Thompson’s ashes to be shot from cannon in August
The Associated Press
DENVER ” Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes will be blasted from a cannon mounted inside a 53-foot-high sculpture of the journalist’s “gonzo fist” emblem, his widow said Tuesday.
The cannon shot, planned sometime in August on the grounds of his Aspen-area home, will fulfill the writer’s long-cherished wish.
“It’s expensive, but worth every penny,” Anita Thompson said. “I’d like to have several explosions. He loved explosions.”
Thompson, 67, shot himself in the head on Feb. 20 after a long and flamboyant career that produced such new journalism classics as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and cast his image as a hard-charging, drug-crazed daredevil.
The cannon shot will be part of a larger public celebration of Thompson’s life. Some details remain to be worked out, including the exact date, what kind of cannon will be used and the specifics of the gonzo fist, Anita Thompson said.
She said the gonzo fist will be mounted on a 100-foot pillar, making the monument 153 feet high. It will resemble Thompson’s personal symbol, a fist on an upthrust forearm, sometimes with “Gonzo” emblazoned across it.
Anita Thompson has said the monument will be a permanent fixture on the writer’s 100-acre property.
She said planning for the fist has been guided by a video of Thompson and longtime illustrator-collaborator Ralph Steadman, recorded in the late 1970s when they visited a Hollywood funeral home and began mapping out the cannon scheme.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the cannon shot would probably not run afoul of agency rules if Thompson’s ashes did not go more than 500 feet in the air, and if it doesn’t take place near an airport.
Meanwhile, Playboy magazine this week is publishing an interview with Thompson based on a series of conversations he had with magazine staffer Tim Mohr in December.
In the interview, Thompson discusses a range of topics from political freedom to the best kind of snow tires to buy but offers no obvious hints of his impending suicide.
“He was really enthusiastic and full of energy,” Mohr told The Associated Press on Monday. Thompson even talked about embarking on a long-term project to expand the Playboy piece into a book, “a guide to life, sort of a handbook,” Mohr said.
The interview appears in the magazine’s May issue, which hits newsstands Friday.
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