Intelligentsia Coffee - Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Victor Mazzone is an infectious, enthusiastic presence. He has an unconventional debonair reserve that is slightly unnerving, but just a few moments in his company, you’ll discover an intoxicating charm of The South… and more. He is an expert opera singer and Hoverboard rider, but he’s no social-media veteran. Instead, he seems almost lost in the ever-changing digital daze. But, that’s part of his hard-to-place appeal. We strolled down Sunset Boulevard and stopped at Intelligentsia Coffee to take in the setting Silver Lake sun and chat about being a hipster-but-barely.
What brought you to LA?
My decision to come to LA was an unexpected one. I went to school to study Opera, mainly. And, somewhere along the way, I got sucked into the musical theatre program for better or for worse. It was looking like I was going to move to New York - that’s what everyone in my program was doing. But I got burnt out on musical theatre and wanted to branch into other artistic arenas, so I came to LA for a week to visit a friend who was living in Hollywood at the time. This was a week before I graduated from Northwestern, it was during June gloom. I had never been to Los Angeles, so I came to see if I could tolerate the city and what it felt like to be here. And, then, pretty much on a whim, I said, “Fuck it, I’ll just move to LA.” I didn’t have any prospects, didn’t have an agent, didn’t have anything lined up. My grandmother bought me a car to drive out here. I knew I wanted to be a performing artist. And, I knew that I didn’t want to focus on Opera or musical theatre, so I decided to pursue TV and film.
How do you define yourself career wise?
Now? (Laughs) Usually it’s a long-winded statement. I guess I should be able to answer that question more easily? The most succinct version is “performing artist”. Or, I could say, “Hi I’m Vic, I’m an actor.” I think the more accurate description is performing artist. Or else, it’s, “I’m an actor, a classical singer, I also produce…” It’s too much.
Have you ever been called a hipster?
Hmmm. Yes, but not by anyone who knows me well. I’m not offended by the moniker, but I also don’t identify with it.
What does being a Millennial mean to you?
(Laughs) God, there are so many stereotypes about being a Millennial that… (Sighs) Well, I identify with some of them. What does it mean to me? I think we were brought up in an interesting time, before cell phones and the internet. We are sort of the last generation to witness the transition into the completely smart-phone, internet dependent age. So, we are in an interesting position. And, in some ways, I feel like I am a complete luddite. And, I want to shun being trapped in my phone all of the time because I catch myself being dependent on it. For the next generation, there’s no concept of the world without the modern luxury and convenience of being able to pull out a device and have everything at your fingertips.
How do you feel connected to your generation?
I have this push and pull of often feeling like I masquerade or try to be a part of my generation more than I actually am. Innately, my temperament or spirit or whatever-you-want-to-call-it is in a way kind of old fashioned. (Laughs) Things like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - I participate on a very minimal level. And, not that that is a sign of me being connected to my generation or not because social media doesn’t necessarily define our generation, but I do find that sometimes I feel a sense of -- not a compulsion or like I’m missing out -- but sometimes I find myself trying to participate in those experiences and then I feel like I didn’t do it right or that I missed the point. (Laughs) When I see someone with a beautifully curated Instagram, I can acknowledge that there is substance and kind of an art behind it. I don’t have the interest or the patience to participate on that level, but I don’t think that it’s without merit.
What do you like about living in Silver Lake?
I have lived in Silver Lake for the past five years, and I like it how it’s situated between Elysian and Griffith Park. There are all kinds of great bars, restaurants, and over-priced clothing stores. And I live walking distance from a 99-cent store. They have everything.
What are your favorite spots in Silver Lake?
Cafecito Organico. Pazzo Gelato. Silver Lake Ramen, I have it weekly - always take-out.
How do you get around the city?
I have a car. I drive an automobile. It is an absolute piece of shit. I need to purchase a new one, but I don’t want to right now.
Do you see yourself staying in LA?
Umm… There’s not really a city in the US that I could imagine living in full-time other than LA. As long as I’m working in film, I will have a place to come home to in LA. But, I like to move around. I like to travel.
What have you been working on recently?
I have been working on the first stage adaptation of Frozen. It’s being produced by Disney. I was involved from its inception in a workshop format last year, and all of the Disney suits loved it and said here’s all of the money and make a full-scale production. We started rehearsals in March, and we opened in late May. It’s been getting a lot of attention for it’s color blind casting, which the director aggressively fought for. Liesl Tommy, look her up. She’s a dream of a woman. I work three or four days a week; it’s very flexible. I play Kai, the Head of House. He’s the Carson of Downton Abbey if you will. I really couldn’t ask for a better day job that affords me the flexibility to pursue other work while still performing and being on stage with wonderful actors in front of 8,000 screaming children on a daily basis. I’m also producing a couple of shorts, and desperately trying to get through post on a feature. There’s no money left!
What’s your favorite thing in your closet?
My toucan suit. It’s a full, multi-colored bird suit complete with beak and wings. You’d be surprised how many occasions I’ve found to wear it. Or maybe you wouldn’t be.
What does a typical Sunday look like for you?
Wake up. Make the coffee. Drive to church in Beverly Hills. Every Sunday.
I warm up. I sit in the choir loft. And, when they tell me to sing, I sing! They even pay me!
I get home about 12:30pm. I relax and do Sunday things. Maybe go to the park, maybe play some tennis. Have a Vinho Verde mimosa. Then I watch Game of Thrones with all of my friends. And, I have one friend who always makes a mean crumb cake, her grandmother’s recipe. She brings it every week.
What’s your favorite film?
Oh come on… (Laughs) My favorite film as a child was Hook. I still say today that it holds up in my top five.
What’s your favorite record?
My absolute favorite record is one that I acquired about a year ago. It’s called Music for a Medieval Day. My other is Echoes from a 15th Century French Cathedral.
Who would you invite to dinner living or dead?
Oh God. It’s dinner… honestly, just to satisfy my curiosity, I’d have to invite Michael Jackson. There are just too many unanswered questions. I have a whole list. And, I assume if I invited him to dinner it would be from the grave. So, he would have already lived and died, and I would be able to talk to him with full knowledge of his life and death. And, I could share with him that I secretly visited his ranch and swam in his pool. No, I was not invited as a child.
Where do you want to travel to?
I want to go to Iran.
What inspires you?
People. The people in my life and the people I haven’t met yet. The relationships that I have and cherish and want to nurture and support. I feel excited to get up and make things with my friends. That is my religion if you will. It’s to have meaningful relationships and connections with people on a daily basis. And to use theatre and art as a way to share that with others.
What is your astrological sign and does astrology play a part in your life?
My astrological sign is Scorpio, moon in Libra, and also Libra rising. I enjoy astrology. I don’t think it plays a part in my life necessarily in terms of determining anything. I’ve been told I am a textbook Scorpio. I don’t think that I’m manipulative. It’s fun, pleasant conversation. Also a scapegoat for bad behavior.
What is your Myer-Briggs personality type?
What are your favorite qualities in a human being?
Loyalty. Being genuine. I don’t like facades and affectations that guard from the actual meat of the person. What else do I value? Playfulness. And a healthy dose of optimism rooted in reality.
What is your idea of happiness?
Oh my. (Sighs) My idea of happiness… I think that it’s changed over the years, and the answer might be slightly different in five or ten years. The thing that won’t change is that I want to be surrounded by people that I love and trust and admire. And, I want to wake up everyday with something to look forward to in terms of the people in my life, the work I’m doing. And, I want to feel like it means something. If I can manage to maintain all of those things, I think I will be happy. Also, I want to be able to pay my rent.
What is your favorite color and flower?
My favorite color is a shade of blue, let’s say turquoise. Maybe cerulean? No let’s not get carried away. My favorite flower is probably the bougainvillea.
Who is your favorite artist?
Honestly, the first thing that came to my mind was Tilda Swinton. Let’s just leave it at that.
Do you have a motto?
To the victor go the spoils.