May 11, 2006

Hunter S. Thompson night in Denver May 23rd

Hi.  I’m back home.  The annual Derby Party was great.


A quick note to let you know that David Amram and I will be in Denver on the evening of May 23rd  for a tribute to Hunter. 

We did something like this at the Bradstock XII in September.  It is an annual music festival that was dedicated to Hunter.  So, this will be something similar.  Reading Hunter’s work while David plays.  It’s fun.

Here is David’s bio for those of you unfamiliar with his work:

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written
many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films Splendor
in The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; two operas, including the ground-breaking
Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient; and the score for the landmark 1959 documentary Pull
My Daisy, narrated by novelist Jack Kerouac. He is also the author of two books, Vibrations,
an autobiography, and Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac, a memoir.

A pioneer player of jazz French horn, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and
whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as an
inventive, funny improvisational lyricist. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, who
chose him as The New York Philharmonic’s first composer-in-residence in 1966, Langston
Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan,
Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, E. G. Marshall, and Tito Puente

Amram’s most recent work, Giants of the Night is a flute concerto dedicated to the memory Charlie
Parker, Jack Kerouac and Dizzy Gillespie, three American artists Amram knew and worked
with. It was commissioned and recently premiered by Sir James Galway, who also plans to
record it. He is currently completing his third book Nine Lives of a Musical Cat.

Today, as he has for over fifty years, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the
world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages. He
is also working with author Frank McCourt on a new setting of the Mass, Missa Manhattan, as
well as on a symphony commissioned by the Guthrie Foundation, Symphonic Variations on a
Song by Woody Guthrie.

When not on tour, Amram and his son live on their family farm in upstate New York.

This is Amram’s third visit to the University of Denver as a Leo Block Visiting Distinguished
Professor and his first visit as a Marsico Visiting Scholar. He is also celebrated at the
University of Denver by a group of students, professors and parents called The David Amram
Collective, an organization dedicated to merging the arts and the academy, as well as The
David Amram Liberal Arts Tree planted in the University’s Arboretum. His work at the
University of Denver this spring will include co-teaching a thematic core course with Dr. Audrey
Sprenger (Names We Call America, Digging the Roots of Cool); giving a series of lectures with
live music for students and professors of English, Anthropology, Judiac Studies, Art, Art
History, Sociology, French Studies, Biology, Urban Studies and the Lamont School of Music;
offering a seminar on the work of novelist Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady with Dr. Audrey
Sprenger and Visiting Guest Lecturer Dr. Ed Adler; hosting a Tribute to Poet Lawrence
Ferlinghetti with Dr. Audrey Sprenger and Visiting Guest Lecturer Chris Felver; screening his
Opera of the Holocaust, The Final Ingredient, originally telecast by ABC Network Television;
and performing in and around the city of Denver.

Details of Amram’s activities around campus for the month of April will be available on April
15 and for the month of May, April 27. Please contact Dr. Audrey Sprenger at if you have any questions. 



May 07, 2006

I wrote this en route last night.

Hi again,

I’m en route from New York to Denver.  In last night’s note I said that Hunter was the only person in two places on the cover of the 1000th issue.  But I was wrong.  The other person pictured twice is John Lennon.

Also, I didn’t realize that Ralph Steadman also wrote for that issue!  I haven’t spoken with Ralph in over two weeks.  He writes about the “Birth of Dr. Gonzo.”  The fourth anniversary issue (Nov 11, 1971) was the first installment of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”  He writes that “Hunter Thompson has been the bane and the blessing of my life.  He didn’t give a shit whether I slaved all night or worried all day.  But he did appreciate the drawings when they were there….Hunter didn’t want a photographer.  He wanted somebody who would become part of the story.   Hunter loved having somebody like me along. He could play with me and take me to the edge and watch what I did, but pull me back before I fell over.”

What he says about that cover is this:

“The idea of the cover was a motorbike flying over the journalists in a bar.  There was also a landscape, a bit of sky.  But the rider was completely attached to his motorbike, almost swallowed up by his gearbox.  The second cover, for Part Two of “Fear and Loathing,” the magazine chose the picture of the 250 pound Texan necking with his wife in the back row.  After those two issues, Rolling Stone had a blueprint of where to go next:  It wasn’t only rock & roll, but something different, something social and political…”

Okay, checking in en route, Anita Thompson 



May 05, 2006

New York, New York

Hi there.
I just got back to the hotel from a party for the 1000th issue of Rolling Stone. It was a grand ordeal.  Jann Wenner was in fine form.  It is quite an accomplishment: 1000 issues. I know the work it takes to put out even a small magazine, so bravo Rolling Stone.
Hunter, of course is on the cover.  He is the only person on the cover in two places.  Once, as the spirit in the sky, and then the huge blue gonzo symbol in the back, on which Jack Nicholson is perched.  It’s a wild cover, with artistic, cultural and political icons spanning from 1967 to 2006.  Inside, Doug Brinkley writes about the cover photo of the March 24th, 2005 issue: “Hunter’s quixotic 1970 campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado….  There’s something evocative and haunting in the way Hunter’s smoke envelopes him, swirling around his eyes like ethereal wisps of bordello opium.  Mostly, I think the photo shows the man behind the image: the thoughtful, serious artist who was already, even in those early Gonzo days, living on the edge…”  
Doug’s piece goes on about Hunter’s love for Bob Dylan’s music with a story about Bob’s harmonica and Hunter’s red IBM Selectric II typewriter, and how I sent it to Dylan after Hunter died, knowing that that was what Hunter wanted. 
Then, the piece ends listing some of the projects that are in the works (of which I’ve mentioned to you last week I think).  Also noting: “And practically anybody who ever downed whiskey with Hunter has a memoir in the works.  Lost in all the mania over Gonzo Hunter, however, is the more poetic, brooding, contemplative Thompson – the one on this final Rolling Stone cover, the man who read Revelations weekly, memorized Coleridge and listened regularly to “Mr. Tambourine Man” as if it were a gift from heaven.”
I re-read this issue in the car on my way home from the party.  I walked up to my hotel room, sat down on the bed and had a good cry.  Not so much out of sadness but because I see that he is so very much alive in this legacy he left behind.  And something else is happening Mr. Jones. More and more new people are being introduced to his work.  People who hadn’t read anything of his while he was alive, are being introduced…. then seduced…. then activated.  I guess the same thing probably happened to you when you first read his work. 
Anyway, thank you so much for your letters.  I was completely overwhelmed after having put up the incoming mailbox on the blog.  But, I will be going through more of them when I get back to Woody Creek tomorrow.
So,  I regret to say that I can’t hold the impromptu HST reading here in New York like I hoped because the covers of the Woody Creeker 2nd issue were delayed, so, I have to be there to get the mag together this weekend.(I’ll plan ahead next time)   But, you can certainly hold your own impromptu reading.  Call over a few friends for the Derby. I would suggest to you to reread “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.”  We all know that’s a humdinger! Tell me what you think after rereading it.  And don’t be shy about drinking a mint julep or two.  He drank it only one day a year, and he liked his with fresh mint perched on the side. 
Sweet dreams! 
Anita Thompson
New York.
May 4th, 11:45pm

April 30, 2006

checking in from Woody Creek

Hi Guys, I ended up canceling my trip to New Orleans because I got some sort of flu. If I am feeling better by Tuesday, I’ll go to New York for the 1000th Rolling Stone party on Thursday. Doug Brinkley wrote an article for this 1000th issue (coming out May 4th) about the cover of the Hunter S. Thompson Memorial issue. It was one of the highest selling Rolling Stone ever, which doesn’t surprise me. Check out that issue to hear what Doug has to say about it, as it’s quite beautiful. In New York, maybe we should have an impromptu Hunter S. Thompson Reading. If any of you have any suggestions, let me know. I am setting up an incoming box here on the blog. If it’s not up tonight, it should be up in the morning. Doug did have a successful visit with Alex Gibney and his crew at the Archive vault. They are highly professional and take their jobs seriously, as I’m sure you’re happy to hear. So, their project is underway. More on that later. Tom Thurman is wrapping up "Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride" documentary on Hunter as well. I also sent him some great footage of Hunter that I’m sure you will love. I will be going to L.A. in July to help with the film. Yes, we should do a Hunter S. Thompson reading in L.A. too. Okay, Goodnight! Anita Thompson, Woody Creek

April 28, 2006

Isn’t it great, the feeling…

Isn’t it great, the feeling of falling in love?  It starts out as butterflies in your stomach and periodic giggles and constant smiles.  If you’re lucky, it grows and it gives you a sense of excitement, peace and happiness to have it in your life.  Well, I’m falling in love with the Woody Creeker.  That’s what I’ve been focusing on for the last few weeks.  There are updates on the movies coming out about Hunter.  I’ll tell you what I know this weekend.  Here is the editor’s note for the second issue.  People seemed to like the fact that I posted the first one, so maybe we’ll make it a tradition.

Talk soon, love, Anita.

 You can imagine my pleasure in presenting you the second issue of the Woody Creeker.  You were probably as thrilled as I was to see the cover art by none other than our friend and ally Ralph Steadman.  I’m honored to offer all sorts of unusual and stimulating art to you on the cover, the centerfold, and throughout the entire magazine.

 You may have noticed that it is 12 pages longer than the first issue!  In the beginning, my intention was to keep it a 32 page magazine, but I see that is going to be impossible, at least for now, because of the large volume of great  material that was submitted to us over the last two months.  I made some painful cuts for the sake of avoiding a gigantic tome.

 I hope you will laugh, learn something, and be inspired by the material in this issue, as I am.  Ed Bradley’s interview, for example, inspired me to resurrect the elusive Woody Creek Rod & Gun Club.  Decades ago, Paul Pascarella designed the stationery on which this editor’s note is printed.

 The introduction is by my neighbor, County Commissioner Michael Owsley, who turns the concept of fishing on is head, as is the case oh, so often in Woody Creek. Gaylord Guenin takes us on his flight of fancy, and Dwight Shellman demystifies the process of getting our elected officials to reaffirm their duty to uphold the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution, and tells how other communities can do the same. Yale lawyer and neighbor John VanNess, in his column, points out with a smile some of the misdemeanors and felonies that you probably are committing at this very moment, as you read this page.         

 Proud Uncle Jimmy Ibbotson talks music,  while Janet Schoberlein talks gardening, and Alice Cotton talks Michael Franti and the Black Crowes in the spirit of Gonzo. 

 In her witty style,  Peg O’Brien, our local physical therapist,and well known alternative medicine practitioner,  helps you heal your cracked skin.  And from now on, you will know the anatomy of a crack! You will love George Stranahan’s photo and story ŇAmor en el Aire.Ó  I am happy to introduce the first installment of his daughter Molly’s memoir about the charmed and rugged time she had growing up in Woody Creek almost half a century ago.

 In a different kind of historical thread, Eric Shoaf, a chief administrator at the library of Brown University,  has been collecting Hunter’s early work for more than 25 years and has been compiling a comprehensive bibliography from his findings.  He has kindly agreed to take us along on his journey, now and in the future, as he finds more gems to add to the collection.

 We all know longtime Woody Creeker Andy Hall.  In the Conversations in the Kitchen portion of this issue are the excerpts from my interview with Andy, who is an important part of our Woody Creek character.

 And character, yes, this brings me to maybe my favorite part of this issue, which I would like to dedicate to Bill Cardoso.  Call me biased, but I must point out these two pages (26 & 27) together: Linda Luke’s rules for a full moon, and my husband’s rules for driving fast.  Read the two together, and you will get a very real glimpse into what I call the Woody Creek Life.

 Until next time,

 Your friend in Woody Creek,

 Anita Thompson

Owl Farm, April 28, 2006




April 24, 2006



      This is Anita Thompson writing to you from Owl Farm.  It’s April 23rd, 2006.  Outside, it’s 58 degrees and it’s been storming all afternoon.  Inside, it has been a bit stormy but in a more productive sort of way.  You’ll be happy to know that I’m wrapping up the second edition of the Woody Creeker. It’s great.  We have a fantastic Ralph Steadman painting on the cover and loads of Woody Creek articles on the inside, including an interview with Ed Bradley. I also included an informative and dangerous piece by Hunter that he wrote one night after dinner in 2002 about Speedism, titled “Rules for Driving Fast.”

      I’m a week behind on the magazine, and almost a month behind on the launch of this blog.  Please accept my apologies for the delay!

      But you will be happy to know that I have good news to report re: the projects  designed to make more of Hunter’s life and work available to you.  Today, I’ll just give you an overview of the sort of thing I’ll be posting in this blog.

       I will be posting on a regular basis.  It will be for those of you who know Hunter’s work inside and out and have been tracking his every move, including the progress of his career and legacy before and after his death.   But I’ll also be writing for those of you who only have a vague notion of Hunter S. Thompson, and want to know more.  I’m still learning more about him every day.

      It is important for you to feel you have a connection to Owl Farm and I will keep you updated on projects that the rest of the Gonzo Family and I are working on, or even thinking about for that matter.  I may even ask you for help at times.  One rule at Owl Farm is that we all pitch in around here.  So, while you’re logged on to, consider yourself sitting here in the kitchen with me, as I take us through its history and help it along in it’s future.  It’s up to us. 

      Its been an emotional weekend because tomorrow is Hunter and my wedding anniversary, although I am much stronger this year than I was last year, since Hunter is not here on this day, I decided to focus on those who love him, such as you.

      In addition to wrapping up the Woody Creeker, I’ve been watching some of the home videos I started filming here and on our travels since 2000, when I moved in to Owl Farm.  I’ve been going through these films and selecting the ones that I think Hunter would like me to share in the future.  Some parts will be released in a couple documentary films coming out about Hunter in the next year or so.  One is by Starz! directed by Tom Thurman, which should be out in November.  The other is  being done by Alex Gibney, who is best known for his movie about Enron, “The Smartest Guys in the Room.”   Although they are both in the works, from what I’ve seen so far, you will love them!  Wayne Ewing has released “When I Die: The Making of the Gonzo Memorial.” 

      Ralph Steadman has just finished his book about their historic friendship.  I can’t wait to tell you more about Ralph and how great he has been, and what he has done for me and the Gonzo Family since Hunter died.

      I’ll be in New York the first week of May to do some more interviews for one of the books I’m writing.  The first one is an extended essay on the life of Gonzo Journalism.  It will be a small book for Fulcrum Press to come out in the fall.  I am learning a lot already and can’t wait to share it with you. 

      While in New York, I’ll be staying with Stacey and Terry McDonell of Sports Illustrated who will be giving me some insight.  I’ll also be checking in with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone and I’ll give you the progress report on how his book edited by Corey Seymour is going.  I want to thank Corey for suggesting that I do this blog in the first place!

      There are others, such as the Sheriff’s book about Hunter, Warren Hinckle’s book, Hunter’s son Juan and his possible book, and there is a photo book in the works too.  I’ll give you the inside scoop.

      I will keep you updated on the anatomy of the Wisdom Book (the quotes and aphorisms from Hunter’s writing and my own notebooks that I consider wisdom.)  For example, I just sent off part of the manuscript to one of Hunter’s editors, Shelby Sadler, who is editing Polo is my Life.  She has also graciously offered to proofread these blog postings! 

      Doug Brinkley is Hunter’s literary executor and biographer. I will let you know what his progress is on the third Letters book, the status of the archive, and other official works that Doug is in charge of.  I’ll be in New Orleans with Doug at the end of the week and maybe check in with you while I’m there.  I believe that Hunter in many ways inspired Doug’s newest book called The Great Deluge, which exposes the horrors political and natural of Hurricane Katrina, will be released May 8th.    

      George Tobia of Boston is the trustee, among other things mostly in charge of “the deals.”   He is the man, for example, who put together the Rum Diary movie deal with Johnny Depp and Josh Hartnett.  Not only was George Hunter’s business lawyer, he was also Hunter’s late night Jack’s Joke Shop rep.  More on that later.

      Hal Haddon of Denver is the third trustee.  He is what I call the magic counselor.  He doesn’t appear very often, but when he does, we all listen.  He also has a long history keeping Hunter safe from crooked cops in the courts.  Remember the famous Sex and Drugs and Guns case in 1991?  It was Hal who proved Hunter’s innocence, despite the odds and therefore kept Hunter out of prison.  And now, he keeps us safe from the many vultures that try to descend on the Hunter Thompson Estate. And there are vultures! Don’t worry, I will let you know who some of the villains are.

      But, it won’t be hard to keep it positive.  For example, there is a lot going on this summer at Owl Farm itself.  At the beginning of June, I will have the entire NORML (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws) legal conference here for an afternoon as a form of gratitude for these lawyers being on the front lines of the criminal justice system which Hunter understood so well.  I’ll also let you know when the first seminars will be held, whether the first ones will be political seminars, writing seminars, maybe even shooting seminars.  I’ll be posting as often as possible.   Yes, you’ll hear about the progress of Lisl Auman, and the Hunter S. Thompson Foundation, as it develops.

      The point of all this is to let you know that Owl Farm is alive with Hunter’s spirit and will stay that way.  There would be no Owl Farm if it weren’t for you,  Hunter’s readers. 

Lots of love to you, 

Anita Thompson

Owl Farm

April 23rd, 2006