#182: Peter Vack
Peter Vack on Subverting the Format, Following Trends, Being a Contrarian, and much more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Peter Vack to share a taste of his taste on Perfectly Imperfect.
Peter Vack is an actor, writer, director, and shitposter born and raised in Manhattan. But where do you begin with Peter Vack? Well, for starters, he’s acted opposite Julia Fox in PVT Chat (2020), directed by BODEGA guitarist Ben Hozie, and he’s starred in two cult classics; Assholes (2017), which Peter also directed, and Actors (2021), which was directed by his sister and frequent collaborator Betsey Brown. Vack’s also voiced characters such as Gary Smith in the PlayStation 2 game Bully and has proven himself as a master of shitposting with the accounts @themasterofcum, @taolincellectuals, and @actorscellectuals. And over the last few months he’s been teaching free acting classes every Sunday with @simonefilms. Peter is one of the most interesting talents of his generation, and lucky for us, he’s here to tell us what he’s into.
Without further ado
Peter Vack (instagram)
🏙️ 🕧 Times Square
Growing up on the Upper West (Upper Diane Wiest) Side of Manhattan, our apartment was close to Times Square. “How amazing,” I thought, “that this small area so close to where I live is also a place tourists come from all over the world to visit.” Times Square is where Broadway is and it’s a good snapshot of mainstream culture at any given moment. As a boy, I felt lucky to be able to walk through the square and enjoy the unique sights and sounds as part of my “ordinary day.” Later in life, it came as a surprise when I discovered people hating on Times Square. They felt that to identify as a “real New Yorker” was to despise Times Square. I believe being a “real New Yorker” is to adore Times Square. I suggest going alone. Sit on one of the new chairs. Gaze at the screens. Take a photo. Walk up the TKTS steps. Read. Write. Watch people. Like I always say, “If NYC were a face, Times Square is the lips, and we are frenching.”
🎭 Theater on Film and Tape Archive at The Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library
At the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library you can watch almost any theatrical production performed in New York City since 1970. Due to union laws, you can only watch a production once and must stay in the library’s viewing cubicles. Recently, I watched John C. Riley and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Sam Shepard’s True West. If you love theater, do yourself a favor and spend an afternoon watching an old production. I love theater and want new plays. I am imagining a burgeoning playwright creeping into the library to watch Meryl Streep in “Mouther Courage and Her Children” and going on to write their own Mother Courage (and casting me).
📱 -cellectuals accounts
Dean Kissick said these were “dead” last summer but that’s not true. I see them all the time. Niche accounts that beat a single subject into the ground. I hope the new generation of pics-artists who migrate to Urbit or whatever Web3 becomes keep up the cellectuals style post-erinos for as long as we’re not extinct.
🔄 Subverting the Format
I love when people do this whatever format they’re subverting. I thought I was going to try to do that with this article but Honor and Dasha told me I shouldn’t. And, last night I was “called out” for being too “ironic” so now is not the time to add any more potential fodder to the irony allegations. But, for all of you who have a format and the desire to subvert it, I can’t guarantee I’ll enjoy or understand what you’re doing, but I’ll appreciate/applaud the effort.
🍳 Fried Egg Sandwich on a roll.
It’s common to get an egg sandwich with cheese. I get mine without cheese and a little bit of mayo. A cheap and delicious breakfast.
The only thing I proselytize is stretching. Especially since all my peers are addicted to computer and phone. I see a great deal of back and neck pain in the future. Please, even if you find it boring, cringe, or annoying, stretch. Do whatever you can to make this part of your daily routine. If not, I guarantee you’ll spend more than half your life in physical pain. And, with all the potential sources of existential pain on offer, why not do your best to mitigate your inevitable physical demise as much as possible.
👷♂️ Doing your “work” every day
When I say “work,” I don’t mean your job. I mean spiritual or artistic work whatever that may be. Whole lotta folx wanna be artists and I don’t disapprove of that. It’s good people want to be “creative” even though it’s painful and most ideas are bad. If you have the desire to be “creative” (and maybe one day, featured in this very newsletter alongside these contemporary luminaries) you must do your work every day. If you do it every day, eventually you’ll have something resembling a body of work and maybe even mastery of a craft.
This is a sort of a cult I was born into but still believe in. Psychoanalysis isn’t therapy and finding a good psychoanalyst is as hard as finding a good artist. Most of you who think you’ve gone to therapy have never been to Psychoanalysis. Analysis was fashionable, then it wasn’t, then it was... now my feeling is it’s no longer fashionable. No matter, it’s an advantage to have dipped your toes into the psychoanalytic waters. I don’t think it makes you “annoying” or “bad at art, or whatever" that’s a cope employed by people who are resistant to productive regression on the grand ole couch.
😎 Cheap Sunglasses
I have one pair of expensive sunglasses I’ve had since 2012 but the anxiety of holding on to them for that long has definitely not been worth it. I no longer like the way they look. Cheap sunglasses can be as “good looking” as expensive ones and you needn't be as worried about them getting lost or damaged.
🏃♂️ 🧪 Pre Workout
I’m anti-Adderall for the most part. Probably one percent of people who take it actually “need” it. However, I am not anti-pre-work-out powder which is essentially a very high dose of caffeine, B12, and other nootropic-like ingredients punctuated by dashes. I use it as directed before the gym, but I think it’s okay to use recreationally like a very strong cup of coffee. It gives your mood a boost and the kind I have “MVPpre” by InnovaPharm doesn’t crash you like Adderall does.
👉 Following Trends
NGL I love trends. I love to follow them. Doing this newsletter is an example of this tendency in me. Following trends isn’t lame; it’s fun and can make you friends.
👈 Being a Contrarian
NGL I love being a contrarian. So, I was stuck, between my impulse to follow a trend and be a contrarian when deciding whether or not to write one of these lists. It’s enjoyable to be a contrarian. It can bolster your sense of self, lead to intense discussion, and also make you friends.
👨👩👧👧 Having Friends
I used to see myself as someone with very few friends and even made a little fetish out of the idea of being “a lonely guy.” That may or may not have ever even been true. It’s likely I always had friends but romanticized the idea of not having them. Now, I see myself as someone with friends and while it can be overwhelming in moments, it’s preferable to loneliness or romanticizing loneliness. Having friends/community is also healthier I am told than being alone. So, make friends, enjoy them, cherish them.
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