The Ghosts of Virginia and Hunter S. Thompson roam the city library’s aisles

Gonzo Fest is THIS WEEKEND.

I am excited to be in a literary panel, along with Bill McKeen, Ron Whitehead, Juan Thompson, and Rory Feehan –  moderated  by Michael Lindenberger, a journalist on the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News. It will take place in the Louisville library Saturday the 15th at 4:30.

Below – anticipating that event –  is an excerpt of an article by Ron Whitehead in Leo Weekly:

Fiction is a bridge to the truth that journalism can’t reach. Facts are lies when they’re added up, and the only kind of journalism I can pay much attention to is something like ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ [George Orwell] … But in order to write that kind of punch-out stuff you have to add up the facts in your own fuzzy way, and to hell with the hired swine who use adding machines.”—Hunter S. Thompson to Knopf Editor Angus Cameron.

Hunter’s ghost has been stirring lately. My old friend growls: “Do me a favor, Ron, and visit my mother Virginia. Those rat bastards are still knocking on her door acting like they’re friends of mine, wanting the goods on me, sniffing for scandal, any scrap of insider info. From what I read I don’t like any of the sons of bitches. You always did watch out for her. Go see her, buddy.”

Now I stop by her grave with a bottle of bourbon and visit, but it’s not ‘til I’m roaming the stacks of the downtown branch of the Louisville Free Public Library a week before GonzoFest 2017 that I see her. There she is, a glowing presence sitting proud in the brightly lit aisles. Virginia’s sweet southern excited voice cracks and her smile puts spring to shame for sparkle. “You’re back after all these years! Thank you for bringing the bottle. I promise not to talk about Hunter today.”

Just the same as when she was alive, midway through her second drink, Virginia Thompson starts talking non-stop about Hunter.

Two hours later, she raises her eyebrows and says, “So what’s this about GonzoFest at the library this year?”

“Well Virginia, after years and years of working to get your famous son honored in Louisville it’s finally happening. Seven years ago my friend Dennie Humphrey and I founded Gonzofest Louisville. Mayor Greg Fischer is a big supporter. And this year, we’ve got a new home. Yep. Our new visionary Library Director Jim Blanton has joined forces with us and we’re having Gonzofest at the library, where you were Librarian! How bout that?! We’ll have a big stage outside on the street where bands and spoken word artists will perform and speeches honoring Hunter will be presented by the mayor and others. And inside your grandson Juan and I will have readings and signings from our new books. Yes your grandson Juan has written a brilliant book about his dad. There will be literary panels discussing Hunter’s works and their impact on literature and culture. Margaret Ann Harrell’s coming up; I know Hunter told you all about her when she was copy-editing Hell’s Angels. And there will be young poets and writers and artists performing and exhibiting their works. And I hear that Jim Blanton has some big announcements to make regarding you and Hunter and the library.”

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