Media circus not part of Thompson funeral plan | AspenTimes.com

Media circus not part of Thompson funeral plan

Janet Urquhart

Media interest in Hunter S. Thompson’s memorial service next weekend is coming from around the globe, but organizers are adamant that the invitation-only observance for the late Woody Creek journalist/author not turn into a media circus.Press credentials aren’t just hard to come by, they’re not being issued.”We’re searching for ways to provide the media and the public with information about the event in a tasteful way,” said Matt Moseley, spokesman for Thompson’s family. “I can tell you, from the media, the interest is way high.”Everyone from The New York Times to Reuters and CNN have inquired about covering the event, he said.”We’re going to find a way to give the papers what they need,” Moseley said.Out of deference to the wishes of Thompson’s family, however, general media access won’t be allowed. Writers and journalists who are on the guest list for the funeral have been asked to refrain from writing about the event.”This is a funeral, first and foremost,” Moseley said.It will, however, be something of a spectacle, by funeral standards, with Thompson’s ashes to be fired from a 153-foot cannon that has been erected in the field behind hishome at Owl Farm, in accordance with his wishes.Atop the cannon, cloaked to conceal it from prying eyes, is Thompson’s emblem – a double-thumbed fist clenched around a peyote button.”I think Depp wanted the object shrouded in secrecy – that’s why it’s not naked for the world to see,” said Woody Creek neighbor Michael Cleverly, referring to actor Johnny Depp, who has reportedly financed its construction. Depp was a close friend of Thompson’s and portrayed the late writer in the film version of Thompson’s seminal book, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”It’s likely Thompson’s son, Juan, who most wants the service to remain a private affair, Cleverly said.”My sense is it’s as much Juan’s wishes as anyone’s,” he said. “He sat on my couch and said, ‘Geez, Michael, it’s a funeral.’ “I certainly do understand. It is his right and it’s perfectly understandable,” Cleverly said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com