The end of the alphabet

Well, the Latin alphabet as used for writing English. Its Ω is Z, my letter: [zɛd] most Anglophone places, [zi:] in Anglophone America (meanwhile, it’s [tsɛt] in the language of my grandparents). Suddenly relevant once again when I stumbled on the Z-named  disc jockey Zedd, who led me to other Z-names: the singer / songwriter Zee Ali, the transgressive filmmaker Nick Zedd, and the robotic entertainer David Zed.

There are more; these four share the characteristic that their Z-names are professional names they’ve adopted. Their birth names, in order: Anton Zaslavski, Izyan Alirahman, James Harding, David Kirk Traylor.

Zedd, just Zedd. From Wikipedia:

(#1) Zedd, keeping that hard-driving beat going

Anton Zaslavski (born 2 September 1989), known professionally as Zedd, is a German DJ, record producer, and songwriter. According to the world’s charts, Zedd’s most listened songs are “The Middle”, “Stay”, “Stay the Night”, “Clarity”, and “I Want You to Know”.

Zedd grew up and began his musical journey in Kaiserslautern, Germany. His stage name, Zedd, was derived from zed, the English pronunciation, barring American English, for the first letter of his surname, Z. In 2012, he released “Clarity” (featuring Foxes), which propelled him to mainstream success

Joni Mitchell from Borneo. From Wikipedia:

(#2) “I always say I write music that makes you feel like pancakes … Warm and cozy” – Zee Avi

Zee Avi (born Izyan Alirahman, also known as KokoKaina) … is a Malaysian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and ukulele player.

She is originally from Miri, located in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. She moved to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 12 and taught herself to play the guitar at 17. Avi played rhythm guitar in a couple of bands while in Kuala Lumpur before moving to London to study fashion design at the American InterContinental University. After returning from London she started writing songs.

They Eat Scum, Geek Maggot Bingo, War is Menstrual Envy, and more. From Wikipedia:

(#3) Photo of Nick Zedd by Richard Kern from 1984 (courtesy of Nick Zedd and Fales Library, NYU)

Nick Zedd ([born James Harding on 5/8/58 in Baltimore MD]) is an American filmmaker and author based in Mexico City. He coined the term Cinema of Transgression in 1985 to describe a loose-knit group of like-minded filmmakers and artists using shock value and black humor in their work. These filmmakers and artistic collaborators included Richard Kern, Tessa Hughes Freeland, Lung Leg, and Lydia Lunch. Under numerous pen names, Zedd edited and wrote the Underground Film Bulletin (1984–90) which publicized the work of these filmmakers. The Cinema of Transgression was explored in Jack Sargeant’s book Deathtripping (Creation Books)

Zed the robot. From Wikipedia:

(#3) David Trayler

(#4) David Zed

David Kirk Traylor [(born in Indianapolis IN on 10/28/60)], best known by his stage names David Zed and Mr. Zed, is an American mime, actor and singer, and comedian mainly active in Italy and the United States.

… David Traylor found success in the late 1970s performing “Zed”, a humanoid robot. His performance of Mr. Zed included mime work, such as shuffling his feet, moving his forearms rhythmically, and mechanically rotating his head.


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