Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Absolute End of the Sixties Counterculture

As reported in the New York Observer, Jann Wenner, head of Wenner Media, is considering opening a Rolling Stone Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Rolling Stone, for those too high or too young to remember, published Hunter S. Thompson's seminal piece of Gonzo journalism, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Good thing Thompson's remains were shot out of a cannon, or else he'd be spinning in his grave like a...roulette wheel.

And speaking of Thompson--whose works , as I recently discovered, are unaccountably shelved under "Sociology" at Denver's Tattered Cover--how many memoirs can we read about him? (And how the hell many "close friends" can such an ornery iconoclast have had, anyway?) In addition to the reminscences in the tribute issue of Rolling Stone, whose stellar quality underlined how far the magazine has fallen since its glory days, we have:
  1. GONZO: HUNTER THOMPSON, AN ORAL HISTORY by Corey Seymour (Wenner Books, April '06). Evidently the "official" Rolling Stone biography; Seymour was one of the prime movers of the tribute issue. Per Amazon: "Legions of friends, co-conspirators, neighbors, editors, and drinking buddies tell the story -- as only now it can be told -- of the late, legendary writer’s greatest creation: his own mythic life."
  2. WHO KILLED HUNTER THOMPSON by Warren Hinckle (Last Gasp, June '06). Again per Amazon: "A look at the life of Hunter through the eyes of his close friends and peers."
  3. THE KITCHEN READINGS: HUNTER THOMPSON IN WOODY CREEK. Per a book deal reported by Publishers Marketplace in Dec '05, written by "Hunter Thompson's two closest friends," Sheriff Bob Braudis and Michael Cleverly, "a gathering of tales from over a 30-year period emanating from the kitchen at Thompson's Owl Farm compound," to be published by Harper Entertainment, date unspecified.
  4. AMERICAN DREAMER: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF HUNTER THOMPSON. Per Publishers Marketplace in March '05: "Journalism professor and author William McKeen's part tribute, part literary analysis, part oral history, part biography from someone who has been a Thompson acquaintance, watcher and 'scholar' for 35 years." To be published by Norton, date unspecified.

My money's on the Seymour book because it'll be the first one out of the gate, plus have the Wenner marketing and publicity clout behind it. But the book I'm really waiting for--and not just because I hope it has pictures--is Fear & Loathing illustrator Ralph Steadman's memoir of his 30-year working relationship with Thompson. It's coming out in the UK from Heinemann in October. Surely some US publisher will pick it up; in fact, should have already. What gives?

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