the preview and judge for yourselves Рand yes that is Hunter and Oscar driving around Vegas listening to One Toke Over The Line!! More thoughts on this release coming soon.

The Gonzo Tapes Stream   

Happy Halloween!,

 

Ron Mexico

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PS: Here is the Official Press Release:

On October 28 Shout! Factory will make available the previously unreleased Gonzo Tapes in a newly produced collection titled The Gonzo Tapes: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, in concurrence with the Magnolia Pictures film release of Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, directed by Academy Award¬ģ-winning director Alex Gibney.

Legendary Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson knew from the beginning of his career that he would one day be famous and so became a dedicated archivist of his own writing, saving copies of all his correspondence including personal letters, drafts for magazines and books, angry letters to his editors, and even notes written on cocktail napkins. But most important to Thompson was his tape recorder, which allowed him to document his experiences as a participant rather than an observer, often setting it down in a bar or hotel room to pick up the mood and conversation, or to record what it was like spending days speeding down highways with the Hell’s Angels.

Recorded by Thompson between 1965 and 1975, these tapes capture his thoughts and descriptions both as they’re happening and in reflection, as he would often go back to rerecord commentary. Filmmaker Alex Gibney, producer Eva Orner and Gonzo archivist Don Fleming were given permission by Thompson’s widow to explore the boxes of tapes stored in the basement of his Owl Farm home in Woody Creek, Colorado, left behind after Thompson’s suicide in 2005. Fleming transferred the audiocassettes and reel-to-reel tapes to digital files, and they made their way to the cutting room for the film Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

Gibney, the producer/writer/director of the film who also made ‚ÄúEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúTaxi to the Dark Side,‚ÄĚ writes in his introduction to The Gonzo Tapes, ‚ÄúThese tapes were pure gold, lending an intimacy to the film that it couldn‚Äôt have had otherwise.‚ÄĚ As Loren Jenkins writes in the notes that accompany The Gonzo Tapes, ‚ÄúThe idea that these tapes will now be made available to the public to help reveal some of what went on behind the Gonzo screeds is something I believe Hunter would delight in if he were still alive today.‚ÄĚ

              The Gonzo Tapes features original cover artwork by Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, an introduction by film director Alex Gibney, an essay by journalist and Thompson’s fellow foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, and notes by The Gonzo Tapes producer Don Fleming, former front man of the Velvet Monkeys and Gumball who has produced Sonic Youth, Alice Cooper, Hole, and more.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Disc 1 of the 5-CD set is titled ‚ÄúHell‚Äôs Angels,‚ÄĚ and includes Thompson‚Äôs notes from a year of riding with the infamous biker gang, an unprecedented feat from which Thompson made a name for himself and which famously became a book. Discs 2 and 3 contain the notes that materialized as his well-known novel Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, and eventually of course a major motion picture.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Disc 4, titled ‚ÄúGonzo Gridlock 1973‚Äď1974,‚ÄĚ captures Thompson in the years following the completion of his book Fear And Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ‚Äô72,¬† recording his thoughts for a new novel, drafts of a never published Rolling Stone story involving Fear and Loathing cohort Oscar Acosta, a cocaine-fueled never-written assignment from Rolling Stone on a book titled Cocaine Papers: Sigmund Freud, as well as notes and an argument with Ralph Steadman during a 1974 trip to Zaire where he was to report on the legendary ‚ÄúRumble In The Jungle‚ÄĚ between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali for Rolling Stone, and which he skipped for a swim in the hotel pool.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Disc 5, titled ‚ÄúFear and Loathing in Saigon,‚ÄĚ finds Thompson traveling to Vietnam just days before the fall of Saigon in 1975, where, armed with a cooler of beer and wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, he rode to the front line and observed the final major combat action of the war. The day before Saigon fell Thompson left for Laos to work on a story he had in mind about CIA concentration camps.

Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture ‚Äď The Stuff You Grew Up On But Never Outgrew.¬† Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory‚Äôs DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company‚Äôs audio catalogue boasts Grammy¬ģ-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists and lovingly assembled album reissues. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention.¬† For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com.

Ralph Steadman – The Whole World’s Watching

From RalphSteadman.com :

I wrote to my soul sister, Anita Thompson recently: From over here the stakes look weird and unexpected. ¬†Many wanted Hillary and it looks like, in the most perverse way, that Palin woman could win for McCain- in spite of 8 years of the most hideous presidency in living memory- a stumbling economy and a divisive Foreign Policy for the dumbest and the silliest. I wouldn’t have known two weeks ago that you could¬†get to here from there. ¬†It is almost like a conjuror’s Illusion and you look twice to see how the transformation took place. Beware the fickle! ¬† It’s as though party strategists have kept Palin’s ass cool on some floating iceberg up there in Alaska and produced her like a rabbit out of ¬†a hat. That’s entertainment and that is exactly the knack she has. It’s a trick but it’s a neat one. And incidentally, has anyone noticed that PALIN is an anagram. LAPIN is the french word for rabbit.

Speaking as a bloke- albeit a Welsh one! ¬†I don’t find it hard to imagine armies of heavy-breathing guys from Maine down to Alabama and west across to Sacramento, ogling, guffawing, letching and already shifting their earlier resolve to get the Republicans out once and for all and instead saying the Hell with it. That’s for me and you can bring the old ‘un along too. ¬†He’s got a couple of years left in him and he can teach her as they go. Politics goes straight out the window- or maybe that IS the new politics. Politics and Sex! ¬† Sex as Patriotism. ¬†American flag as Bikini. The riots in Chicago in 1968 were, I guess, the first inkling in modern times, to the fatuous ¬†lie called ‘the American Dream’, realised only as Vietnam transformed some Americans from Isolationist do-gooders into thinking protesters. ¬†Just a few thoughts as I watch this Capitol Hill Circus regroup and change the shape of what was, up to last weekend, a ruinous Hurricane. There are still over 50 days to go so even more alarming things can happen. I am so sorry that Hillary and Barack wasted so much time and energy on egos.

Surely, it is enough damning evidence to know that while Sarah Palin was Mayor of a town called Wassila, Alaska, she tried to get the local Librarian to remove certain books from the shelves, including The Origin of Species. This is damning dumbness rearing its head as glamour. Courage is toting a gun and invoking God as some patron saint of compassion for the chosen few. God is a private and personal matter and we should be allowed to imagine him, it or her, or not, ¬†in whichever way we choose. God as nature is a mean sonofabitch and all are witness to some of the worst examples of its power and have been victims to it since a life supporting atmosphere allowed organisms to crawl around and feel at home. And man evolved and learned from this meanness and ‘humanity’ was born. ¬†In my book, ‘THE BIG I AM’ I imagine a scenario and course of events to ‘explain’ how it all came about. ¬†But that had to be entertainment just as politics has always been. ¬†Now I am lost and hold no compelling convictions. ¬†America is lost too, but this election is making a theatrical stab at something while carrying along in its baggage some of the worst, most reactionary bullshit from its blinkered past, into this new century.

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