The sexy side of Swap-O-Rama flea market, particularly for people that also have a bungee cord and barbell fetish. Taken this morning on South Ashland in Chicago.
Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.
This page consists of sample findings and excerpts. It is also an account of the contents of my home and digital files from my camera. If you have suggestions, have a collection you want to share, or are in Chicago and would like to see something in person, please contact me. This blog is intended as a casual, more personal supplement to the main Public Collectors website.
Public Collectors is maintained by Marc Fischer.
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If you’ve followed Public Collectors for a while, you know that Swap-O-Rama on South Ashland in Chicago is a special place. Here are some of today’s offerings. The real challenge here is to come up with a project that necessitates the use of each of these items.
A Field Recording of Suzie the Chihuahua
I have always liked the idea of carrying around a tape recorder or digital recorder, collecting favorite sounds. I’ve never been much of a sound collector, however. There are always sounds I’d like to save, but I just never do the work to acquire them.
Recently I purchased a Zoom recorder for capturing interviews and events. When I get the inspiration, I hope to use it to make other recordings of things I’d like to be able to revisit - the sounds of my world.
This is a recording that I made on July 28th, 2014. It features Suzie, a long haired Chihuahua owned by my neighbor, in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood.
Suzie is a rescue. She was one of 17 Chihuahuas owned by a mentally ill Vietnam vet. She clings to her owner Ted and barks fiercely when anyone gets near him. She does not bark to alert Ted’s wife, or anyone else that lives in their house, however. She is a Chihuahua that is faithful to one person: Ted.
This recording features the alternately delightful, sad, adorable, and pathetic cries of desperation that Suzie makes when Ted is visible to her but just out of reach. If Ted has left Suzie in the backyard and shut the gate so that he can do something in the front of the house, this is the sound we will hear. She will do this incessantly until she is once again able to stand by his side.
Disclosure: The photo used for this file is not actually Suzie, but a dog from the internet that looks a bit like Suzie.
A ticket stub from a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion concert on November 5, 2004 at the Metro in Chicago. About a day before, I went to get a slice at Santulo’s Pizza in Wicker Park. They had a stack of free tickets to this show at the register so I grabbed one. While their shtick has not aged well for me at all, back in 1993 or ‘94, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion was a stellar live band. Their energy was completely off the scales. Within a few years, I thought the act got pretty old, and I stopped going to see them. Still, this was a free show, so I figured, what the hell? Unfortunately the circumstances were less than great. George W. Bush had just been reelected, which was extremely fucking depressing, and even Jon Spencer couldn’t refrain from commenting (abstractly, of course) that things were bad. The crowd at this show was jam-packed with frat boy douches, and maybe worst of all, Russell Simmons, who used to wallop the ever living fuck out of his drums, wasn’t really hitting very hard anymore. I think I stuck around for about 45 minutes and then felt like I should leave before I started feeling worse. An explosion of blues, indeed. I think I missed all of The Ponys’ set because I don’t remember it at all.
A menu handbill, believed to be from Chicago’s Blue Note club and circa 1959. This was discovered this morning inside a stack of someone’s college notebooks. I left the notebooks and settled on a nice little pile of paper ephemera. See also, this 1959-60 concert calendar from the Blue Note.
A 1959-1960 handbill of upcoming shows at Chicago’s Blue Note. This was discovered this morning inside a stack of someone’s college notebooks. I left the notebooks and settled on a nice little pile of paper ephemera.
Wanted: Swap-O-Rama Stories!
If you have followed Public Collectors on Tumblr for a while, you know that I have a longstanding obsession with Swap-O-Rama on Ashland Avenue in Chicago. I’m seeking your stories about Swap-O-Rama for inclusion within a longer essay in an upcoming Public Collectors book (more details on that soon). I’m specifically interested in the Swap on Ashland.
In addition to stories about interesting things you’ve found, I’d like to hear reflections on the social, political, experiential, and emotional spaces of Swap, and encounters you’ve had with the vendors that work there. If you visited Swap back in the 1980s or 90s and have observed changes over time, I’d love to hear your reflections on what might be different now, as well as what may have remained constant
Please contact me here to share your stories. Thank you, and feel free to reblog this call for participation!
A flyer for Zaramela, The 151s, and Afrofuzz that I plucked off a bulletin board at Columbia College. And yes, I waited until after the show had already happened, because Public Collectors is concerned with maintaining an ethical practice!
Since moving almost two years ago, this collection continues to expand. It consists of objects I have found in the backyard while gardening, buried in the dirt, or along the side of the house. Once Chicago finally warms up for real (it snowed last night), I look forward to new discoveries as the growing season begins.
Black Experiences - An Anthology by Johnie T. McDonald, self-published, 1973. Cover art by Frank Davis. I picked up this small chap book of poems at an estate sale in Chicago this morning at a home belonging to McDonald.
Explosion of Chicago’s Black Street Gangs - 1900 to Present, by Useni Eugene Perkins, Third World Press, Chicago, 1987. I picked up a copy of this rather slender book (considering its subject) at an estate sale this morning, from the home of the late Johnie T. McDonald. This copy is inscribed to McDonald by the author.
If you are in Chicago, Public Collectors will have a small selection of objects (including the above card and more from this Forming Sounds set) at Lovely Bake Shop on 1130 North Milwaukee, from February 14-20th. There’s a reception from 5:00-7:00 PM on the 14th. Here are some more details about the show.
Kilroy Was And/Or Was Not Here (and so are you)
Public Art As Correspondence “A series of visual stories communicating through product design, installations, typography and sculpture. Designs that use smells acquainting nostalgia positioned at a pop-up gallery inside a bakery. Typographic installations that will illuminate forms of communication that is beyond language. Endearing and quirky entendres expressed in fantastical forms. Pieces that engage the audience in a familiar and welcoming space of a bakery through sight and smell. Curated by Tori Terizakis (BFA 2008) with essay by Stamps faculty Seth Ellis. Participants include Stamps faculty Roland Graf + Assocreation and Seth Ellis, alumni Ben Van Dyke (MFA 2006) and Mallory Baran (BFA 2011), John Kannenberg (MFA 2012) current MFA candidate Mia Cinelli and Chicago initiative Public Collectors and Lambchop.
A sign spotted in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood a couple days ago while I was walking to get groceries during the snowstorm. God watches all who steal Christmas ornaments. And so do some of the cameras in the neighborhood.
Suicide ticket stub from a 1999 show at the Double Door in Chicago. I attended this show and it nearly didn’t happen because some jackass set off a fire alarm and the entire club had to be evacuated right after midnight and before Suicide went on. Thankfully everything was resolved fairly quickly and by about 12:30 in the morning everyone was back in the club. Suicide were incredibly loud, absolutely pulverized their songs beyond recognition in many cases, and were really great. I actually sent a total fan email to Martin Rev after the show and he sent a very short but nice reply.
This post is a Public Collectors Request Line fulfillment for balderdash who asked me to post ticket stubs. I actually just found a folder filled with tons of them so maybe I’ll post a couple more.