Well, it seems like every time I sit down to write something longer than a poem for you folks, I’m writing about me at the Carnegie Center here in Lexington. I’m not a broken record, I promise. The things that are wrong with me are far worse than a scratched vinyl, but I won’t get into that here. But it’s all ok. As long as cool shit keeps happening when I walk through the doors of that place, I’ll keep going there. And if I keep going there, I’m going to keep writing about it.
Last time was of course the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame induction for Hunter. It was crowded, hot, and there was free wine. This time, when I opened the door there wasn’t a rank wave of body heat to smack me in the face as I stepped in. There was actually a pleasant calmness about the place. The only people I saw as I turned the corner were a couple of the nice ladies who work there and Mr. Ron Whitehead himself. We shook hands and I apologized for walking through the doors not one minute before our scheduled appointment. Ron didn’t seem to mind. I was introduced to the workers and showed where Ron and I could set up.
I started to get a little nervous. This was happening….now. I’d planned for it, written shit down to say and do, thought about what not to (so at least it looked like I knew what I was doing). The truth is, I didn’t. Here I am, a guy that usually does the majority of my publicly viewed work from the safety of my desk at home and never have to actually say a word, but this time it’s different. Now I’m setting up cameras, determining where the best lighting is, doing sound checks, checking for renegade boogers in the bathroom mirror. You know, all of the important stuff people do before recorded interviews. I really didn’t want to mess anything up. This man just drove from Louisville to sit and talk with me for a bit, I didn’t want his efforts to go to waste.
When I finally got everything situated as I thought it should be, I got out my sheet of questions and was ready to begin. I had them all laid out, actually typed them up on my typewriter before I left that morning, was going to go down the line and ask one after the other. I’d figured that if I started out with GonzoFest 2015 I could ease my way into the other questions I had about days of GonzoFest past and future.
We introduced ourselves to the cameras (which I forgot to do at first and edited out later) and away we went. Quickly, my nervousness from before was gone. I soon realized that listening to Ron talk was very comfortable. He’s a very personable guy who, when he gets started, is never at a loss for words concerning topics that he’s passionate about. That I was grateful for. Ron started talking about the first time we met at the Carnegie Center, then about Hunter, then about Gonzofest, then Ralph Steadman, the bronze statue of Hunter to be built, then about Hunter and Johnny Depp calling him in the wee hours of the morning. It was incredible. It was as if Ron had called me the night before and asked me what questions I had prepared for him. All I had to do was sit back and let this man do his thing.
There was one question that I had left in the chamber, though. I asked him what he thought Hunter would say about the recognition he’s finally receiving from his home state of Kentucky. His answer, “About damn time!.”
I think we can all agree with that.
Photographs by Jinn; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-