We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Vaccaro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Life is all about taking risks, challenging yourself. I have a tremendous amount of faith, and I trust the fact that no matter what happens, I’m safe and protected. If I’m being honest and authentic, if I have integrity, then all is well. And that frees me up to be able to jump into the unknown. And I always find that my instincts were correct. There is always something to learn, something to be gained. I don’t think we really grow unless we take risks. Sometimes there’s pain involved in taking risks, but I’m ok with that. It’s like building muscle. You have to tear your muscle apart in order for it to heal itself and grow stronger. It’s painful, but you’re so much better off in the end. If we do what’s safe, what’s comfortable, I think we really stop ourselves from truly living.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been doing this a long time. I started as a child actor in NYC. I think I got my first professional job when I was 8 years old. I did tons of theatre back then. I studied voice, dance, acting, piano and guitar and drums. My mother was incredibly supportive. I made the move out to LA after a film of mine, “Deleted Scenes,” in which I played a meth-addict, was released, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m most proud of the series I created, produced, co-wrote and starred in called “Child of the ’70s,” which you can find on Amazon. It’s a parody of/homage to sitcoms of the 1970s, and it has a ton of ’70s TV stars in it, including Ted Lange from “The Love Boat,” Carole Ita White from “Laverne and Shirley,” Susan Olsen, who was Cindy Brady, Beverly Sanders, who was in “Rhoda,” Amy Linker from “Square Pegs,” Lynne Marie Stewart, who played Miss Yvonne in “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” and many others. Ann Walker, the star of “Sordid Lives” is in it, too, alongside comedians Bruce Vilanch and Judy Tenuta, and the original cowboy from The Village People, Randy Jones. It was a tremendous experience for me to have something born in my head all of a sudden have a life of its own. Sending it out into the world is like letting go of your baby. It’s scary, but that’s why we do what we do, so that people will see it, and hopefully enjoy it. I have a major film coming out in June of this year called “The Other Side of Infinity,” a wild science-fiction directed by James Lay, and I actually just did a horror film, The True Blue Ripper, in which I play a really bad guy, which will be out in the spring.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love LA. I really do. I know a lot of New Yorkers come here and hate it, but not me. I fell in love instantly. I can’t stand winter, so the weather is perfect for me. And there’s no happier place for me than the beach. I have a favorite building I want to live in someday in Pacific Palisades, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. What a dream to be able to open your windows and see that every morning. I could sit on the beach and tan and watch the sunset every single day. And maybe people will think this is funny, but I love driving. I’m not crazy about traffic, of course, but I love being behind the wheel. I love to take weekend trips to Palm Springs and San Diego and Santa Barbara. The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is one of the craziest places, and I love going there. I’m a vegan, and LA is a great city for vegans. I can go anywhere and find delicious vegan eats. And I’m really digging Downtown these days. The more I learn of the history of the area, the more I love it. Some of the buildings there are absolutely beautiful. The Bradbury building, of course, right across the street from Grand Central Market, is stunning. I also adore The Magic Castle. How could you not love a building that has a ghost who plays the piano – and takes requests, an owl who answers all your questions, and a bar every 30 feet?! LA is filled with so many neighborhoods, I love exploring.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow, there are so many! Every day, I believe I am gifted with miracles. People come in and out of my life all the time who are signposts, leading me in different and new directions. People are miracles! People are gifts. It took me a long time to realize that, but once I did, my entire world view changed and opened up. I was married to a wonderful man named Jose-Luis Antonio Mojica, and he was instrumental in forcing me down a new, adventurous path. He’s no longer with us, unfortunately. He died in 2009, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, and thank him for being a part of my life. He was a chef, and he showed me that food is love, and he really taught me how to love. Before him, I was emotionally shut down, and he introduced me to a sensual world filled with love. And books! Reading. I love to read, and I do a lot of self-help books. A Course in Miracles was huge for me. So was The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz. The books of Eckhart Tolle, of course, and Elizabeth Gilbert. And Joan Didion. And this might blow your mind, but a huge influence on me was the Star Wars movies, specifically “The Empire Strikes Back,” which is a tremendously spiritual film. I’ll never for the rest of my life forget this scene between Yoda and Luke: Yoda: “My ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this cruel matter. You must feel the Force around you. Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.” Luke: “I can’t believe it.” Yoda: “THAT is why you fail. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I mean, how amazing is that?!
4 Blades Photo Bart Mastronardi