Hunter S. Thompson: Ready for Blastoff on Saturday

By: E&P Staff

Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalist, appears ready for his final flight of fancy. Plans appear set for his launch into space, in a grand fireworks display at his Owl Farm near Aspen, Colo., on Saturday, financed largely by actor Johnny Depp.

His ashes returned to Colorado today via armored truck,, from Pennsyvlania, where they had been packed into canisters to be sent aloft as part of a fireworks display. Thompson fans have already started gathering, though few will make it to the ceremony.

It is invitation only, with 250 expected to attend, including Thompson art collaborator Ralph Steadman (who drew E&P?s election cover last November). The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, a Japanese drum group, and possibly Lyle Lovett will perform. Depp, Sean Penn and other notables are invited.

One local wag dubbed it Hunterpalooza. Or perhaps a Depp Poetry Jam will break out.

Liquor and food will be served. A makeshift bar has been constructed with framed photos of Thompson?s eight literary heroes to be placed nearby: Mark Twain, Samuel Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, and John Steinbeck. According to Thompson’s widow Anita, Twain was perhaps his favorite, since he, too, was considered an ?outlaw? writer early in his career.

Thompson killed himself in his kitchen with a gunshot to the head on Feb. 20. It was reminiscent of the way his hero, Hemingway, went out.

The journo?s ashes will be shot out of a 150-tall-monument, packed in fireworks shells. The monument, made largely in Los Angeles, is in the shape of the “gonzo fist,” complete with a peyote button. Now covered with tarps, it will not be unveiled until Saturday.

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