Jim Verraros Shows Us His LA
Presented by Las Vegas
Name: Jim Verraros
Profession: Actor/Recording Artist
City: Los Angeles
Relationship Status: In a relationship
Sexuality: Gay, duh! ;-)
Where is the best public place for a gay person to make out in Los Angeles?
The best PUBLIC place? Oh boy...there's a place you can park off of Mulholland Drive, at the top of the hill, where you can see the entire city at night. It's a pretty incredible view.
What are some of the things you love most about Los Angeles?
I love the fact that there's always something to do, or something exciting to see or experience. There's a vibe in Los Angeles that inspires you to work really hard for what you want.
What are some of your least favorite things about Los Angeles?
The people (especially the transplants) trying to be someone they think is better than their authentic selves. Yet, they don't realize the more you're true to yourself, the more you set yourself apart.
What gym do you like most in Los Angeles? Why?
The run-down ones that no one knows about. A gym should be a place where you can focus on yourself for that short time and not worry about how much you're sweating or how hard you're working.
What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends in Los Angeles?
I love Bossa Nova. Their food is unbelievable. I also love sushi, and Katana on Sunset or Sushi Roku are pretty excellent.
What are some great restaurants for a romantic gay date in Los Angeles? What about these restaurants appeals to you?
I really love the vibe of Il Sole in Los Angeles. It's quiet, intimate, and really lends to a conversation with your date.
What are your favorite gay bars and/or dance clubs in Los Angeles? What do you like about them?
I love The Abbey when it's not completely packed. Going there on a weeknight is a lot more enjoyable than on the weekends. I like Motherlode too because it's so NOT what you'd expect from an L.A. gay bar, but in a good way. It's a place where you can kick back, put a baseball cap on, and be yourself with a good group of friends.
What are your favorite gay parties or events in Los Angeles, if any? What is the crowd or scene like at those places?
I always love going to the Outfest celebrations because you're amongst great company and a lot of those people involved in the entertainment business are focused, and career-driven. You always meet great people, not to mention the films are so well done and put-together. It's amazing to meet so many people that are so incredibly talented, yet totally undiscovered by the mainstream outlets.
What is the gay community like in Los Angeles? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?
I think there's different scenes within the Los Angeles gay scene. In every city, there's going to be a scene that isn't so attractive, but it's all about choosing your friends wisely, and being in the company of people with like-minded goals. If you surround yourself with people who are grounded and motivated, you can never go wrong.
Are you involved with any LGBT community organizations in Los Angeles? Which ones? What do you like about those groups?
Unfortunately, I'm not involved with any organizations, although I've always wanted to be. I'd like to get more involved with GLAAD and GLSEN and more youth-oriented projects like The Trevor Project which does some amazing things for gay and lesbian youth.
What do you think of the annual LGBT pride celebration in Los Angeles? Do you usually attend? What are the highlights for you? What do you like least about it?
I performed one year back in 2005 when Deborah Gibson performed, and it was a lot of fun. However, I will never understand why Paris Hilton was chosen as the Grand Marshall of the Pride a year or two ago. I think that title should be given to a person that's currently active in supporting our community, or someone that's taken strides in elevating awareness for our community. I'm sure that Paris Hilton is a nice girl and all, and the crowd she drew was huge, I'm sure, but I haven't heard anything about what she's actually done for the gay and lesbian community.
Do you have a particular fashion style? Where do you shop for clothes?
I only purchase one brand of jeans: Diesel. Yes, they may be a tad on the pricey side, but I've had jeans that are four years old, and I still wear them. They've got a more tailored fit than most, and they're my absolute favorite. I'll usually shop at Bloomingdales, Metropark, or in Los Angeles, the Beverly Center. The Beverly Center has gotten me into a LOT of trouble.
Where do you go for other forms of entertainment -- live theater, concerts, movies, art exhibits? Are there any local gay performance groups, bands, or artists that you're a fan of?
For movies, I love the Arclight Theater. For concerts, I love The Roxy or the Viper Room. As far as local gay artists, I really enjoy the music of Shane Mack. He's really great and really talented.
If you had gay friends visiting from out of town for the first time, what are some "musts" that you'd recommend they see or do?
I'd take them to the beach, of course?Venice Beach in particular. Melrose Avenue, because there's a lot of fun and cool shops in that area, including some really neat vintage stores. I'd also take them to Bossa Nova, and drive through the Beverly Hills/Bel Air area just to see the homes in L.A. Santa Monica would be a must, and then at night, take them to bars on Santa Monica Boulevard, like East/West, Motherlode and The Abbey.
What city (or cities) in America would you most like to visit next, and why? Are there any specific spots there (theaters, nightclubs, historic sites, etc.) that you'd really like to see?
I've traveled quite a bit these past five years, but I'd really like to see more of Colorado, Atlanta, and Austin, Texas. Those cities have always appealed to me in some capacity, and I haven't been given the chance to truly experience the culture.
Images courtesy Jim Verraros, OUTfest and Helen Berkun