Perhaps you’ve seen his stylized Germanic tweets, or people sporting his buttons on the streets.
He’s the mysterious online persona known as Evil Hans – and as far as we know, only posts on Twitter and on Tumblr. But this is no novelty social media project – Evil Hans' mission is to spread community spirit and Oktoberfest cheer.
He claims his brother, the famous Oktoberfest icon Onkel Hans, forced him to leave Kitchener-Waterloo 45 years ago.
Recently, I was able to make contact with the enigmatic figure, and ask him a few questions about his relation to Onkel Hans, his button distribution methods, and his hopes for this year’s Oktoberfest.
1. You say you were cast out by your brother, Onkel Hans, 45 years ago. Why wait all this time before coming back to Kitchener-Waterloo?
You know Herr Kang, I get azked zhis qvestion a lot. Ze truth is, zhat there are a few reasons, but ze most straight forvard ansver is zhat it took me many years of vatching und seeing vhat meine brozher und associates vere doing to share ze proud Oktoberfest legacy, sense of heritage und community, as vell as ze respect for ze art of finely crafted beer.
It is because of zhis, zhat I feel a gentle reminder of zhese core values vould be velcomed by ze people und businesses present in zhis fine, fine community.
I have been qvoted as saying, zhat you are in fact Evil Hans, und if you can get your head around ze fact zhat I am simply a symbol of ze everyday community citizen und local business, I have actually been here all along.
2. You’ve put out about 200 of your buttons around town and they’ve generated a lot of excitement on Twitter among local business owners, tech start-up people and the media. What is your goal with all the buttons?
Ja. I have been really glad to see ze reception of meine little buttons to be so varm.
At zhis point in time, zhere are around 500 Evil Hans buttons making zheir vay around Kitchener-Vaterloo und ze surrounding townships. Ze button itself, is just a symbol of unity, und community pride. Zhese have been funded in a vay that no alliances or 3rd party needs to be acknowledged or promoted.
Ze buttons are delivered by vay of henchmen on "secret missions" (Delivered in multiples, for sharing and additional 'delivery mission' purposes.) Zhese missions are organized via private messages on ze social media, or via ze Evil Hans Blackberry BBM.
I have azked in meine delivery notes, zhat in return for wearing ein button, ze recipient, make ein donation of zheir own choosing to any local cause.
3. Instead of interacting with the public yourself, you enlist local henchmen to do your deeds. Can you explain why?
Absolutely Matthew. First und foremost, I am not a leader of ze people. I am ze people. Ve are all in fact Evil Hans. I just act as ein broadcast channel to share all of our vork.
Ze henchmen und fräulein fatales, make it easier for me to mobilize ze community und be present in many places at once vith the same goal in mind, to promote, share and raise ze avareness of our community, local people und business, as vell as an appreciation for locally brewed beer.
By utilizing this communities built in desire to support each other, combined vith the increased use of the intervebs und social media, ze sharing und ability to form an underground movement vhich can have such a positive effect on local businesses,
I felt zhat ve could empower ze community, by uniting zhem in a clear cause of celebrating all zhat is local, we therefore make everyone accountable for ze promotion of our movement, for zhey [ze henchmen] are actually Evil Hans.
For more of ze information on how I mobilized ze first set of henchmen, you can visit meine 'Henchmen Vanted' Ad vhich vas originally published on das Kijiji, here: http://evilhans.com/careers
4. Do you have any schemes cooked up for this year in particular?
Zhis year, I'm taking it easy, you know. Keeping ein vatchful eye on meine brozher, und just getting used to being back in town, lots has changes since I vas last here - und vhat is it vith all these traffic circles? .
I have some plans, but overall, zhis year, I just vanted to say 'Hallo', catch up vith some old friends, und ze family of course (I'm vatching you Hans).
If ze people vant more from Evil Hans, Zhey shall in return get more.
5. You’ve been arranging secret Oktoberfest gatherings at restaurants and bars around Kitchener-Waterloo. What makes these different from the Festhalle celebrations many people here attend each year?
Ja. Ze buttons are partly used to drive henchmen (made up of ze general public) to venues not endorsed or able to be sanctioned as official Oktoberfest venues for multiple reasons.
Zhese venues are known to meine henchmen as "Evil Hans Secret Hideouts", vith events organized by ze venue proprietor, in ze spirit of Evil Hans.
As ein community, ve are very lucky to have ein organization und events such as Oktoberfest, und I in no way discourage or underrate zheir value vithin our community.
I just ask zhat ve remember ze other smaller businesses, zhat interestingly find zhis a difficult time to attract business to zheir venues, und use zhis high profile time und spotlight on our community to show all, zhat ve are a bountiful und proud community of people und businesses.
6. Ultimately, what is your hope for this year’s Oktoberfest?
Meine hope is zhat our community has a safe und happy Oktoberfest. Meine Manifesto, is to give Oktober to ze people, drink gut beer [responsibly] und be ein true reflection of ze entire fabric of zhis fine, fine community.
For more of ze information, you can once again visit meine full manifesto vhich vas originally published on das Kijiji, here: http://evilhans.com/manifesto