Where's Zanta?

zantaI'm not sure I miss the guy, in fact I'm fairly certain I don't, but I'm still curious...

Where's Zanta these days?

I haven't seen the guy or read anything about him in at least a year.

Here's the doc about Zanta from Pietro Gagliano.

Here's a Valentine's Day card I cooked up in 2008.

Zanta

Is Zanta fulfilling his life-long dream of opening an ESL Ontario school? If you know where Zanta is these days and how he's doing, please update us here.


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Comments (6)

Teena

It's been a while since I've heard anything about him.

July 15, 2011 / 19:59

omid

I have been wondering the same thing myself forever. Spot on with the sentiment of not being sure whether he is missed or not. But still I too am curious about his whereabouts

July 18, 2011 / 15:22

pist_off_ryder

I want to know if Zanta is in the city so I can avoid him. I've had a couple of confrontations with him. Seen him scare the heck out of a 50 something year old woman on the bus and prevent her from getting away from him, AFTER getting in her face because she was too terrified to answer him. In my opinion, this guy is a threat to the general public, and I will do my best to avoid him. I will NOT, however, be bullied, alter my route or be afraid because of him. If he is fun with me - cool. If he is belligerent or confrontational, as he has been with me in the past - karateh CHOP!

September 26, 2012 / 17:02

Jimmy

I've met this Zanta before and he is a scum. The guy smokes weed ALOT and has sex with under age girls.

I last saw him on a website called blogtv where he was telling the chat mods he wasn't smoking weed and the girl he was with was over 18. What kind of guy calls a woman a girl? When I speak to a female I use the word woman and they're always over 18.

He then would go into other peoples chat rooms and harass him. Funny how when people would get death threats and being bullied by him no one from blogtv would do anything.

I don't know where he is now but I hope he is homeless and living on the streets somewhere.

October 10, 2012 / 06:15

Jimmy

Well I did a search for his full name and saw a 2 part short video about him and saw someone else just did a graphic novel about him.

About the youtube video I don't know where he's at but it sure looks ghetto a bit and in the video he has hair and is talking about his past life. I'm sure the guy is still scum and still acts a bit crazy.

Would like to know what this guy is really doing now. A short 2 part video just doesn't cut.

October 10, 2012 / 06:23

Zanta Update

David Zancai would not sit down and continued doing squats, grunting and grunting until his mother Lorna finally persuaded him to leave his apartment and go to the hospital.

Once she had him in the car, safely in the back seat, she felt some relief — some control.

“I just heard a bang and I looked back, and he wasn’t there,” Lorna said last week, shaking her head on the porch of her Etobicoke home with David by her side, recalling that day in 2008. “He’d jumped out of the moving car.”

Lorna rushed to her son’s aid, forcing him to wait for an ambulance. She then accompanied him to Toronto General Hospital, after which psychiatrists treated him at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

That day was the beginning of the end for Zancai’s notorious public persona: Zanta, a Santa-hat-wearing, shirtless character who roamed Toronto doing push-ups from 2004 to 2008.

Now 44, he is back living with his mother, where she gives him four pills a day to treat his schizophrenia and takes him to see a psychiatrist at St. Joseph’s once every three months. Zanta is deadened.

Zanta was born after Zancai fell 25 feet onto a staircase while working as a painter in 2000. Zancai suffered a brain injury and spent 23 days in a coma.

Once he recovered, Zancai, unemployed and receiving a monthly disability cheque from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, began roaming the TTC, muttering at people as he formed his Zanta persona.

In 2003, Zancai says police checked him in to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health after numerous run-ins with the TTC. Doctors told him he was bipolar, schizophrenic and a danger to himself.

Near Christmas 2004, he says, bringing a cigarette to his mouth, he attended a custody hearing regarding his 2-year-old daughter wearing a Santa hat in her honour.

When he lost custody, Zancai began running around Toronto yelling, “Yes, yes, yes,” and grunting, rolling his tongue, “Drrrrr,” over and over. “Merry Christmess,” he’d yell, wearing only boots, shorts and a Santa hat, while doing thousands of push-ups on his knuckles.

David wanted to make it known he’d unfairly lost his daughter, he says. He had fans — Facebook pages, a website with 100,000 hits — but also enemies.

Police would routinely arrest him during these performances, hold him at a station for a few hours and then let him go, he says, adding that he was charged with numerous TTC bylaw infractions, disturbing the peace and trespassing.

By 2008, he’d been banned from the TTC, around the CHUM building, from Dundas Square and Exhibition Place, due to probation orders, bail conditions and warnings that he’d be charged with trespassing.

When he broke his probation orders, he’d be dumped in the Toronto (Don) Jail, he says, remembering that he spent two birthdays there.

“I was a prisoner in my own city,” says Zancai, who has a large cyst under his ring finger from doing so many push-ups. “The more they were after me, the more I thought: You’re not going to stop me.”

Zancai, who just wanted to make his fans laugh, brightens as he remembers his three months on TV — in the background of television shows at the CHUM building.

“If (my mom) wouldn’t have interrupted me, this character would have been massive,” he says, grinning. He adds that he appeared on an episode of the Showcase show Kenney vs. Spenny.

“It was just getting bigger and bigger,” he says, holding his newest claim to fame, a graphic novel by Toronto cartoonist Jason Kieffer. “He calls me a living legend.”

Zancai laughs, patting a rounded belly where he once had a six-pack as Zanta.

“If I had kept going, Zanta would’ve been huge — I wouldn’t have a gut on me now, either,” he says. Zancai is a father of four, the oldest of them 22, with three mothers. “I miss it a lot.”

His mother shakes her head; now that Zancai is taking medication, she says, he won’t be doing his Zanta act again. They look at each other, his smile disappears, and they nod.

Lorna doesn’t like the way police handled her son, but officers aren’t doctors, she says; they were just doing their job. She just wishes it hadn’t taken jumping out of a moving car to get him the help he needed.

Lorna rubs his shoulder and goes back inside to fetch him another cigarette. A playful grin returns to Zancai’s face, the graphic novel still in his hands.

“I wasn’t hurting a fly and people were loving it. It sucks — all I do is sit here now,” says Zancai, adding his meds “knock” him out.

“I’m taking these medications — I don’t even need them,” he says. “I just take them to keep my mom quiet.”

October 12, 2012 / 18:26

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