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Actor. Musician. Host. Writer. Dinner Guest.
T-Shirts $25.00 – includes S&H
email@example.com for more info!
For signed copies – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey guys! I’m finally able to announce the release of my second novel “DROP DEAD GORGEOUS” – today on KINDLE! If you’re a digital reader, please take a look and enjoy! Sample chapters available in the link. Hard copies will be available in a week or so – so thank you all for your support! This is the official SEQUEL to “Austin Translation” – when Rob Stoner travels to Nashville to solve the mysterious suicide of his ex-girfriend. It’s murder, mystery and mayhem in Music City!
DROP DEAD GORGEOUS: AKA THE NASHVILLIANS
When True Crime Podcaster Rob Stoner is summoned to Nashville to investigate the mysterious suicide of his ex-girlfriend from 20 years ago, he suddenly finds himself making his way through Music City still holding onto lost dreams of his own music stardom. Things get even crazier when he discovers that his ex was holding a piece of paper in her hand with his phone number on it when she died. Now, Rob has to solve the crime, navigate his way around the shady side of the music business and try to get it all done without losing his marriage, his career and his mind…
PRAISE FOR “DROP DEAD GORGEOUS”
“I voiced a character in a musical comedy podcast which Zach wrote and produced. I thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Zach, but felt strongly that the project was lacking the comedic device of death. I’m glad to see that Zach has combined all elements into this fast-paced murder comedy set in Music City.”
– Will Sasso, actor
xoxo MUCH LOVE!
Featuring Aubrey Richmond and Leroy Miller
Click Image Below!
By Zach Selwyn
I recently came across this class picture from my elementary school in 1985. Oddly enough, I have a vague memory of taking this photo and trying to express my disappointment with the world at that time. I had no idea back then that the photo seemed to say to my parents that I’d rather be dead at the tender age of 10 than at my school picture day.
I look depressed. I look like I had already lived five lives. I resemble the type of child who would be marked as a potential serial killer in the future. Amazingly, I remember what was going through my head that day. I was dealing with things like my parents recent divorce, the fact that my “spike haircut” would never want to stand up straight like the other kids. I didn’t smile because my two front teeth resembled something that would have made all species of pacific northwestern beavers jealous. I also remember that my mother made me wear the cloud patterned shirt I am wearing in the photo that day. Maybe if I was Prince I could have pulled that look off, but as a sullen, depressed 10-year-old Jewish kid stuck in Tucson Arizona in the 1980’s, the cloud shirt just felt like a desperate plea for attention.
At the time I was rudderless. The girls were not interested in me. I had become somewhat overweight. My baseball ability had dwindled following a broken arm the previous summer and my basketball skills were starting to translate to bench time more than the starting five. To top it off my grandparents had taken my sister and I on a two-week Caribbean cruise a few weeks before where I spent the majority of the trip being bullied in the youth center by a freckly-face kid from Florida named Robbie who insisted on flicking my ears until I cried almost daily. Perhaps the most embarrassing thing about that cruise was when my grandmother came down to the youth center, smacked the kid across the head and said, “Stop flicking my grandson’s ears!”
As you can imagine, it only made him go after me more.
In fifth grade I was forced to go to Hebrew school three times a week with the looming threat of a Bar Mitzvah hanging over my head presenting quite possibly a challenge that I could never live up to. My main interests lie in collecting baseball cards – which is where I spent every penny and has been well documented in my previous works. I was also trying to make my 3-year-old brother a future baseball Hall of Famer – but he wasn’t interested in the slightest. Baseball cards were everything to me and the bottom line was, when my mother came home and saw me lying on the floor alphabetizing the 1982 Atlanta Braves Fleer set, she didn’t exactly think I had any sort of bright future.
My house was less than peaceful, with my sister and mother not getting along and a new presence in the home – my mother’s boyfriend. He was a recovering alcoholic who had moved to Tucson for a fresh start and began working at a $40,000 a month celebrity rehab facility that was frequented by movie stars and rock stars. His saving grace was that he loved music, and played it constantly around the house.. and that he was pretty funny.
He also loved baseball.
My other obsession with skateboarding, which I was not very good at due to a massive fear of falling and breaking my arm a second time. Yet, I wore the clothes and accepted the fact that I was a “poser” to the cooler kids because it made me feel somewhat connected to something. I was also being forced to take piano lessons by my mom although I was technically allowed to quit in sixth grade.
I quit the day I started sixth grade. Again, another regret.
37-years-later, looking back at this photo, I distinctly remember Mrs. Knight’s fifth grade classroom. It was small – with only eight of us – because they had to separate certain students into a fifth/sixth grade combination class. Luckily the two cutest girls were in class with me. Laura Krapa (tough last name, I know…) And Tina Jarem, who I mercilessly teased and occasionally punched because she had absolutely no interest in me.
And then, there were the three other boys in the class.Ryan, Brandon and Bryan. Being the lone Jewish kid, I was constantly mocked with slurs and insults that I learned to turn into comedy – but I was never invited to their Cub Scout meetings or their swim meets. The three boys were all terrific athletes and overachievers had surpassed me in almost every single category in life at the time – from sports to girls to popularity. When you’re 10-years-old, you feel as if you will never grow out of these situations.
One day in the lunchroom, I overheard the boys discussing their three-piece band that they were going to assemble to play the talent show. Being that my obsession with the Beastie Boys had grown to absurdly fanatical following their appearance in the hip hop movie “Krush Groove,” I somehow thought that if I could just be AdRock or Mike D I could climb out of this despair in which I had been wallowing for the majority of 1985-86. It certainly helped my cause to know that the Beastie Boys were actually Jewish… So, I offered up my services as a rapper and at first, they laughed.
“Dude our song is not a rap song” they said.
I said it didn’t matter because I could rap over anything.
Lo and behold, it worked. That night, I wrote eight of the worst hip-hop bars ever assembled and brought it to school to audition for my three classmates. They were blown away and my career as a performer started just as the 5th grade began to come to a close.
The first rush of adrenaline that you get when you walk off of a stage while wearing your coolest T & C Surf Design shirt and Gotcha shorts with a pair of knock off Ray-Ban Wayfarers you had to borrow from your mother, is a feeling that cannot be described. But any person who has ever performed live knows what it is… It’s the moment when you receive that first look from a girl in your class that says, “Oh my God you’re so much more than I thought you were!” In this case, it was Tina Jarem. Still, I was too afraid to be her boyfriend. She moved away that summer.
Music helped me turn my life and outlook around. If you look into the dead eyes of the kid in this photo, you can see how that experience helped turn me into a more positive person. Within a few months I had my first non-camp girlfriend, Amy. We only lasted about a week, but for me that’s all I wanted. It was like a résumé builder. I developed more humor more confidence and as luck would have it even grew a few inches by the next year.
That summer at camp my longtime counselor Mark took me under his wing as his ‘project’ hoping to develop me into a ladies man. Looking back, it seems weird that he would spend 30 minutes doing my hair before Shabbat services on Fridays. I guess he wanted to make sure I looked ‘fresh.’ With gallons of Dep Gel being slathered into my “never wanted to spike up hair” – I was finally able to get it somewhat reaching towards the sky. Only later, when my hair went curly, did I realize that I had always had wavy hair and that a spike haircut doesn’t look too great when you’re 10-years-old and trying to look like Billy Idol.
When sixth grade came to a close, we reformed the band. The baseball cards took a backseat a couple years later when the guitar was picked up and I suddenly discovered all elements of performing.
Today, at 46, looking back at that photograph of that lost child makes me think of my own children today. I can often spot in a family photo my son’s eyes adrift, looking like there’s no reason for him to be there. My daughter occasionally blinks on purpose to ruin a picture too – the way I did many times before as a kid. The only advice I can try to give my children is that it all gets better and that they need to try new things or else nothing will ever change. I never say that they have to stick with those things, but one of them will hopefully catch their attention and change their lives the way that music did for me on that talent show night in Tucson, Arizona.
I’m not sure why I wrote this today other than the fact that I’m getting older and I think you start to look back at moments in your life where things change. As your own parents get older you start to think about how innocent it all was back then and how we all grow up so quickly and what really matters is love, care, kindness and friendship.
I still keep in touch with those guys from the band even though they have all gone onto different pursuits. I’m still releasing music, however, even though not many people listen to it. It’s still therapy. It is hands down the best medicine that there is and it comes out whenever I am lucky enough to perform live with my current band.
My only regret? I wish I still had that cloud shirt so I could wear it on stage…
Zach recently began shooting a multi-episode series for History Chanel – where Zach travels deep into the heart of America to find the most unique and unusual people, jobs, locations and history he can find! Produced by Bullet Point Films, expect the series to premiere on TV and online in late 2017 or early 2018! Here’s a sneak peak of Zach at Rhinebeck Aerodrome in upstate New York and in Grand Teton National Park… Look for him on the road!
By Zach Selwyn
Yesterday, while nursing a mild hangover brought on by my reckless quarantine red wine intake, I found myself fondling myself in the middle of a 14-person ZOOM business meeting.
Ohhh boy. Hang on… Let’s analyze this for what it is…
The team I am currently working with was all in pajamas, hats and glasses – sporting unkempt beards and yelling at their kids to stop interrupting their video calls. Our hair had been laid to waste by weeks of barber shop closure. The ladies passed on their morning makeup and contact lenses for more natural headbands and eyeglasses… Others had pets jumping around living rooms and husbands yelling about burnt toast from other rooms… and one guy did not mute his video microphone when he yelled, “FUCK OFF I’M ON THE PHONE” at his six-year-old.
I understand. These are tough times.
Anyway, as we were discussing a podcast I am currently working on for our company – I noticed that for a good majority of the meeting I had been sort of… playing with my penis beneath the camera lens.
Yeah. Not sure why I was doing it, it was just one of those “personal moments” where I probably was up way too early, taking advantage of my comfortable sweatpants and recovering from some weird dream where I fantasized about maybe LEAVING my house during the day… I wasn’t focused on the meeting at all, in fact I was muted (thankfully) and just sort of having one of those “moments” that I’m sure we have all had recently… I wouldn’t call it a weakness, necessarily – it’s just a need to FEEL SOMETHING.
After realizing what I was doing, I quickly discontinued my Zoom video stream claiming I had a “parent-teacher conference” and did 25 push-ups.
During this quarantine, like most fathers, I have two kids in my house fighting over bandwidth and laptops and TV and all I want to do is watch The Last Dance on ESPN and drink until I pass out and somehow do some sort of coherent podcast episode the next day.
Whatever the case, those preceding paragraphs you just read were all I have managed to come up in regards to my short stories… The thing is – I am not that concerned. Why? Well, look… I used to be a pretty prolific short story writer. I have published (Online) over 250 stores since about 2001. But recently, I just haven’t felt the passion… I mean, I HAVE been writing, but it’s not like I really have any actual ‘put together’ or ‘completed’ short stories as of yet… but in my mind they are coming. At least I think they are… Well, maybe.
What I have really been writing somewhat prolifically are TITLES to stories I would love to write should this quarantine ever end …and I ever feel like putting the written word out to the public again.
Now, my old writing professors would have asked me why I haven’t been writing and finishing these short stories… Of course they would have been asking me that question in the 90’s when people still paid for the written word… But the answer is mainly – for one – that nobody cares or gives a shit about anything but survival right now. Also? in reality, every time I post a new story it hits the internet and about 500-1000 people read it. Maybe 40 of those readers comment on it and tell me how great it is and then nothing happens until I get a cease and desist lawsuit threatening to sue me for $900 because I used a photo of a mushroom that I borrowed off of Google Images in a blog post. (Yes, this is true. A company tracked me down, demanded $900 and threatened further legal proceedings for using an image of a fucking image that some Danish photographer took in the first in 1998. )
This was before quarantine, when I had maybe $750 in the bank. I never paid the company. I’m now guessing that Covid-19 furloughed those cockroaches back to the unemployment line where they now search for answers to explain to the Government how they worked as Soul Sucking Jizz Stains for living… and now they need a bail out.
They’re probably asking for $20 million, like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse received. (By the way – maybe Ruth’s Chris will spend some of that money to change the horrible name of their restaurant. I mean what is a “Ruth’s Chris?” It sounds like a toothless kid asking for her teeth back on Christmas Day. “All I want for Ruth’s Chris is my Two Front Teeth…“)
Look, I consider myself very lucky. In my life – writing has actually worked for me on occasion. I recently optioned one of my short stories as a screenplay to a pretty fantastic independent film company… but in the end it ended up resulting in two years of work on a film that never got made, which is really what you hear in Hollywood all the time, but I’m not upset about that- I’ve been in this business a long time. I mean listen… The first script I wrote in college was called Wedding Crashers. It had been read by a lot of people, but when the Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn film came out I had my first taste of “What-the-fuck-is-this-town?”
Another time, a website that published first person essays offered me $250 for a story about the Great Wolf Lodge that I still feel is the funniest thing I have ever written … The thing was, they told me to cut 400 words out of it. I told them to fuck off and retained my rights to the story. By the way? A grand total of 47 people commented on that post.
But fuck it, it’s a new world, a new normal… whatever the fuck this is. I’ve been busy writing scripts for podcast comedies, jokes for projects and animated sitcoms that may never see the light of day. But, as I said – I have also been writing titles for a book of QUARANTINE ESSAYS…
And as of today – here is my working list of titles.
…And Other Quarantine Essays by ZACH SELWYN
“I Thought I had Enough Booze for Three Weeks… I Said on Day Four.”
“I Dunno, a Wife Swap Might Not be the WORST Idea, and other Reasons I’m Sleeping on the Couch…”
“Don’t Trim Your Toenails While Inebriated.”
“My Conspiracy Theory Friend Explains it All”
“My son is 13. We had “the talk.” It wasn’t about sex or pregnancy…. It was about “How to hide your porn history using private browsing.” #NewNormal”
“Divorce on Pause… One Friend’s Living Hell Awaiting a Legal Separation”
“Why am I Googling My Exes?”
“Finding’ a Jerkin Window… an Impossible Task”
“I’m Committing Suicide, Dad… And Other Things I heard When the WiFi went Out.”
“Fuck if I get Sick. I’m Going to the Store for Beer and Easter Candy… One Dad’s Adventure.”
“Alexa, Play Anything but Ed Sheeran.”
“My Kid Goes to School on the Same Laptop I Googled ‘Hot Girl Gets Blasted by Stepdad’ on Yesterday.”
“Yeah, it’s a Breakfast Beer… Big Deal…”
Oh…. By the way. I’m Repped by WME.
Reach out if you’re interested in reading the rest of my essay collection…
THE LAST BACHELOR PARTY * By ZACH SELWYN
Last week, I received an email invitation to the bachelor party for a guy at work I barely know. His name is Nick. He’s 33 and marrying a nurse named Rachel. The wedding is in Woodland Hills in October and the bachelor party was being planned by his younger brother. How I made the bachelor party invite list, I have no idea. Nick and I aren’t particularly close and we barely acknowledge each other on the set of the TV show we work on. We’ve shared a few beers on weekends and a YouTube video or two, but to say we’re even that close would be a stretch. Still, I’m 37. I have two kids under six. I pass out nightly at 9:47 while watching SportsCenter. I pee sitting down at night because it’s more comfortable. I immediately made an executive decision. I am GOING to that bachelor party.
In the not-so-recent past, I would have declined the invitation on sight. However, I am now looking at this bachelor party as my last chance to really do something crazy. Be it Las Vegas, Cabo San Lucas or even a local pub crawl around Hollywood, I am GOING. Yes, I am going.
See, amongst my closest friends, my bachelor party is collectively known as the “worst bachelor party of all time.” Celebrated in 48 beer and whiskey-drenched hours in Las Vegas in early Fall, 2004, 15 of my friends from all different times of my life fought over where we should eat, argued about which strip club we should peruse and complained about my lack of participation in the “Bachelor Scavenger Hunt” game they put together a few nights before.
In their defense, it wasn’t their fault. It was MINE. I was so infatuated with my fiancee that I refused to do anything that might be considered crossing the line. I turned down my buddy Ari’s offer to pay $500 for me to have a double naked lap dance from two Russian sisters in a private room where “anything goes.” I decided to turn down the hits of pure MDMA my buddy Derek brought – opting to drink Miller Lite instead. I even had a chance to bite sushi off of the naked body of a gorgeous Japanese woman – but opted to use chopsticks instead. I was a downer the entire weekend – but in my mind I was preserving the sanctity of my upcoming marriage and honoring the woman whose hand I would slip a ring upon.
Now, looking back at that Las Vegas weekend nearly eight years later, I can’t believe how STUPID I was.
Dumb, dumb dumb, stupid dumb. What was I thinking? I guess at the time, instead of enjoying the 21-year-old stripper attempting to grind my crotch into sand during the song Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue, I was thinking about the joy my fiancee and I shared when I proposed to her. When the guys all did shots of a scary looking drink known as an “Adios Motherfucker,” I passed – afraid of puking or getting too drunk and upsetting my fiancee. I was in a protected zone. A zone not unlike the one Ed Helms has in The Hangover films. I was, literally, a huge God-damned pussy.
The point of this story is to kindly offer up advice to all prospective husbands out there planning a big blow-out bachelor party. My advice? Ask your fiancee if you can POSTPONE your bachelor party until you are about eight years into your marriage. Trust me, you need it a lot more than you did a month before your wedding day. If I could gather my buddies again and go BACK to Las Vegas for my bachelor party today? FORGET IT. Those two Russian strippers? Puddy in my hands. Derek’s MDMA? Swallowed. And that naked sushi dinner? Let’s just say I would have been balls deep in yellowtail. I’d give one of my children to have those opportunities again. Because as you get older, become a parent and a responsible adult, those little hedonistic moments you used to take for granted never happen anymore. Case in point? Last Tuesday I literally snuck out of my house after my wife and kids went to bed to go to Yogurtland. FUCKING YOGURTLAND.
Two old college buddies, Ryan and a guy who went by the nickname The Sauce, were behind my “Bachelor Scavenger Hunt.” They created an elaborate list of activities I had to accomplish before the night was through. If I got 75% of them, I’d reach “Legendary Bachelor Status.” 50% meant I was an “Accomplished Bachelor.” 25% meant I was deemed “Worthy.” By the end of the night, I completed 2% of the activities on the list. The worst score in the history of their Bachelor Party game. I was not ashamed back then. I even took pride in my refusal to play along with games like “Grab a Stranger’s Tits.” However, every time I think about my pathetic score, I am dying for a shot at redemption.
The one game I did decide to play along with was called “Bird on a Wire.” It required my using my forearm as a “shelf” of sorts to a girl with large breasts. The boobs rest on your arm like a Falcon on a leather gauntlet preparing to be hoisted into flight. You hold the pose for three seconds and your friends check the activity off of their list. Well, directly following a few beers at a casino bar in the Palms Casino, we found a willing participant. I slid my arm beneath her heaving mammaries and held it for three seconds. My friends applauded. The sheer shame of my activity hung heavily over my head for the rest of the night. So much so, that when the rest of the activities came out, I turned them all down in fear of the guilt I would carry with me forever. Jump in the Caesar’s Palace fountains? Uhhm, no. Start a food fight at a buffet? Forget that. Pose with a fully-clothed girl in the “Reverse Cowgirl” position on top of a limousine? Get the fuck out of here. I had done the “Bird on a Wire” thing, and I was retiring from the game. Disappointed, Ryan and the Sauce mumbled about my lack of participation throughout the rest of the night.
Why men have to engage in the most primitive and testosterone-laden activities as a way to celebrate their upcoming nuptials, didn’t make any sense to me at the time. I thought the women I knew- like my wife – had done it right… They chose a select, mellow location – like vineyard or a boutique hotel in Palm Springs – and treated themselves to massages and five-star dinners . They got their nails and toes done and wisely spoiled themselves while feverishly flipping through US Magazine and gossiping about reality TV. The craziest thing they did was sip Mojitos through “penis straws.”
My friends all wanted to gamble, drink, drug, bang and eat. When my brother caught me texting my wife that I missed her from a bar at 10:30 at night, he promptly took my cel phone and told me I was not allowed to use it the rest of the trip. I was miserable, and only half-wishing that I was in Sonoma County with my wife at a spa retreat. So, I did what I know how to do best: I drank through it.
Don’t get me wrong. Many women out-party the men at bachelorette parties. About three years ago, in Lake Tahoe for a gig with my band, six jiggly 20-somethings streaked across the stage I was playing on while wearing condoms in their hair and t-shirts that read “Buy us a shot, She’s tying the knot!” These grotesque partying wildebeests proceeded to do Jaegermeister shots on top of the bar, flash their shaved Britney’s to everybody willing to take a peak and make out with any college kid able to take his mind away from Beer Pong. It reminded me of the terrific term my old friend, the late comedian Greg Giraldo coined when describing a pack of drunk bachelorettes. He called them “A gaggle of squawking twats with their A Hard Man is Good to Find t-shirts.” Perfect.
At the end of Saturday night at my bachelor party, my old friend Rick threw a punch at my buddy Dave while we were in the after hours shit-show known as “Drai’s.” The argument was over who was talking to the hot waitress first, even though both men were married at the time. It was a weird scene and made everybody uncomfortable – but no one more than me, suddenly forced to break up a fight between a friend from college and a friend from work. Two guys I had known forever, but two guys who were also married. My first thought was, “Why would a married guy even hit on a waitress?” Now, eight years into my marriage, I totally understand. It has nothing to do with actually sleeping with another woman, it has to do with seeing if you can still flirt. It has to do with seeing if you still have GAME. It has to do with hoping that your slight post-wedding weight gain and thinner hairline affects your ability to be desired by someone of the opposite sex. It’s why my grandfather held the country club waitress around the waist while ordering a pastrami sandwich and why my stepfather recently told a hostess at a Mexican Restaurant to “bend over, he was driving her home.”
I cant make this stuff up.
On the flip side of things, it goes the same for my wife and her friends. The women who spent their bachelorette weekends at the spa now have similar thoughts about what they would have done differently as well. I asked my wife what the biggest difference would have been during her wine tasting weekend. Without hesitation she said, “There would have been a lot more cock.” I am so glad we’re married.
Yesterday, Nick’s brother sent out an official group email to the bachelor party. Turns out, he rented a cabin in Big Bear and wants to spend the time hiking, barbecuing and drinking local micro-brews. Nick seemed to applaud the situation, and even sent out a follow-up email stating “Thank GOD were not doing it in Vegas!” I suddenly slunk low in my desk chair. What? No Vegas? What are we gonna do in the woods, trust-building exercises? Fishing? Pinning Weeblos badges on each other? Fuck that.
My one shot at redemption was shattered. My ego deflated. I replied to the email by saying that I had a “family thing” to do that weekend and I couldn’t make it. After all, if I’m gonna go camping, I’m taking my son and daughter with me. I don’t want to go play “Ookie-Cookie” with nine dudes I barely know in a cabin in the woods. To tell you the truth, I was horribly disappointed in Nick. I even emailed him and told him so. I told him that someday he’d look back on his bachelor party and want a re-do. He’d want the strippers and the drugs and the precarious situations. He’d want a memory of a final throw-down together with his friends that defiled humanity as we know it. I urged him to change his plans and go to Sin City. Reno. Even fucking Laughlin. His stance was strong. Big Bear it was.
So, I’m no longer going to Nick’s bachelor party. The sad thing is, after Nick – I don’t have many single friends left. The one wild card is my younger brother, who is still unmarried. If I can convince him to go to Vegas, I might have a shot at reclaiming my manhood. Then again, he’s an outdoorsy guy, so a Big Bear situation might present itself again. Nonetheless, until he gets engaged, I will be forced to celebrate my adulthood with my children, going to the park, the beach and the mall for recreation. I will find my kicks by running on a treadmill rather than “making it rain” at a strip club. And I’ll be cheering on YMCA youth basketball games rather than playing “Quarters” on a barstool.
And if all else fails, there’s always Yogurtland…
ZACH SELWYN * August 23, 2012