Fancy Things

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FANCY UPDATE: Follow Fancy Things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or apply to be the driver of my Fancy rickshaw if social media isn’t your (WAIT FOR IT) Fancy.

More updates are nigh, but that is Fancifully all for now.

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I’ve been doing random drawings (collectively known as #zackstovart [GET IT?! IT’S LIKE MY NAME AND IT’S LIKE ART PUT TOGETHER!]) for years now. Sometime a while back, I got the idea to draw a fancy vacuum cleaner, and it was just a vacuum cleaner wearing a tuxedo. For some reason, I loved this drawing, and realized the absurdity of drawing a great number of increasingly silly objects adorning the fanciest garb imaginable was too good to pass up. Thus my side series, Fancy Things, was born.

I was lucky enough to present Fancy Things at a local Pecha Kucha gathering. PK is a renowned event, beginning in Japan in 2003, in which creative types of any field meet to discuss their endeavors within the following parameters: each speaker must present twenty slides, and they have twenty seconds to speak per slide. So roughly six minutes and forty seconds to talk about the creative motivations and aspects behind your project. I was thrilled with the opportunity to unleash my Fancy Things upon the world, but realized that just showing each slide and taking twenty seconds to vary my delivery of the sentence “WELL ISN’T THIS DROLL?” would result in a presentation that wouldn’t serve the project.

Hence, I developed the presentation as a faux book pitch from the perspective of a deranged etiquette consultant hellbent on fostering an atmosphere of fanciness by adorning the environment in as many bow ties and cummerbunds as it would allow. The following video is the audio from my presentation, along with the twenty slides that went with it.

As you can tell, it went over pretty well. Quite surprisingly, after the presentation, I received emails, messages, and in-person requests for the book that had never been intended to be made. I’ve been working and having discussions with various people who know how to get pages together and bind them into what many people call “books” or at least their digital facsimile. I can’t say much more about it, other than it’s something I’d like to see at some point in the future and am working to achieve that.

Feel free to check in on Twitter and keep an eye out for upcoming announcements! Or don’t! In 500 years, literally no one will remember we ever even existed, so no biggie!

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Zack on Breast Cancer Awareness and Viagra

Did some more standing up and talking and this was a two minute segment from that.

That is all.

Gene Kitsmiller: ‘Bucket List’ Stand Up Comedian

As most of you know, I do stand up around St. Louis. It’s a lot of fun, and living in a city in which I don’t know that many people, it’s a great way to do my own thing for myself and meet other people.

One of the people I’ve met is Gene Kitsmiller. He’s a nice guy who’s about my dad’s age. He loves old school comedy from the early 80’s, like Seinfeld’s older stuff, Paul Reiser, and a lot of old Jay Leno “observational” type material. Not my style, but hey, it works for him. Anyway, I think he’s had a tough time lately, something about his dad letting him go from their family business to make room for his sister’s boyfriend or something. With more time on his hand, he’s gotten to finally take the plunge and fulfill a dream of his to get on stage, crossing it off his ol’ bucket list. This is maybe his third performance ever, and I think his other two ended with him blacking out and/or throwing up.

I thought he did okay. Check him out here.

Guys, Seriously? STOP Making Fun of Rebecca Black…She’s My Cousin and She’s Like Super Upset All The Time Now

Cut it out, guys. CUT IT OUT. I know you’ve all heard it and a lot of people are talking about it and mainly people are talking MAD CRAP about it but SERIOUSLY, guys. You’ve GOT to stop making fun of Rebecca Black. She’s my cousin, and ever since this video (THAT SHE WORKED REALLY HARD ON, BY THE WAY) came out, she’s been SUPER bummed out about it, like, all day everyday. She was JUST putting out a song that she thought everyone would like, because you can’t deny it: it’s super catchy and you can’t ever get it out of your head until you go to a death metal concert and take a nap under their woofers or something. IT’S THAT GOOD.

“Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs/Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal.” Preaching to the choir, Becky.

Look, what has she done that’s SO wrong? I mean, she’s 13 years old. She’s singing about what she knows and frankly, IT’S TOTALLY RELATABLE. Do you guys remember the TGIF shows on ABC? TGIF was the best thing on TV and I doubt it would’ve been that way had it been on Thursday or something stupid like that. I doubt there’s ever been any television or entertainment that anyone simply MUST see on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. So what if the lyrics are a tad simplistic? SHE’S LEADING A SIMPLE LIFE RIGHT NOW, YOU GUYS. I mean, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Denise are going through a little bit of a rough patch right now, stuff’s still up in the air with who’s getting which kids, but they’re for sure not staying in that big house she grew up in anymore, because Jim lost his jobs, but SO WHAT IF SHE’S JUST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING HER FRIENDS ON THE WEEKEND?

Don’t we all just want to ride around with our friends every now and then?

I mean, who HASN'T been here before?

She’s just been really, really sad lately. You’ve got people at her school who are making fun of her, and the students are making fun of her, too! She used to be really popular and had all these friends and stuff, then she did this music video and now, JUST BECAUSE EVERYBODY LOVES THIS STUPID GLEE SHOW, people throw slushies in her face. That’s expensive clothes, ya’ll! Cherry doesn’t even come out of some of the shirts, and a couple of them her dad threw in the dryer and now the stains are permanent. It’s really not fair that not only are her friends bailing on her, even the Girl Who Eats Her Hair up there, but now, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD knows who she is and writes really stupid comments up on her Youtubes.

I mean, not cool! Props to Blonde-with-Braces for being super cool and NOT bailing on Becky. My mom says Aunt Denise really appreciates it and – I don’t wanna spoil it – but you might get to go to Disney World with my family. YAY! DISNEY!

Disney World Dance!

So, seriously. You guys. Lay off Rebecca Black. She’s got her family and friends supporting her, she really doesn’t need people like you saying “She is missing half her brain,” “I wish I were deaf,” and “This sounds like Somneone trying to rip the piss out of bill bailey ripping the piss out of teenybopper songs.” One, she’s not missing half of her brain because she aced Spanish this year and that’s a WHOLE OTHER LANGUAGE. Two, ummm, not cool because MY OTHER AUNT, STACEY, TEACHES AT A DEAF SCHOOL, and three, uhh, I don’t even know what that means, because a.) who’s Bill Bailey? b.) I LIKE teenybopper music and 3.) you can’t rip piss because IT’S LIQUID.

Just be cool. If you’re cool, I might be able to see if she can come in town and do a little concert or just hang out or whatever.

Witnessing the Raw Humanity of an Illinois Flea Market

"Can I get some proof that these all haven't been in someone before?"

Here’s the scenario: You need something random for your house or apartment.

“Need” is a little strong. You want something for your abode, but it’s nothing that you’re actually wanting to spend any sort of significant amount of money for. Pier One, Crate and Barrell, even places like Target can get pricey. You’re looking for a full-length mirror on a stand, not a $75 investment. There is only one place you can turn, knowing that you can get something that has character, use, and shouldn’t be too expensive: A flea market.

This gypsy station is home to numerous vendors and outlets selling any number of objects that most people would say “I couldn’t possibly SELL this, could I?” And by “numerous” I mean literally countless. It is their nomadic lifestyle, these haggling carnival-types, to get the best possible deal for the most obscurely coveted objects known to man.

My quest for a full-length mirror on a stand took me to an Illinois flea market, and it was a harrowing experience I hesitate to take you through. The sheer humanity of it all may be more than some of the younger viewers here can take, so be careful. Most of these can be classified into a few different subsets, I’ll try and be as precise as possible.

1.) Who Would Ever Want Anything Close to This?:

"Fabio: Rockin' That Cleavage" (VHS)

There’s a wide assortment of VHS tapes at flea markets. And by “wide assortment” I mean “Every VHS ever made is now somewhere in a flea market.” It looks to me like these people are convinced that somewhere down the line, it’s going to be discovered that DVD’s and BluRays cause instant cancer, and when the market shifts back to VHS’s, they’ll be ready to pounce. All of them are about $2.00 now, but you can bet they’ll be close to $3 or EVEN FOUR DOLLARS when that whole DVD-cancer thing explodes.

"How can Jimmy cut Superman's Indestructible Hair of Steel?" asked absolutely no one, ever.

Comic books, like baseball cards and Nazi paraphernalia (more on that later!), are coveted for some strange reason, but to each their own. I like superheros and all that jazz, but seriously, a “Superman’s Pal” feature on Jimmy Olsen? The ONLY reason I might consider even looking through this, let alone purchase it, would be that I know Jimmy Olsen is a news photographer and there might be some hilarious hijinks in store as he tries to cut people’s hair. But not Superman’s, because apparently it’s indestructible? Doubtful.

Ahh, fake wine glasses, the oldest trick in the Get-Me-To-Drink-Fire-Handbook.

Ever want some romantic candles without the aesthetic pain in the neck that most candles come in, like jars or slightly decorative glasses? Well, think again! Now, YOU can have all of the allure of a passionate candlelit dinner with all of the class of someone who always has two full glasses of wine on their table, at all times. This looks like something that some redneck dreamed up when he was fastening his clip on tie and thinking “You know, I don’t really wear this enough.” Other consideration points: WHAT IF YOU WANT TO DRINK WHITE WINE?

2.) DAS RAYCESS:

"You couldn't possibly make a salt 'n' pepper shaker racist!" "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED."

/Covers face in hands
//Rubs temples
///Deep breath
These are relics of the past. As we all know, it was a very different time. A very different, and very racist time. In fact, it was so different, and so racist, that nowadays, the absurdity of it makes us laugh and laugh and laugh. This is one of those occasions. Go ahead and get it out. I’ll wait….alright, you done yet? No? Okay, a little longer…Now? Great. So these are standard salt and pepper shakers. I don’t know why anyone would’ve ever wanted them, but apparently, they were in high enough demand that this isn’t the only pair I saw at the flea market or have ever seen. As I was taking this picture, the vendor – who looked like a really, really nice guy, by the way – said “You wouldn’t have to take a picture of it if you buy it!” Right, but then I’d have two racist salt and pepper shakers sitting on my kitchen table. So…no.

"What am I going to have to do to put YOU in a Nazi armband TODAY?" - Used Nazi Arm Band Dealer

I don’t necessarily fancy myself a history buff, but I do enjoy WWII history and such. I know there are a lot more rabid history buffs out there, who, while not wanting to be hateful or whatever, and actually wear these armbands to assemblies and whatnot, might just want them as collectables. I tried to explain it to my friends, who were slightly more baffled than I was. I related it to the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series back in 2006. If you had a whole history room or shrine dedicated to the Cards and their Championship, you might have a Sports Illustrated or two featuring the Detroit Tigers, the team they beat in the World Series. Maybe even a hat or two. The argument kind of falls apart once the Detroit Tigers start religiously persecuting and murdering several million people, but…I guess you see what I mean. 

Republicans vs. Gays: Est. 1922

So this isn’t racist, or homophobic even. It just made me laugh. Something something, blah blah blah, GAY JOKE!

3.) Troublingly Devoid of Any Value Whatsoever:

The Ghost of Gloria Lang

I’ve really got nothing to say here. I think this woman may be the vendor (although there was no one manning the station) and is hoping that her kind demeanor in the late 40’s and 50’s may be just the bargaining chip to seal some deal on a ceiling mounted toaster or something. But I doubt it. I think she was just lonely. Or dead. Probably dead. 

You know more than one deer died in the making of this four-legged lamp.

I’m from Arkansas, and the South in general has a much more tolerant perception of the use of dead animals in the field of interior decorating. In high school, I went over to a girl’s house that had a couple of different bears, an elephant head, and like ten antlered-animals I didn’t even know existed, all mounted in the living room. The house I grew up in had no less than three ducks on the wall, and a deer head above the mantle. I get it. I don’t get making a lamp stand out of the hooves of a deer though. Because there’s outdoorsy…and then there’s mild sociopathic tendencies.

And by the way, never found that mirror. So, yes, I could very well be venturing into this venue again next month, when the gypsies return from their voyage into Indiana and possibly beyond. I guess all of that walking is what gives them their healthy appearance, healthy, of course, considering their almost entirely 100 percent pretzeldog diet.

Happy Valentine’s Day From Zack…May It Be Better Than His First Valentine’s Date Experience

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. I’d go on some unoriginal and long-winded rant about how Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday that sends couples into agony and more profits into Hallmark executive’s wallets, but quite frankly it’s been done, and I actually don’t mind it. Everybody likes a good dinner, and a good excuse to go get one.

STEAK AND LOBSTER, Y’ALL. WHAT WHAT.

Here’s some stand up I did the other night at Lemmon’s here in St. Louis. It was the Valentine’s Day Massacre, put on by some people I know through the Improv Trick. St. Louis has a burgeoning comedy scene and these folks were good enough to let me go for about ten minutes with an endless array of mildly amusing dickjokes. This is the closing four or five minutes, all of which is brand new material I wrote about an hour or so before.

So comment and stuff. Or not. Maybe you and a loved one can curl up by a fire, sip on some wine or other adult beverages, and write a racial slur or two in the comments section. Because if there’s anything racists like more than hating people who are a different color than they are, it’s writing racist stuff in YouTube commentary. 

Holleratchaboy.

Update: Ask and ye shall receive. Here’s the gif of me falling down, as requested by Icehouse.


GIFSoup

Zack’s Hate Mail From The Most Adorable Little Girl You’ve Ever Seen Who Is Also His Downstairs Neighbor

Abby Greenlend, Age 5

In our offices, everyday it seems like Zack gets a piece of Hate Mail from just about any and everybody you could imagine. Here are some of the keepers:

Taped to my door! How precious!
Wait...WAIT. WHAT.
Is that a TV being murderously thrown on me? Why yes. Yes, indeed. That's a TV being murderously thrown on me.

The bottom: "PS - This is Abby's mother, and I let her write this. I even helped."

How To And How To Not Compete And WIN Beauty Pageants

Two words: WEAK SAUCE. Like the Mom said, if beauty pageants weren’t about beauty they wouldn’t be called beauty pageants. Little girl needs to GROW THE EFF UP AND TAKE THAT SCALDING HOT WAX LIKE THE GROWN WOMAN SHE CLEARLY ISN’T. Those eyebrows that were removed? UNSIGHTLY. I guess. I don’t know I couldn’t really see them, but I’m not a trained professional judge. THOSE GUYS ARE THE KINGS OF DISCERNMENT AND THEY WILL CATAPULT YOU AND THAT BERT AND ERNIE UNIBROW OF YOURS LITTLE GIRL.

I’m confident this girl will be crowned champion one day. She’s got the drive and determination to be a proven winner, and, if she does happen to falter, has a mother who’s willing to belt her into the winner’s circle against her will. GREAT family hustle.

STOP THE SHOW! STOP THE SHOW! PRIDE OF ARKANSAS! PRIDE OF THE NATURAL STATE AND PRIDE OF THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY, WHICHEVER PENDING LEGISLATION WILL MAKE IT BE CALLED!

Watching this live was something of a game changing moment for the rest of my life. You’re watching someone from your home state, and thinking to yourself, “My God, there’s a chance for my state to be special, to rise up from the ashes of getting made fun of for banging our cousins, and really be able to stand proud as an Arkansan.”

Then she brought out two puppets.

Needless to say, I was concerned. “YOU GOTTA BE EFFING KIDDING ME, ALYSE!” I bellowed. “NOT ON THIS STAGE! THIS ISN’T AMATUER HOUR, THIS IS MISS AMERICA FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.” But that’s why Alyse competed in Miss America, and I was sitting at home. She BLEW AMERICA INTO TINYBITS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND PLEASURE. Ventriloquism: Really hard to pull off well. If your dialogue is good, and you don’t look like you’re just talking through your teeth, but the rest of your mouth is moving (LOOKING AT YOU, JEFF DUNHAM), it can be somewhat entertaining. Yodeling: Best part of “The Price Is Right” was the yodeling scale, in which the total number of dollars in which one was over or under for a given item was added up, and if there were too many, the mountain climber would descend to his death. Okay, Plinko was still probably No. 1, but you get it. Yodeling is very entertaining, but, many would say, beneath the decorum of the venerable and hallowed halls of Miss America.

Ventriloquism and Yodeling is nothing short of the Lord coming down, blasting my body with a rainbow bazooka, and having me give birth to a formidable team of baby koala medical doctors. In a word: MIRACULOUS.

So that, little miss my-eyebrows-hurt-but-not-enough-to-not-literally-lick-my-lips-at-the-mere-sight-of-candy, is how you WIN MISS AMERICA place second in Miss America.

But there’s always next year (or if new 17 Year old Miss Nebraska should find her way into a controversy) to win.

NO, I’M NOT WATCHING ‘When Harry Met Sally’ WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU INTERRUPT MY MOVIE TO ASK THAT?

You’ve got some nerve interrupting a perfectly fine afternoon by asking me if I’m watching When Harry Met Sally. Some nerve! You know my girlfriend isn’t here right now, she’s at work, so why would I, working from home BY MYSELF, be watching what is regarded by anyone with a brain functioning between their ears the Greatest Film Chick Flick of All Time. It just doesn’t make any sense for me to do that. I watch ESPN, “Law and Order,” and Die Hard – all of them – exclusively throughout my day.

I don’t know which of those three I’m watching right now, but it’s certainly not When Harry Met Sally. No way it’s that.

I don’t know what it is you heard, but it wasn’t the ICONIC scene at Katz’s Delicatessen in which Meg Ryan’s character, Sally Albright, convinces Billy Crystal’s Harry Burns that women fake orgasms all the time by hilariously faking an orgasm right there in the middle of the deli! It was probably someone celebrating a touchdown pass they caught or threw or whatever. I WON’T have what she’s having. PS – Did you know the elderly woman who utters that famous scene-capping line was director Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle Reiner?

I didn’t know that tidbit either, BECAUSE I’VE NEVER SEEN When Harry Met Sally‘S SPECIAL FEATURES.

Frankly, I don’t even watch that much television or film when I’m working. When I’m working, it’s time to work, NOT time to watch classic and historic pieces of cinema that stir the heart, soul, and mind into a compelling and thoughtful laughing fit. Or WHMS (WHMS is the agreed upon acronym and abbreviation for When Harry Met Sally, I…I guess). Nope, I keep my nose to the grindstone, and would never watch such a silly, girly movie like WHMS. I’d be, you know, like, so annoyed and have to turn it off. Then I’d have to get up and take it out of the DVD player, dust it off to make sure that it stays in nearly mint condition, put it back in the protective casing, then put the protective casing in its own protective casing and put it back on the shelf, then I’d be thinking about that movie (and how much it sucks!) for the rest of the afternoon, and it just wouldn’t be conducive to good work.

No I don’t OWN WHMS on DVD, it was on TV! Not that I was even watching it. It was something else completely. On the TV.

Again, I can’t remember what that was I was watching. I would have definitely remembered seeing WHMS, or having been made to watch that ABSOLUTELY against my will. I usually remember doing things against my will. And I ALWAYS remember watching WHMS. LOGICALLY, I must always be forced to watch WHMS. And like I said, I wasn’t being forced to watch WHMS. I was probably watching something totally masculine, because, as you might be able to tell, I’m totally male.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got another 50 minutes or so left in this movie you interrupted. No, I did NOT realize that it’s almost 50 minutes exactly after the orgasm scene to the end of WHMS. That is a coincidence.