Tony Fitzpatrick’s gorgeous new book, The Wonder: Portraits of a Remembered City, Volume I (La Luz de Jesus/Last Gasp), reproduces 30 of the Chicago artist’s cryptic, symbol-laden collage-drawings, which include ephemera like postage stamps, nudie pinups, and matchbook covers from long-gone local hotels and taverns. Evoking a romantic era that Fitzpatrick remembers from tooling around the streets of the city with his father, the works come off like enigmatic love letters. Some of the images incorporate Fitzpatrick’s poemlike texts, which could stand on their own. From King of Chicago: “Majestic pigeon king of Chicago walks the cocky walk, bloody-eyed mayor of the sidewalk, tumbling acrobat in the sky above Damen Avenue turning, spinning, and whirling in the daylight, the pigeon listens for night train whistles and eats the crumbs of departure.” And the publishers have done a wonderful job with the vibrantly colored reproductions–they practically shimmer. Fri 1/14, 7 PM, Quimby’s Bookstore, 1854 W. North, 773-342-0910, and Thu 1/20, 7 PM, Myopic Books, 1564 N. Milwaukee, 773-862-482.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marc Hauser.