Celeb City Guide: Levi Kreis' Gay L.A.
Presented by Las Vegas
The openly gay recording artist and songwriter chats about a few of his favorite places, events and things in Los Angeles.
Name: Levi Kreis
Profession: Recording Artist / Songwriter / Pianist
City: Los Angeles, CA
Relationship Status: Domestic Partnered
Sexuality: Gay and Questioning. LOL.
Where is the best public place for gays to make out in L.A.?
I love to make out in bars. I love watching other guys make out in bars. Bars like Fubar, Faultline, MJ's, where the atmosphere is energetic and there is an intense sexual charge in the air.
What is the best date you ever had in Los Angeles?
When my now partner and I were dating, I was on tour with Eric Himan for Gay.com. We had a stop in San Diego. Greg surprised me by coming down from Los Angeles for that show, had a beautiful house rented, and we had a beautiful first dinner together after the show and went back to a quiet house and, well, occupied ourselves. Surprising, romantic, and very hot. That was when I knew I was in love with this man.
What are some of the things you love most about Los Angeles?
After touring as much as I have, I've grown to appreciate the wide open spaces of Los Angeles, and the weather. I can't say I'm a Tennessee boy any longer, because urban areas are so much more appealing to me, especially Los Angeles. I am a guy that needs warm weather and all year round if I can get it.
What are some of your least favorite things about it?
I'm not crazy about having to drive everywhere, yet I am grateful for it cause I don't feel so claustrophobic in L.A. Not crazy about the overall sense of entitlement that the transplants have, but, hey, it is L.A.
What gym do you like most?
24 Hour Fitness, but they don't seem to be in as many cities as I tour. With an artist schedule, and especially preparing for my new release "Where I Belong" coming out May 5th, I'm needing to fit a gym visit in at the oddest hours to accommodate a crazy schedule.
What are some great restaurants for a night out with gay friends there?
Eleven on Santa Monica Blvd. is nice. Food is great and they often have live entertainment. Cabaret, whatnot.
What about some great restaurants for a romantic date?
I don't have expensive taste usually, and would go for more of a down home atmosphere before a "highfalutin" scenester hang. Angelines in Sherman Oaks has great soul food and is never too crowded. Very intimate, approachable environment. Great southern cookin'. I've gone there on dates before followed by a low-key beer bust somewhere. I much prefer low-key dates where personable and genuine conversation is encouraged.
Is there a particular best place to "people watch?"
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Laurel Canyon. I've seen Britney a hundred times there. This place always has fun star sightings.
What are your favorite L.A. gay bars and/or dance clubs?
Frankly, I would go to a leather/Levis bar before i go to any bars in boys town. My experience is that it's easier to have unassuming conversations, the environment is a bit more unpredictable, and the crowd is a bit less "posy"....and a little edgier sexually, which I like.
What are your favorite gay parties or events,if any? What is the crowd or scene like at those places?
I find myself going to various gay events as an artist, and maybe that is why I never make it a point to go to one for enjoyment in my personal life. Usually events that tie in a benefit for, say, The Trevor Project, or EQCA, these are events I would go to. Knowing your money is going to something that makes a difference in our community as opposed to going back to DJ's and decorations for the next "circuit party".
From your perspective, what is the gay community like in L.A.? Do you consider yourself to be part of any particular "scene"?
LOL! I don't think I'm off the road enough to be a part of a "scene" here in L.A., but there are certainly many scenes to choose from depending on what kind of person you are. That's one good thing about a big city like Los Angeles.
Do gay men and lesbians hang out together in L.A.?
Ah, no. Not like I wish they would. Sometimes I would much rather hang out with the lesbian girls than my gay boys, especially if they are brass and butch... reminds me of my old Tennessee home. LOL!
Are you involved with any LGBT community organizations there?
I've always been a supporter of The Trevor Project and will always be available to them to help any way that I can. After touring over 300 cities, there have been countless kids come up to me in crisis that need to know that there is a place to turn. The Trevor Project is always available for gay and questioning youth in crisis. 1.866. 4U TREVOR
Tell us about the L.A. Pride celebration? What are the highlights for you?
For me, going means I'm booked to sing, and that is very good because I finally get to spend the day hanging with friends I have not seen in a few months. Having performed at many Prides, I'm always opposed to the lack of clothing represented on the floats. I love it in my bars, but when we are making a display for the rest of the world to show on the local news, let's not give them a reason to hide their children's eyes.
Where do you shop for clothes in L.A. to fit your style?
I shop at Levi's, imagine that. LOL. I love a great pair of jeans. That's my only need. And an occasional wife beater.
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?
I will always be a huge supporter of Eric Himan. Having been on the road with him, I've seen how he operates first hand. Class act. Love movies, but never a big theatre goer. Ironic since I've spent so much time working in theatre along with my recording career.
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?
Boys!.. Go to Fubar. That place is wonderful debauchery. MJ's in Silverlake is fantastic too.
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'm hitting the road with my new album coming out May 5th. There are a few cities I need to explore. Mainly I love checking out The Eagle if the city I'm in has one. Chicago's "The Eagle" is next on my list, and maybe in time for the International Mr. Leather Competition. Woof.
Photos courtesy of Triple Fire Photography, Alan Mercer, Rosemary Alexander and Getty Images
More on Levi Kreis:
If Leviâ€™s acclaimed sophomore release, â€śThe Gospel According To Leviâ€ť, took us through the complicated and painful past of a young man growing up under the grip of religious fundamentalism, then it must have been cleansing for Mr. Kreis because there is no trace of hardship here. â€śWhere I Belongâ€ť is the most positive, uplifting offering weâ€™ve witnessed from this piano man. We depend on Leviâ€™s pop sensibilities to write a contagious hook, but this time around, they simmer with southern soul that rings truer than any previous endeavor.
Levi Kreis released his debut album â€śOne of the Onesâ€ť in 2005 following an appearance on NBCâ€™s hit reality show The Apprentice with Donald Trump. Combined with an exclusive CD premiere on XM Radio, the worldâ€™s introduction to Levi began a firestorm of conversation. Songs from his debut CD have been featured on The Apprentice, Days Of Our Lives, and The Young And The Restless spawning national television appearances and radio rotation. His sophomore CD released in 2006, â€śThe Gospel According To Leviâ€ť, garnered more television and film placement and a music video for the single â€śWeâ€™re Okayâ€ť which held the #1 position for nine weeks on MTVâ€™s Logo network. With nearly 300 appearances in 2006-07, Levi has shared the stage with Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dog, Farrel, Collective Soul, and opened for Cyndi Lauper at Wrigley Field.
Leviâ€™s 1997 move to Los Angeles found him cast as â€śRogerâ€ť in a National Tour of Rent where he unexpectedly discovered his love for acting. His natural musical talents complemented his budding on-screen abilities and he was cast as one of the musical leads in the award-winning independent film â€śDonâ€™t Let Go.â€ť After completing a few short films, Levi was invited to work with Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey in Paxtonâ€™s directorial debut â€śFrailtyâ€ť where Levi played the emotional role of Adam Meiks.
In fall of 2007, Levi took a break from touring to become the original cast member in a new hit musical called â€śMillion Dollar Quartetâ€ť, where he received astounding reviews for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis, and went on to launch the official national debut at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. 2008 provided a record-breaking run, and Leviâ€™s performance received enthusiastic praise from The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Times, among others.
â€śWhere I Belongâ€ť proves that Levi has come into his own with a sound nostalgic for his gospel roots and southern soul, and promises to be the most defined chapter in this young prolific singer/songwriters promising career. Album available May 5th, 2009.
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