What do you know that’s larger than life?
No, not an elephant. And don’t you even talk to me about sperm whales.
I am thinking of a person — one, with a story as fascinating as the kind of music he makes. And now, allow me to introduce Sir Ivan Wilzig, aka Sci-Fi Channel’s Mr. Mitzvah, aka Peaceman of the Peaceman Foundation, a private nonprofit supporting an array of charities dedicated to fighting hate crimes and treating the victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sir Ivan, the stage name of this ebullient and remarkable man, is an eldest son of multi-billionaire Siggy B. Wilzig, the very first Auschwitz survivor to come to the US after WWII who ended up taking over two publicly traded firms, an oil company, and a bank, while never forswearing his wide-ranging philanthropic interests. And in Sir Ivan’s case, nature certainly hadn’t rested on its laurels in the offspring.
Having earned a prestigious law degree and for 20 years having sat on the board of his father’s bank, Sir Ivan turned his back on his illustrious career and took up something that had to have been on his mind since he’d sung in chorus as a child, apprenticed with a well-known cantor, and participated in drama productions during his college years. Guessed what it is yet?
If you are one of a million unique visitors to the YouTube home of Sir Ivan’s first music video, the Big Brother-inspired single "For What It’s Worth" remade in Sir Ivan’s own inimitable rocktronica style, you’ve undoubtedly said "music" — and you were right.
But did you guess that 100% of the proceeds from Sir Ivan’s album are going into the Peaceman foundation? And did you guess that the caped crusader of "For What It’s Worth" spent the lion’s share of our chat discussing his family’s efforts regarding saving the rainforest and quoting me the little-known statistics on PTSD and its sometimes lethal effect on American soldiers?
Apparently, Sir Ivan said, more of our men and women in uniform commit suicide on American soil upon returning from Afghanistan and Iraq than had died in both combined during combat. There is no known cure for the disorder, but there are treatments, truly life-saving ones – and not everyone who needs them has access. With Peaceman’s tireless efforts, quite a lot more will have received treatment – and will continue to do so.
That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other side of Sir Ivan – the one responsible for the 12,000 square foot Castle, a piece of architectural and designer art, having sprung up in the Hamptons, New York to rival Hugh Hefner’s famed Playboy mansion. Or, for that matter, the grand – and oversold to the point of attendees sneaking in inside the trunks of Rolls Royces – charity parties being thrown on the gorgeous estate that hosted celebrities, fire breathers turning the water of the pool into a lake of fire, and musicians belting out techno-flavored "Hava Nagila" (in honor of Sir Ivan’s character, Mr. Mitzvah, having been chosen out of 10,000 hopefuls by Stan Lee himself to join the cast of Sci-fi Channel’s Who Wants to be a Superhero?).
Or Sir Ivan’s chihuahua, Chiquita, going around in a cape matching the Peaceman’s own. You see, having lost 59 of his relatives to the Nazi regime and now, tirelessly working to reduce violence in the world and prevent something similar from ever happening again, Sir Ivan IS Peaceman. And Chiquita, “like a banana”, Sir Ivan joked, is right there to help him along.
I can’t, also, forget his having climbed up the fire escape ladder into the Kentucky Derby Billionaire’s Club for a tête-à-tête with the then Vice President of United States. Or Sir Ivan’s new reality show, Peaceman, being shopped around by a team of superproducers.
What can I say? I had been awed. There are so many facets to Sir Ivan. But I had one last question to ask. A man who has everything, has done everything, is there anything left to do for this extraordinary person?
Turns out, Sir Ivan hadn’t yet seen all the seven wonders of the world. And though having already performed to a crowd of 15,000, he wants to touch a whole stadium-full with his catchy remakes of '60s legacy songs in his debut album I Am Peaceman coming out in time to commemorate the cultural phenomenon that was the first Woodstock.
“I’m here,” he said. And though some of the original songwriters who had breathed life into such masterpieces as "Imagine" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" aren’t with us anymore, this makes Peaceman all the more determined to keep changing the world with his phenomenal philanthropic drive and his unique sounds.Powered by Sidelines