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Anita Thompson

As the Hunter S. Thompson banner unveiling and tribute weekend approaches, the guest list gets more and more impressive.

Poet Ron Whitehead, one of the seven who have put this event together, and a friend to Hunter, announced Thursday that Thompson’s widow, Anita Thompson, will attend the banner reveal in Louisville this April and will speak to the thousands expected to attend.

Anita became Hunter’s assistant in 1999. She married Hunter in 2003, and her relationship with the conflicted character is well-documented in various literary and film works.

She still maintains their home at Owl Creek just outside Aspen, CO.

Hunter and Anita Thompson
Hunter and Anita Thompson

Since his death, and after completing her degree at Columbia University in American Studies, she founded The Gonzo Foundation. The Foundation works to promote literature, political activism and journalism all in the name of Hunter S. Thompson, originator of the form of New Journalism that he termed “Gonzo” journalism. The Gonzo Foundation board is a collection of many of Hunter’s friends, including Ralph Steadman, Doug Brinkley, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Anita Thompson and many others.

Whitehead tells Insider Louisville, “The Gonzo Foundation is excited to be an integral part of GonzoFest 2014.” They are hoping that during the U.S. debut of Ralph Steadman’s documentary in Louisville, “For No Good Reason,” the foundation can open a temporary gallery for Steadman’s prints along with a special panel discussion.

Ralph Stedman's rendering of the Great Red Shark
Ralph Stedman’s rendering of the Great Red Shark

According to Whitehead, it’s also “99% confirmed that Anita will be bringing The Red Shark for the giant banner unveiling.” The Great Red Shark is the red Chevrolet Caprice convertible Hunter owned, best known from the film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and driven by Johnny Depp, who played Hunter. There also is a planned reading of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in its entirety.

Anita, who was on the phone with Hunter seconds before he ended his life, has talked extensively about how she was able to forgive him. She understood Hunter in a way perhaps only a few other of his close friends could. Anita is an award-winning writer (“The Gonzo Way”), publisher of The Woody Creeker magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, where she writes about political and social justice.

GonzoFest 2014 will be held April 1-5 throughout downtown Louisville and at the Monkey Wrench in the Highlands, where owner Dennie Humphrey (also one of the seven making this event happen) held the first ever GonzoFest.

Jason Sitzes
Jason Sitzes is a freelance writer/editor living in Austin via Louisville, New Orleans, Knoxville and his home town of Columbus, Ind. He’s published short stories; written for many publications including, locally, LEO; travels around the nation with various writing workshops; and is addicted to college basketball.