I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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February 28, 2005

I am hell-bent on living in a Frank Lloyd Wright house at some point in my life, so it was with great interest that I read an article published last week about one for sale in Chicago. The headline of the article suggested that the owner had been having some difficulty selling it. "I could probably get about five hundred dollars together," I mused. "More if I buy generic macaroni and cheese instead of the real stuff." Unfortunately, once I read the article, the cause of the owner's difficulty became all too clear: the house is in Rogers Park, neighborhood of my youth and my post-collegiate doldrums. It was with great amusement, then, that I read the attempts of reporter Don Babwin and real estate developer Frank Diliberto to do a little soft-shoe on the reasons why nobody will buy the house. I don't blame them, of course; Frank needs to make a sale, and Don probably flew in from the coast and took a taxi from the airport, leaving him with no time to soak up any of the local character. Here, then, are my helpful revisions to the article, provided in the interest of giving a more complete and informative experience for the reader.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home Is No Easy Sell
By Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer, with additions in bold by M. Heiden

CHICAGO - If you think selling a house designed by the most famous architect in American history is easy, think again.

After several months on the market, a 1915 Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago's North Side is going on the auction block, with bids starting at $750,000 — less than a third of the original $2.5 million asking price.

A few years ago, another Wright house sold at auction in Cincinnati for only about $400,000.

"There was always a relatively small market for them," said Ronald Scherubel, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. "Even when he (Wright) was alive they weren't for everybody."

But the hard sell on Wright houses runs deeper than their historical lack of appeal, **or in this case, the lack of appeal of the crackheads urinating in the alley.**

First, owners often can't remodel or even paint the homes without permission from some government official, **unless, of course, they are King Killa or an affiliate of Tha Bone-Hard Niggaz, in which case they are heartily encouraged to identify themselves on whatever public property happens to be nearby.**

Chicago designated the four-bedroom Emil Bach House a landmark in 1977, so both the city and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois must now sign off on any substantial changes, Scherubel said.

"That house is really intended to stay that house," said Frank Diliberto, senior vice president of Inland Real Estate Auction, which is handling the March 8 sale. **Except for the stuff inside, all of which is intended to be stolen from the house within four months of any resident taking occupancy.**

Then, there's the way Wright laid out his Prairie-style homes and their size — usually on the small side.

Unlike modern houses, with their roomy kitchens and bedrooms, Wright built homes with spacious living rooms and dining areas. Kitchens were simply places to prepare food and bedrooms were just for sleeping, Scherubel said. **Stomachs were just for consuming food, not for getting stabbed by angry hoboes.**

"His philosophy was different," he said.

In the Emil Bach house, the kitchen is bigger than in most Wright homes, said Inland Real Estate spokesman Darryl Cater. Still, he said, "Frank Lloyd Wright designed kitchens for servants." **As a result, the shitheads who break in may feel cramped as they carry your stuff through the kitchen out to their van in the alley.**

Some of Wright's early homes also have developed expensive structural problems, such as sagging roofs. Scherubel said the Emil Bach House didn't appear to have those problems, **though the prostitutes who work at the motel down the block do appear have developed expensive structural problems, such as sagging boobs.**

The biggest problem the Emil Bach House might have is its location.

When it was built, it was a country home with an unobstructed view of Lake Michigan. Today, it's on a busy street lined with apartments and businesses **and urinating crackheads** in the city's Rogers Park neighborhood.

If the home were in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb with a large concentration of Wright homes **and a low concentration of people trying to stab you**, it would have sold for about $2.1 million, said Ken Goldberg, a real estate agent who tried to sell the house for months before Inland Real Estate stepped in.

"Nobody pays that in East Rogers Park," he said of the house. **Because everyone in East Rogers Park has spent their rent money on crack.** It sold two years ago for $1 million.

But Inland's Diliberto says the neighborhood won't dissuade people who want to own one of just 380 Wright houses in the United States. The company has heard from prospective buyers across the country, **none of whom have any idea where this house actually is.**

"This," Diliberto said, "is a chance to buy a piece of history." **And to give your car radio to some jerk with a brick.**


Seriously, who is King Killa? I'm not even sure how the modifier works there. Either we need evidence that God intends him to rule killas by divine right, or we need a notarized list of kings he has killed. Either way, once again, we're just not getting the full story.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.