Mrs. Lavinski had some rather Libertarian views on the subject of property tax (especially for a card-carrying Wobblie) but that contradiction doesn’t make her attempts to avoid them any less entertaining. A Hungarian immigrant of amazing ingenuity, Zora put her hard work in the factories of Chicago to good use when it came to crafting a solution to avoiding the “damn Revenuers” who drove her batty. Her steam-powered moving tenement more than returned the favor – it was rumored that no fewer than 10 tax assessors found it necessary to take “medical leaves of absence” after being driven mad by their attempts to track down Zora’s property and assess it.
After being tipped off by a sympathetic confederate in the Assessor’s office, by the light of a full moon Zora would light the boilers in her building, set out the fly-wheel motor, mutter a hex or two, and in a cacophony of grunting and huffing, it would heave itself up and off the sidewalk and set off at a tottering lumber down the street. Having found a suitably nondescript new location, it would wriggle itself between some existing buildings and come to rest with a creaking sigh. A bit alarming to her tenants, it’s true, but they would realize that her strong recommendation that they procure a post office box made a lot more sense in retrospect. True to her rumored gypsy heritage, Zora knew that there is more to life than an address. Besides, her giant raven, Tybalt, ensured that anyone whom she wished to be in touch with could find her at any time
Mrs. Lavinski’s tenants tended to be an unusual bunch. A motley assortment of poets, dancers, lovers, mad musicians and wan, solemn children, many went on to great accomplishment, while others traveled with her until the end of their days. Dr. Einstein himself is rumored to have spent some time at Zora Lavinski’s and who’s to say that the moving rooming house didn’t contribute to his musings on time, space and matter?
This 9” x 12” x ¾” original collage has been created on a hand painted, stretched gallery canvas collaged with vintage images and handmade art paper and depicts the mobile rooming house, its occupants and a couple additional nonplussed motorists and has (gently) moveable wheels. Accented with black German Dresden trim, watch gears, black crystals, brass findings and brads.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2008. Copyright to this material is in no way transferable with the sale of this item. The buyer is not entitled to any reproduction rights – neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!