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  25 Great Things About Gay L.A.

People, places, and things we can’t live without

Obviously, we’ve given ourselves a wide berth for interpretation — these items are not all gay-specific, but we’re confident they all enjoy a gay following. From our fave fro yo to assorted savory eats to something for bargain shoppers, culture vultures, and hedonists, we’re pretty sure you’ll find some things that make you go “mmm” in this here list.

1 - GAY CABARET

(There’s so much talent in L.A it takes three cabarets to showcase it.)

Producers/hosts (and Frontiers cover models) Chris Isaacson and Shane Scheel are celebrating three years of defining “new generation cabaret” as the producers of Upright Cabaret, a veritable L.A. institution, now entrenched bi-weekly at Mark’s Restaurant (861 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310/652-5252), which has just been remodeled to accommodate the hugely popular event! Don’t be surprised to catch the crème of young Hollywood, including Neil Patrick Harris, Zachary Quinto and Michael Urie, and it’s become the place for Broadway’s finest onstage belting out pop, show tunes, and sizzling standards.. The Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs also plays host (poolside, that is!) to the cabaret and dates in Santa Barbara are on the horizon. —JONATHAN RIGGS www.uprightcabaret.com

You may know Vitello’s for its fantastic Italian food, but it’s also home to Sterling’s Upstairs (4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818/981.3077) the award-winning supper club dedicated to founder Michael Sterling’s friend and mentor, Rosemary Clooney. Sterling’s Upstairs is committed to preserving and honoring the art form of cabaret, so expect a veritable rainbow of song stylists to perform, from jazz to crooning to pop to standards…with a few surprises thrown in. Classy and timeless! —J.R.
www.myspace.com/sterlingsupstairs

May marks the one-year anniversary of Ryan Black’s 88’s Cabaret (Republic Restaurant, 650 N. La Cienega Blvd., 310/366.7070), and what a year it’s been: every show has sold out. Not only can you catch ultra-talented, unsigned performers here before they strike it big, but they also run 88’s U, a mentoring program where music/voice majoring college students can work up a song for performance. Every third Monday, you can see more than a dozen performers live with a three-piece band—Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz is a huge fan! —J.R.
www.myspace.com/eightyeightscabaret

2 - GANG OF 100

A gaggle of gays who vow to mingle just as much as they volunteer, what’s not to love? Tom Whitman’s Gang of 100 set a fundraising record for 2007’s AIDS Walk L.A. ... and they’re just getting started. “The response from the public has been amazing,” Whitman says. “Our goal is to grow the right way so that the guys who are joining us are all motivated, inspired, and committed to the idea of community service, long term.” Long term includes a soon-to-be-announced partnership with Pride’s Wonderland party, and the Gang’s new huge goal for AIDS Walk ’08: $175,000. —JEFF KATZ
www.tomwhitmanpresents.com

3 - THE GENDARMERIE

While Trapper Schroeder merits a place on any “best of” list for creating one of our favorite fragrances—the clean and instantly recognizable Gendarme—he’s also responsible for our favorite place to refresh and decompress—the full-service upscale salon and spa The Gendarmerie. What sets this apart from other spas is Schroeder’s Southern hospitality. Patrons can enjoy a glass of wine and even a buffet lunch between rejuvenating facials and custom apparel fittings. —JEREMY KINSER
9069 Nemo St. www.thegendarmerie.com

4 - THE MELROSE TRADING POST

When California budget cuts cost the Los Angeles public school system millions of dollars that would otherwise have been used for high school artistic programs, the students of the Fairfax High School district didn’t take their lack of funds lying down. Instead, they enacted an idea: Support our art through shopping! Every Sunday, the school’s parking lot is transformed into an antique-mall-cum-swap-meet with hard-to-find deals and bargain steals. The event’s $1 entrance fee is well-worth it. —MICHAEL ANTHONY
Fairfax High School Parking Lot @ 7850 Melrose Ave.
www.greenwayarts.org/tradingpost.htm

5 - WORLD OF WONDER GALLERY

Having only opened in August, the World of Wonder Gallery has been making waves showcasing everything from erotic art of the Golden Girls, giant oil paintings of Britney Spears’ va-jay-jay, and portraits of Andy Warhol using garbage. We have a feeling this hotspot will be around a lot longer than 15 minutes. —LENORA CLAIRE
6650 Hollywood Blvd. www.worldofwonder.net

6 - EVOLVE WELLNESS

We don’t know about you, but when we’re getting poked — with acupuncture needles, silly! — we don’t mind it a bit if our acupuncturist is hot, well-muscled, and tattooed. Fortunately for us, Evolve has more than one practitioner meeting this description, including its stellar massage therapists, and is gay-owned and operated. —KORINA JOCHIM
8430 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 102 www.evolvewellness.com

7 - GREEN LEAVES

For those who think meat substitutes have no flavor, prepare to be blown away. This Los Feliz Village vegan eatery has quickly become a hot spot for both health-conscious tree-huggers and dedicated meat-lovers alike. Try their tropical pancakes (with blueberry and banana) and tofu scramble burrito for breakfast, or hit the “chicken” sate and lentil loaf for dinner. No matter what you order, the food here is so good—and the consistency of the meat substitutes so like the real thing—chances are you won’t even realize you’re not eating flesh. —KEN KNOX
1769 Hillhurst Ave. Los Feliz www.GLvegan.com

8 - LUCKY STRIKE LANES

While it’s essential for especially the newly sober to avoid the bar scene, that doesn’t mean your social life has to take a beating. Show off your ball playing skills on a great sober first date at Lucky Strike Lanes. If you play it right you might actually get lucky. —L.C.
6801 Hollywood Blvd. www.bowlluckystrike.com

9 - FUN BUNNS

Get decked out in your spandex, strap on a pair of skates, and you’re ready to blade down Manhattan Beach courtesy Fun Bunns—a beachside joint that will provide you with an afternoon of fun. If skating isn’t your thing, there are bikes galore to rent as you please. And talk about a deal: rollerblades for less than $10 a day. Get sun, work out, and look great. What more could you want? —JULIANA PESAVENTO
1116 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach 310/372-8500

10 - KITTEN RESCUE

When it comes to caring for L.A.’s furry, four-legged felines, Kitten Rescue does it all, with class and style; an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, the no-kill group places over 1,000 cats into loving homes every calendar year. They offer free spaying and neutering, pet micro-chipping, and complimentary classes focused on proper owner/animal care. (Warning: One click onto their website, and you’re pet-adoring heart will melt!) —M.A.
914 Westwood Blvd. #583 www.KittenRescue.org

11 - THE SALON @ CELEBRATION THEATRE

The longest running gay and lesbian theatre in SoCal, the Celebration Theatre has continually been praised as an artistic community cornerstone in WeHo, both by critics and patrons alike. In 2006, the company enacted a SALON the first Monday of every month to support undiscovered LGBT talent; the free event gives local performers a safe and supportive setting to workshop their unique voices, and plays to happy and industry professionals. The open wine bar and complimentary desserts don’t hurt either! —M.A.
7985 Santa Monica Blvd. www.CelebrationTheatre.com

12 - GAVERT ATELIER

There are two reasons we’ll brave Beverly Hills parking—Sprinkles for cupcakes and Gavert Atelier for just the right cut, treatment, or color. Co-owned by master colorist Stuart Gavert and superstylist Cody Kusakabe—also boyfriends for 21 years!—you are guaranteed stylists who listen to your likes and dislikes and deliver a new you that you can live with. Furthermore, Gavert’s is a “green” salon, utilizing eco-friendly practices and treatments. —K.J. 9666 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills www.gavertatelier.com

13 - BOMBAY GRILL

We’re reasonably convinced this is the best and most authentic Indian food in town, and for less than $20 you can indulge in the explosively flavorful Chicken Tikka Masala, freshly made naan bread crisped on the outside and doughy on the inside, and vegetable of the day. Family owned and operated, the Bombay Grill is a modest establishment where it’s all about the food and the friendly service. —K.J.
7306 1/4 Santa Monica Blvd. (next to Trader Joe’s) 323/874-3366

14 - SILVER LAKE WINE

Don’t know your Syrah from your Semillon? Don’t worry. The savvy sommeliers at Silver Lake Wine will happily help with all your oenological ordeals. For connoisseurs and amateurs alike, there are also three convivial weekly wine tastings organized by varietal, region, and vintages the staff just plain likes. —ERIC ROSEN
2395 Glendale Blvd. www.silverlakewine.com

15 - DIRK SHAFER

Trainer and Pilates instructor Dirk Shafer’s ability to connect the mind and the body (while burning fat and building muscle!) is legendary. No stranger to fame, the 1992 Playgirl Man of the Year and indie film director worked with Tiffani Theissen and Cybill Shepherd, among others. Look for his enlightening Palm Springs Pilates Retreat in September. —BRIAN PADGETT
Emerson Hall Fitness. 8816 Melrose Ave. www.emersonhallfitness.com

16 - WHITE JEANS AND LOAFERS

Here are two fashion must-haves for spring: First, a pair of white jeans. Dior Homme, Nudie, Gucci, they’ve all got them. True Religion’s “Joey” is a nice choice for that weekend in Laguna Beach. Next, ditch the flip flops and instead try on some loafers. Spend money here. My favorites are by Gucci and Ferragamo. And remember, go sockless. The Eurotrash playboy look is back! —NICK VERREOS

17 - BRADY BRUNCH

West Hollywood’s Boulevard Lounge hosts the retro-kitsch Brady Brunch every Sunday. Celebrating television history from the dawn of time (or in TV terms, the ’50s) to the ’80s, the restaurant’s colorful “cast” encourages patrons to partake in all the fun. With to-die-for food to boot, a good time is guaranteed for all! —B.P.
1114 N. Crescent Heights Blvd. www.bradybrunch.com

18 - SILVER LAKE DOG PARK

Divided in to two sections, one for little dogs often in sweaters and the other for bigger but equally as friendly dogs, Silver Lake Dog Park is the spot to let your best friend work off some steam while possibly getting in to a steamy situation of your own. Best place to flirt while you scoop poop. —L.C.
1850 West Silver Lake Dr.

19 - INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE

The fastidious baristas as this Sunset Junction establishment take their coffee very seriously…and so should you. They are happy to explain the origins of each cup they serve—be it from the fields of Ethiopia or the highlands of Bolivia—before you enjoy it with a brioche at the espresso bar or one of the numerous outdoor tables in the blue-tiled patio. —E.R.
3922 W. Sunset Blvd. www.intelligentsiacoffee.com

20 - MELROSE MUSIC

Sure, Meltdown and Golden Apple are better known comic-book stores, but Melrose Music, a hole-in-the-wall store with comics, superhero paraphernalia and used CDs, attracts a strong gay clientele, especially on Wednesdays when new comics come in. Perhaps it’s the 20% discount on new comics (plus free mylar bag and backing board) they give. —JAMES MILLS
7301 Melrose Ave. 323/934-3373

21 - MEDICAL MARIJUANA

It may be illegal with the feds, but many Californians love their pot. And three locales are ensuring that those of us who need it can get it—legally. Valley Patients (8953 Woodman Ave. 5, Arleta), 420 Evaluation Center (6850 Van Nuys Blvd. Ste 208, Van Nuys, and La Brea Compassionate Caregivers (735 N. La Brea, L.A.) are doing business with dignity, and being 2008, a little style. That means sleek pharmacy digs, helpful staff, and (presumably) good herb. —J.K.

22 - WWW.ONEGOODLOVE.COM

With Internet dating sites primarily avoiding LGBT romantics, Frank Mastronuzzi’s work with Match.com and commitment to gays searching for that one good love has resulted in, well, www.one goodlove.com. Through the results of a comprehensive personality assessment, created and calibrated expressly for the gay community, applicant paring more firmly secures long-lasting compatibility. —B.P.

23 - COMFORT FOOD

Gays may be notorious carb watchers, but sometimes nothing satisfies like the carb-heavy fare we loved as kids. For gourmet twists on comfort foods, try Food Court LA (8334 W. 3rd Street). Freshly baked breads, hearty breakfasts, and homemade soups are favorites at Doughboys (1156 N. Highland). For down-home Southern cooking, head west to Marina Del Rey’s Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch (4325 Glencoe). And don’t forget Grilled Cheese Sandwich Night on Thursdays at Campanile (624 S. La Brea). —J.M.

24 - SKYLIGHT BOOKS

Sick of the big chain stores like Borders and B&N? Head over to Los Feliz’s Skylight Books for a more personal bookshop experience. Peruse the slightly disorganized sections—including the eccentric staff picks—as you cruise the cluttered aisles for other nerdish hotties. Though store mascot Lucy the cat has sadly passed away, the eponymous skylight is luminous as ever. —E.R. 1818 N. Vermont Ave. www.skylightbooks.com

25 - YOGOTANGO

All you painfully trendy suckers can stand in line at Pinkberry all you want, but for a real taste explosion, you just can’t beat Yogotango. Both creamy and tart, it’s like heaven on a hot summer day. (Trust me; you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted their green tea with banana, strawberry, and a dash of granola. Delish!) Featuring an array of home-made, low-fat flavors that include the standard (plain, green tea), the fruity (strawberry, blueberry, peach) and the unexpected (tomato and pistachio, anyone?) this relatively new Hollywood favorite positively blows the competition out of the water. —K.K. 1300 N. Highland Ave. www.yogotango.com

 
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