Best Charles Bukowski-Like Writer in Kansas City

Charlie Hutto

Charlie Hutto's response to being compared with the late, great Charles Bukowski was this: "I'm just a fuckin' jerk who puts my shit out on e-mail. It's kinda like you're in a bar and you're shootin' the shit with someone, then later you remember what you should have said. You think that (what he said) is absurd and then I fire up the fuckin' unit." Since 1997 -- when Hutto bought a Web TV unit -- he's been laying out his life and its lessons to a growing list of e-mail recipients who gravitate to people who are real unto themselves, as is Hutto, as was Bukowski. Unconcerned with what people thought of him, Buk would write about women and drink and dope and the drudgery of working for idiots. The writing was not to impress, but to express a life fighting poverty and the blindness of not knowing oneself.

Hutto is the same. He writes of the pitfalls of head-shop ownership, driving a taxi, cooking chili at 4 a.m., fighting cockroaches, listening to stupid people on the next bar stool, and dealing with nonsmoking fanatics who have "a condescending, whiny voice and want to make a big deal out of your smoking." Where Buk loved L.A., Hutto has fallen for Vegas after attending his 41st high school reunion there. His former classmates quickly noticed Hutto had yet to conform. Many seemed taken aback that a man of 58 would pierce his ears, sport a goatee, and wear blue-tinted Ben Franklin glasses as he fought the hotel staff for his right to light up a cig. To document the struggle, Hutto says, a classmate -- one he didn't particularly like -- took a photo of him smoking a cigarette under a No Smoking sign in the hotel. Even after four decades, "Some things don't change," says Hutto. "Some assholes are still assholes." To request being put on the reading list, contact

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