Ben Fulcher RIP

Just got word that Ben passed away. I believe he was 79. Ben was a long-time fixture on Telegraph Avenue. A regular at the Caffe Med. Was part of the scene for decades, at least since the 1980s. A jolly guy by nature. But with a lively intelligence. Mostly had a light-hearted, sort of live-and-let-live persona. But ocassionally he’d cut in there with a sharp comment to let you know he knew what was going on, knew what the score was. Sort of a “face in the crowd” type. One of those guys with no compelling need to grab the spotlight. Mostly seemed just “happy to be there.”

In the photo Ben is master of ceremony for the street memorial for Yume who died in January of 1994. Lighting sage, hitting the gong, and passing out Yume’s favorite cigarette to smoke in his honor. In my mind, the Yume memorial was like the opening scene in the movie that was 1994. A very strange and memorable year. It’s when I first got to know Ben. And also when I first began to realize that I wasn’t just documenting the Telegraph street scene as an artist, but that I had become a member of the tribe. Engulfed by it even. And would take part in many more memorials, weddings, and all that. And Ben was most certainly a part of that tribe. Ben was part of the scenery for all those years. And I mean that in the best way, for he added to the scene. Claire Burch shot a video of the Yume memorial, which took place on legendary Bench One and Bench Two. I’d probably cry if I saw it now. Seeing all the long-gone faces flickering across the screen.

This is a short story of one of my last encounters with Ben. RIP Adrian “Ben” Fulcher.

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