March 7 2005, 11:44 AM
The place to be Saturday was the Hotel Jerome in Aspen....if you either (a) were a very close friend of Hunter Thompson's, or (b) wanted a glimpse of Johnny Depp, Sean Penn or Jack Nicholson, all of whom attended.
Inside, the ballroom was decorated with a giant American flag and an almost-life-size black-and-white photo cutout of Thompson standing in front of it. Outside the ballroom were dozens of photos of Thompson. Colored banners with the word "gonzo" forming the handle of a sword topped with a fist hung from the walls. A television played the film "Breakfast with Hunter."Only 150 or so were invited to attend the memorial, but afterwards, three Aspen restaurants held private memorial gatherings. Death is different, even in Aspen. Locals tried to give the family and friends the space and privacy they deserved. And as one friend of Hunter's remarked:
"It only happens when you die that all your friends come," said artist and longtime friend Michael Cleverly, who lives a short walk down the road from the Thompson compound. "He could have won the (expletive) Nobel Prize, and only half the people would come."