Bushwick Book Club Seattle Sets Hunter S. Thompson to Music

An unusual book club creates songs of fear and loathing for the concert hall.

By Laura Dannen December 9, 2011

Illustration: Carty Sewill

Originally published December 2011. "There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge,” Hunter S. Thompson warns in the opening pages of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as he freewheels across the Nevada desert in a red Chevy convertible with a trunk full of drugs and booze. (“Two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine…”)

But what would Thompson’s mescaline-fueled misadventures sound like if they were a symphony? It’s the latest challenge set by Seattle’s Bushwick Book Club, a rotating cast of singer-songwriters that performs original music inspired by a monthly reading assignment. Bushwick launched in October 2010 with a Slaughterhouse-Five session at the Can Can cabaret (and about 50 friends in the audience). Since then, they’ve tackled S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, Frank Miller’s graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, even Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Tonight, they’ll hold their biggest show yet, as the 60-piece Seattle Rock Orchestra joins them for a little Fear and Loathing at Town Hall.

Read more about the Bushwick Book Club in our December feature.

The Bushwick Book Club Seattle and Seattle Rock Orchestra Present: Original Music Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, Dec 9 at 8pm at Town Hall. Tickets are $13–$15.

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