Tuesday, August 23, 2005

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

Who else but Hunter S. Thompson would wish for this sort of send off?

Fireworks_hunter2_lg Hunter S. Thompson indulged in numerous hallucinogenic fantasies over the years, but this weekend, one of them morphed into reality: his ashes were blasted into the sky over his farm here, carried by red, blue and silver fireworks in front of a 153-foot monument that Mr. Thompson, the writer and avatar of "gonzo" journalism, designed himself almost 30 years ago.

Former Senator George McGovern, the protagonist of Mr. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," was among the 350 invitation-only guests who paid him tribute before liftoff.

"I'm not quite sure where he's going," Mr. McGovern, 83, mused in his flat South Dakota prairie voice during two hours of alcohol-free tributes. "But I salute you and wish you a happy journey in that land of mystery."

Mr. Thompson's family and friends - including Senator John Kerry, Lyle Lovett, Bill Murray, the musician David Amram, Ed Bradley and locals like Bob Braudis, the sheriff of Pitkin County, Colo. - watched Saturday night as his ashes exploded with fireworks, lingered in great puffs of milky smoke, then vanished.

"When the going gets weird," Mr. Thompson once wrote, "the weird turn pro."

Thus, six months to the day after Mr. Thompson shot himself to death at age 67 at his home here, did his family and friends produce a highly professional show, staged and choreographed by Hollywood and underwritten by his friend the actor Johnny Depp for more than $2 million.

"It's nice to be able to give a little something back," Mr. Depp, who played Mr. Thompson in the film version of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," told the crowd as the ceremony began solemnly about 6:30 Saturday night. "Hunter, this is for you."


Ashes-to-Fireworks Send-Off for an 'Outlaw' Writer
NYTimes, August 22, 2005

Posted at 11:46 AM in Current Affairs, Humor | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro:


The comments to this entry are closed.