It Was a Five-Poster Day.

I collect posters. Here’s some of them. As a collector of posters, sometimes I do things that are not quite legit, like taking posters off walls for events that have not happened yet. This doesn’t make me happy, but I rationalize it to myself by saying that I am an archivist with a vision.

I have been taking posters off walls, mainly in the Wicker Park / Bucktown area of Chicago, since 1994. I know this because the first poster I took off a wall was for a show at the Elbo Room on Thursday, September 15, 1994.

By using, I see that Thursday the 15th of September happened in 2011 and the only year in the 1990s with the same calendar as 2011 was 1994. Now I write the month, date, and provenance of each poster on the back in pencil. Back then I did not, so is invaluable.

I’ve never sold a poster, and I rarely buy them. I take them off walls. I try to be unobtrusive, and try to wait until after the event is over, but sometimes one must strike quickly in this business.

Today was a  big day for someone like me. The cold snap has broken, as of yesterday, and this morning it was winter-balmy— temperature at the freezing mark, but wetness everywhere due to snow melting. The rare combination of cold and humidity.

Walking past a fancy empty storefront, one usually blasted by corporate launches, I spied some brilliant pieces:

You can see the wheat paste bubbles. I love this artist, but I’ve never able to get any of these off the wall— very thin paper coupled with strong, well-applied paste.

But I went up to the wall, and scratched and peeled. the first one came off like I was a machine and this is what I was meant to do. I peeled the other.  And I had them, and I was happy. I tried to get the T-Money piece off, too— it came easily at first, but I couldn’t get the right angle halfway through, not tall enough. I locked in my gains.

In the afternoon, walked to Whole Foods for a lunch with a friend. On the way back, two more, same artist, this time affixed to glass.

Again I peeled, and again it worked. wtf.

At home, after work, I decided to press my luck.

I got a step stool and a utility knife, and I cut it out of the wall like I was at the Louvre. The one left behind is now archived.

It was a good day.

Note: if you are one of the musical acts or venues in one of these posters, or one of the artists who made them, sorry.

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