Zarzan, Closets

At Zarzan’s apartment in an old age home in suburban Norwalk, CT, I couldn’t help but notice the irony of where Zarzan lives juxtaposed with his distinctly exuberant, energetic and timeless spirit - odds are that he is the coolest person you will ever meet. Zarzan has no age and doesn’t give into labels of any kind and thus, he seems oblivious to society’s classification of his living quarters or anything else that he does. Before meeting up with him, I walked across the street into a café and ran into a design student sketching at a table who noticed me right away, as I felt oddly conspicuous such a uniform environment. When I mentioned that I was filming someone for my site on personal style, he knew exactly who my subject was. His face lit up when talking about how much he looked up to Zarzan for his extraordinary individuality and recalled many stories of his entrances into the various events around town. He said that everyone was either drawn magnetically to Zarzan and his complete disdain - in thought and appearance - for the homogeneity of our culture or they run the other way. He is the definition of a free spirit and for many, with his completely out of the box thinking and dressing, it can be too challenging to their very circumscribed lives. Zarzan’s bold and fantastical way of dressing and traveling - he drives around in a zebra painted van - makes him both a celebrity and a pariah in the suburbs. Housewives and kids wave at him and smile, loving how unique he is, yet he is often thrown out of bars and restaurants for appearing too extremely different. The total irony is that he is wearing the clothes from the local Goodwill, throwaway items of these very same people, he says. As with everything else, Zarzan is able to see the beauty and value of the unusual and exotic pieces that everyone else sees as too deviant. I was struck by how worldly, open, knowledgable and accepting Zarzan was. Despite the fact that he has not traveled the planet, he seems like a product of the universe. He attributes much of this to his dreams, which he calls astro-projections. He says that they are so vivid and magnificent beyond any feat or woman that exists on earth. Zarzan is one of the happiest people I have ever met and living proof that imagination is more important than knowledge. He believes that from imagination comes creation, and from creation comes joy: “God would have had to imagine before he could create.”

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