Burbank, CA (PressExposure) November 04, 2008 -- The next time someone calls you âChopped Liver,â you may want to thank them for the compliment. After all, according to The Jewish Zodiac, âyouâre always welcome at the holidays. And Bagelâs got your backside.â
The Jewish Zodiac creator Seth Front, a veteran comedy screenwriter, has made deli food hip and trendy with his tongue-in-cheek parody of the Chinese Zodiac that playfully combines iconic delicatessen imagery with pop culture sensibility.
The collection of twelve signs, based on birth year, are each represented by a popular deli food, such as Latke, Blintz, Egg Cream, and everyoneâs favorite, Chicken Soup. Each sign personifies the foodâs characteristics as well as explores compatibility with other signs. Hence, the spicy Pastrami is compatible with a salt-witted Pickle, its perpetually loyal sidekick.
If Front is correct, Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt, both Pastrami, are âalways smokinâ and ready to party.â Katie Holmes, a Lox, is âthin and rich and very high-maintenance.â Ryan Seacrest, born under the Year Of The Schmear, âblends well with others but often spreads himself too thin.â
How did he come up with the idea? "One day, I was laboring on a rewrite at a Chinese restaurant, and I looked at the Chinese Zodiac placemat in front of me," said Front, the son of a rabbi. "Jews love Chinese food," he thought to himself. "Why isnât there a Jewish Zodiac?â
Front immediately returned to his office and wrote the text for Bagel: âYouâre pliable and always bounce back, although you feel somethingâs missing in your center. If this persists, get some therapy. Compatible with Schmear and Lox. Latke and Knish, not so much.â
Front shared his kitschy concept with friends who immediately deemed it hilariousâand marketable. âI knew from my years of pitching scripts in Hollywood that I had a winner,â he said. But not until a few non-Jewish associates flipped over the concept did he realize his idea had wider appeal. âThese foods have transcended their Jewish roots and are now part of American popular culture,â Front observes. âThe trick was to make my products hip and trendy â as appealing to the public as the foods themselves.â
A chance introduction to renowned artist Michael Doret, who has illustrated six covers for Time Magazine and includes among his clients the NBA, MLB, Disney and Nike, resulted in the notable â50s retroâ designs found on the t-shirts, infant onesies, kitchen magnets, and coffee cups available at http://www.jewzo.com/ .
âMichael Doret grew up in Brooklyn in the 1950s and 1960s, the era I wished to evoke," said Front. âHe took to the idea immediately, and drew upon images and memories from his own childhood. Michaelâs artwork evokes an era that meshed perfectly with my concept and text.â
The Jewish Zodiac will also expand into other ethnicities. "Next on the burner is The Italian Zodiac - with Italian foods like pizza and cannoli," Front says. "That will be followed by The Southern Zodiac, featuring Barbecue and Soul food, with The Hispanic Zodiac close behind."
Ever the comedian, Front says he realizes that The Jewish Zodiac isnât Einsteinâs Theory of Relativity, but then again, Einstein âprobably couldnât deliver a punch line.â
As for his Jewish Zodiac, Front says more than anything itâs about fun. âI get great joy seeing people look at the placemat and say, âWhat year am I? Oh, Iâm a Blintz!â They always say âthis is fun!â And if I can bring a little humor into peopleâs lives, well then, Iâm doing my job.â