Zambelli Internationale got the nod to custom-design the Gonzoworks, which will be shot out of a 157-foot-tall cannon on Saturday in Aspen. Johnny Depp is reportedly footing the $2 million bill.
Right now, a caravan of friends is with Anita Thompson as she follows the truck with the shells -- a 1,600 mile journey.
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The launching tower weighs 2 1/2 tons, topped with Thompson's signature gonzo fist emblem -- a double-thumbed fist clenched around a dagger with a peyote button in the middle. A peyote button is the crown of cactus containing the psychedelic drug mescaline.
About 350 friends and family will attend the ceremony. Mosely said Depp is involved because the actor and Thompson became close after Depp portrayed the writer in the "Fear and Loathing" movie.
Zambelli project coordinator Matt Wood, who designed the Thompson tribute, said the show strikes a delicate balance.
"We're working very closely with the family and want to keep some things private," said Wood, who is leaving today for Aspen for three dress rehearsals. "It is a funeral."