The Doctor is In

HST Last night I spent a memorable evening at The Half King, convened to honor Hunter S. Thompson, who needs no introduction. (Well, if we must…) My friend Corey Seymour was on hand to read from GONZO: THE LIFE OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON (Little, Brown),  his definitive oral history of the late, great hellraiser. Scores of Wenner Media alumni were on hand (present company included), crammed tightly into the Half King’s low-lit back room. Seymour, joined on stage by various former associates on the Hunter beat — otherwise known as Rolling Stone Magazine’s National Affairs Desk — recounted some highlights of his job as Thompson’s official minder at the magazine, each more unhinged, extralegal, and hilarious than the last. Like the time Thompson commanded Seymour to hold a lit hash pipe to the author’s lips as he careened through New York City traffic at 100 mph, brimming pint glass of Chivas in one hand hand, lit cigarette in the other, two fingers on the wheel, screaming for the missing radar detector. The 496-page book offers misadventures aplenty, but, more importantly, fills in contours of the writer’s sometimes cartoonish public persona. Through the voices of his closest friends, family, and confidants, GONZO uncovers the forces behind Thompson’s considerable ambition, rages, failings, scruples, mannerisms, generosity, suicidal depression, and, of course, legendary bad-behavior. Seymour conducted 150 interviews with the likes of Thompson’s two widows and son Juan, Johnny DeppJack Nicholson, Hell’s Angels leader Sonny Barger, and Thompson’s longtime collaborator, Ralph Steadman, and scores of others who knew Thompson through the many seasons of his life; a fuller man emerges. Pick up the book, and also consider attending the next reading, at Barnes+Noble Union Square, on Dec. 6th, which is to feature Seymour, Wenner, and Tom Wolfe, too. Res Ipsa Loquitur…


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