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Andrew Bonazelli: A comeback Philly can get behind

The protagonists of Bonazelli’s latest novel are drunk, violent, out-of-work action stars.

When Philadelphian Andrew Bonazelli isn't working as the managing editor for music magazines Decibel and Magnet, or as the copy editor for urban-environmentalism magazine Grid, he spends his time contemplating the oft-overlooked charms of action movie stars. "The first six Steven Seagal and the first seven or so Jean-Claude Van Damme movies should have Criterion Collection boxes," says Bonazelli. "I've always found both of their personas -- the elocution, the attire, the signature moves -- mind-blowingly surreal."

In fact, Bonazelli loves Seagal and Van Damme so much that the two protagonists in his new book, "DTV" -- as in, "direct-to-video" -- are loosely based on them.

In his fourth book, Bonazelli tells the story of two washed-up, out-of-work fortysomething action stars who spend their days chugging cheap beer, snorting cocaine and getting into fistfights until a new script finally lands on their doorsteps. A powerful friendship develops between the men as they desperately search for something, anything, to do now that their bodies are sagging and fresh-faced 20-year-olds dominate the action movie market.

"Everyone in Philly knows the overriding theme to Rocky Balboa," says Bonazelli. "Screw getting older and keep doing your thing until you can't do it anymore. A big impetus for this novel is exploring whether or not your 'thing' sucked in the first place and is even worth revisiting."

If you go




Bonazelli debuts the book at Thursday night's release party (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) at 12 Steps Down (831 Christian St.), where the winner of an arm-wrestling competition will go home with a copy of "DTV."