Skip

R.I. P. Mr. Butch
July 13, 2007 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Mr. Butch, The King of Kenmore Square, was killed in a scooter accident yesterday. An excellent film portrait of the man and icon can be found here. His rich and well-lived life was the embodiement of the only recipe for anarchy I ever saw that worked: Total Freedom + Total Heart.
posted by extrabox (28 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Street icon 'Mr. Butch' dies at 56.
posted by ericb at 10:15 PM on July 13, 2007


I remember Mr. Butch, just as I do the fellow seeking funds for "Wheelchair Basketball" in Harvard Square.
posted by ericb at 10:25 PM on July 13, 2007


.
posted by psmealey at 11:12 PM on July 13, 2007


Hey, I remember that guy! He'd always be carrying that old guitar of his, wandering past the corner of Harvard and Commonwealth Avenue, as I'd hop on the green line to go to work at the O'Neill library at BC.

Wow. Awesome man. I miss him.
posted by koeselitz at 11:22 PM on July 13, 2007


...and, when I saw him at least, he always had on an interesting zippered jumpsuit that I envied. I remember eying him, thinking to myself that he looked like an intense and interesting dude, with that guitar and that jumpsuit.

I was in the presence of royalty. I think I had an inkling at the time. It's sad that he's died, but it's awesome to know that everybody else felt that way about him, too.

posted by koeselitz at 11:25 PM on July 13, 2007


I once had a very long conversation with him outside the Rat as my band was loading in. He had some interesting views on politics. A true character. He was unforgettable.
posted by psmealey at 11:30 PM on July 13, 2007


how unfortunate
posted by longsleeves at 12:29 AM on July 14, 2007


Oh, The Rathskellar? What an iconic bar... also now deceased.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:41 AM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you ever met the man and spoke to him for about thirty seconds you might understand why it was a bad idea letting him purchase a Vespa...My favorite Mr. Butch memories:

Two years ago, living in lower Allston, I was awoken at eight o'clock on a Saturday morning by Mr. Butch passionately playing penny-whistle outside of my house. I think I watched him play for about twenty minutes while gingerly skipping up and down the street. It was one of the strangest things I'd ever seen.

My girlfriend told me he followed her home once from the T rhapsodizing about her height for ten minutes to passers-by: "Dat's a tall girl, walking there / tall girl, tall girl / hey tall girl going somewhere / tall girl, tall girl with dark hair..."

R.I.P Mr. Butch.
posted by inoculatedcities at 2:12 AM on July 14, 2007


I'm not sure it's the same guy but I believe that meeting Mr. Butch in the late 70's was the first signal I noticed that indicated homelessness was becoming a problem.
posted by rdr at 2:24 AM on July 14, 2007


.

I remember him. I used to think it was kinda cool that a guy like that could live on the streets just hangin' out. Now I think he was mentally ill and probably addicted to this or that. Too bad he never got treatment.
posted by MarshallPoe at 4:31 AM on July 14, 2007


MarshallPoe writes 'I remember him. I used to think it was kinda cool that a guy like that could live on the streets just hangin" out. Now I think he was mentally ill and probably addicted to this or that. Too bad he never got treatment.'

Mental illness and addiction: anarchy that works -- for the government!.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:01 AM on July 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


The original article I saw was vague about the scooter accident. Now I see that Mr. Butch was on a scooter.

For those who didn't know Mr. Butch, he was drunk constantly. He was a dedicated alcoholic who started early in the day like it was his job. I used to work in Allston and on two occasions I saw Mr. Butch drinking Budweiser tallboys at 7:30 AM. So someone not stepping in to stop him from getting a motor vehicle was a little short-sighted., especially since he probably didn't have a license or register the scooter.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:57 AM on July 14, 2007


.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 7:09 AM on July 14, 2007


My only interaction with him was one night back in '97 when I was working the door at Who's. He tried to get in one night and was absolutely plastered. Tall, skinny, dreadlocked and unable to speak. I sent him on his way. Later, someone told me that he was Mr. Butch, mayor of Kenmore Sq. I didn't give a rats ass. Now that I think about it, I would rather have him hanging around my neighborhood than the rest of them.

What was he doing with a scooter?
posted by jsavimbi at 8:26 AM on July 14, 2007


.
posted by amberglow at 10:43 AM on July 14, 2007


Wow, what an interesting story. Thank you for posting!

You're really doing yourself a disservice if you don't watch the documentary from 2002 "Searching for Mister Butch". There are some truly touching moments as well as some hilarious ones.

There a couple of moments where the filmaker actually scored Butch's extemperaneous singing and it works much better than you'd think it would.

The movie is available at this link:

http://www.postwar.nl/butch searching_for_mr_butch_640.mov
posted by ericthegardener at 10:56 AM on July 14, 2007


Kenmore Square has been gone for a while. I'm sorry you had to go too, Mr. Butch.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:26 AM on July 14, 2007


:-( I actually knew the man too. He was way cool.

.
posted by WaterSprite at 11:43 AM on July 14, 2007


For those who didn't know Mr. Butch, he was drunk constantly. He was a dedicated alcoholic who started early in the day like it was his job. I used to work in Allston and on two occasions I saw Mr. Butch drinking Budweiser tallboys at 7:30 AM.

His rich and well-lived life was the embodiement of the only recipe for anarchy I ever saw that worked: Total Freedom + Total Heart.

Total Freedom. Total Heart. AND lots of tallboys.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:24 PM on July 14, 2007


.
posted by sswiller at 1:12 PM on July 14, 2007


I always looked for the Amazing Mr. Butch when riding through Allston. If I didn't see him it didn't feel right.

.
posted by Constant Reader at 1:13 PM on July 14, 2007


He demonstrated a credible counter-balance for what I once considered the definition of success and well-being.
posted by sswiller at 1:16 PM on July 14, 2007


I was a frequent contributor to the United Negro Inebriation Fund.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2007


I remember seeing him occasionally in the late 1990s. Never really knew anything about him, though it's cool to learn that he was a local icon.

.
posted by dhammond at 4:23 PM on July 14, 2007


I remember him. Especially one afternoon. He had somehow obtained an autoharp and wired it up with one of those little Crate battery-powered amps for street musicians. The thing was overloaded at like 200% as Mr. Butch gave the intersection of Comm and Harvard a taste of Appalachian Folk meets John Zorn chaos noise.
posted by sol at 11:51 PM on July 14, 2007


"So someone not stepping in to stop him from getting a motor vehicle was a little short-sighted., especially since he probably didn't have a license or register the scooter."

That doesn't seem to be very compatible with the hipness of anarchy.

Somebody should have gotten him a gun and a white tiger on a diamond studded leash.
posted by Sukiari at 11:00 AM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I loved Mr. Butch. He was beyond awesome. There was just something about him. I used to hear faint strains of his pennywhistle outside my window on summer days...

:(
posted by mintchip at 8:35 PM on July 17, 2007


« Older Orson Welles: The One Man Band   |   Cat Scan 2007 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post