Sunday, October 4, 2015

Chris Ware, Ira Glass and Tim Samuelson, LOST BUILDINGS ("an on-stage radio and picture collaboration")

As a fan of Chris Ware, I've seen this book Lost Buildings circulating on eBay and abebooks for close to a decade and only recently did I finally pick one up. Like Ware's first book Floyd Farland, Lost Buildings had a strange sort of "rarity" surrounding it that I suspected wasn't particularly sound. It always struck me that there was a shop somewhere in Chicago that had tons of these, and nobody took the effort to sell them online beyond a handful of flippers who could dictate the price. Years ago, this was selling for $50-$100, but this copy (although dinged up a little) ran me about $15. Strange how time can wind down the hype. (there's a $15 Floyd Farland on eBay right now, if you're so inclined.)

Lost Buildings is a fun little book, around five inches square, and looks, at first glance, nothing like you'd expect from Ira Glass and Chris Ware. Lost Buildings tracks the history of Louis Sullivan's architecture in turn-of-the-century Chicago. Tim Samuelson, a Chicago historian, takes the lead throughout the Lost Buildings book, but if you dig deep, so much of Ware's essence (and Glass's narrative quirk) shines through Samuelson's stories. To think of the architectural paean that was Ware's Building Stories and his forays into journal-editor with old-timey Ragtime Ephemeralist makes Lost Buildings click into place.

The book also includes a DVD of Ware, Samuelson, and Glass's "on-stage radio & picture collaboration," to be viewed with the text in tandem. Lost Buildings is a curious little volume and a delightful expansion of my Chris Ware library.

Currently reading:
Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Currently listening to:
"b'lieve i'm goin down" by Kurt Vile

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