FEATURES / HIGHLIGHTS

A Few Good Men
L.A.'s Most Eligible Bachelors
Mike Ciriaco and Michelle McCarthy
8/30/2013

Los Angeles has no shortage of single gay men, but with this issue we've gathered a few eligible men who are ripe for the picking—men who are genuine, sincere and successful, and who represent a diverse selection of L.A.'s dating pool. Feel free to contact these bachelors and express your interest. We may not be able to guarantee a love connection, but here's hoping we can light a spark!

 

Barry Brisco, 43
West Hollywood
barrybrisconews@gmail.com

It would be hard to accuse Barry Brisco of being lazy, as over the years this savvy bachelor has tackled and excelled in multiple fields. Barry initially earned a degree in education, which—combined with his quick wit and no-nonsense attitude—armed him for a commendable, thankless career in the Manhattan public school system. But pedagogy was soon eclipsed by Barry's true calling as a performer. A talented triple threat, he quickly developed a sterling reputation within the New York theater scene and abroad. His acting ability merited opportunities to travel the world, most notably to Edinburgh, where he starred in the critically acclaimed Fleetwood Coupe DeVille Show as well as the Australian tour of Puppetry of the Penis.

Barry’s travels brought him to Los Angeles eight years ago, where his skill and Colgate smile were showcased in television series such as General Hospital, $#*! My Dad Says, Chocolate News and Thank God You're Here. At the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival, Barry received positive attention with Love Is A Battlefield, an original play showcasing his ability not only as a performer but also as a playwright. Never one to stay idle for long, Barry recently founded Guerillaboss Marketing, where he serves as CEO.

Barry is looking for someone who can keep up with his fast-paced lifestyle. An ideal date would begin with a beachfront brunch of mimosas and seafood, followed by laying out to tan. After heading home to grill up some steaks and cuddle up for a disco nap, you’ll be sufficiently recharged for a night of bar-hopping. Barry needs a man who can juggle his beer and shots and still own it on the dance floor. Other acceptable date options include hiking, biking, rollerblading, swimming, camping and—if you need a breather—catching a movie.

As for the man himself, Barry bases his ideal mate on a specific template: “James Van Der Beek. Whatever he has going on will do just fine.”

Hopefully, the two of you together will suffice, because Barry doesn't see kids in his long-term game plan. “Yes, I do believe the children are our future, but the future needs an ass-whipping,” he jokes, adding, “I’d rather adopt a flying pig—they’re cleaner. I'm too selfish for children, like Oprah, George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston.”

 

Manny Castro, 31
West Hollywood
acecup8@gmail.com

This Florida-born artist lives out the belief that the experience of art should be accessible to everyone. The Parsons-trained Manny Castro has been inspired to create guerilla works, including hanging ruby slippers on power lines and installing oversized bags of 'cocaine' on telephone poles across Los Angeles. His draping of a 30-by-30-foot painting of Lady Gaga costumed as Jesus Christ exposed his work to an unsuspecting new audience and was described as “amazeballs” by Perez Hilton. Manny’s artwork is even showcased in the videos of his frequent collaborators, the music duo Karmin.

Manny began his career straight out of college, creating window installations for Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, then subsequently Barney’s and Fred Segal. Since moving to Los Angeles, he’s been fortunate enough to have a number of notable models and personalities pose for him, including Milla Jovovich, Derek Blasberg, Agnes Bruckner, Amanda Lepore, Patrick McMullan, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan.

Though he currently resides in West Hollywood, Manny spends the majority of his time Downtown, painting in his loft studio.

“My studio is where all the real magic happens. It’s where I play make-believe everyday and turn all my crazy ideas into reality. Usually I’m covered in paint head-to-toe. I feel very grateful and lucky to be able to say, ‘I am an artist.’”

As a true Floridian, Manny lives for palm trees and soaking up the sun. When not toiling at his craft, you’ll likely find the charming young artist in Venice, bike-riding along the beach with his friends, though his primary focus is getting his artwork out to the masses.

As of a week ago, Manny is as accessible as his art. The newly single artist is back on the market and looking for someone who knows that the best things in life aren’t necessarily things. His ideal date involves some element of adventure and, most importantly, humor.

“As long as we can make each other laugh, that’s all that really matters.”

 

Christian Cooper, 37
Long Beach
xtianlaw@outlook.com

Christian Cooper is an attorney at Public Counsel, a public interest law firm in Koreatown that assists low-income people struggling with debt. Before law school, he worked in the entertainment industry but soon realized he wanted to do something that had a more direct impact on people's lives. “As an attorney, it's often the small victories that are the most rewarding,” Christian says. “I also have my own solo consumer bankruptcy practice in Long Beach, where I often help people file a motion or other document that would be daunting to tackle on their own but which is routine for me, and makes a huge difference in their cases and in their lives.”

A large percentage of Public Counsel’s clients are monolingual Spanish speakers, and Christian speaks fluent Spanish. “I get a lot of confused looks from our Spanish-speaking clients when they realize the tall white guy (‘el güero’) actually does speak Spanish.”

Christian grew up in Laguna Beach, but during his junior year at USC, he spent the fall in Washington, D.C., and the spring in Seville, Spain. He also lived in San Francisco for a couple of years after law school, but “it was way too cold. I missed the sunshine.”

Now living in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach, Christian gets plenty of sun, living four blocks from the beach. “I work in L.A., but it's actually not a terrible commute,” he says. “Plus, my rent is ridiculously cheap—all my San Francisco friends hate me.”

Single for about two years, Christian says he’s dated but just hasn’t found the right guy. And who would that be? Someone who shares similar interests—traveling, family, hiking, the beach. His ideal match is grounded, intellectually curious and authentic—someone he can bring home to mom and dad.

Christian was diagnosed as HIV-positive 11 years ago. “Overall, I am in excellent health,” he says. “My HIV status does, of course, come up when I’m dating, and I’m always very up-front about it. If my status is going to be an issue with a guy, I want to know that up-front. I’ve dated guys who are positive as well as guys who are negative.” 

And what is his ideal date? “Well, I do love the beach, so I think it might start out with a late-morning brunch, then going out kayaking, then maybe a couple of beers to wind down, capped off with dinner by the beach or a barbecue,” Christian says.

And if it all works out, Christian says he’s definitely open to the idea of having children. “I have two nieces (7 and 3) and love spending time with them. I think I would be a good dad.”

 

Preston Gaspar, 32
DTLA
gasparpreston@gmail.com

The Canadian-born Preston Gaspar relocated from Michigan to Los Angeles nine years ago to participate in United Talent Agency's training program. It was in the company’s mail room that this dimpled blonde formed the close-knit network of loyal friends who helped him survive the concrete maelstrom that is L.A.

“I think that once you find your group of friends, Los Angeles is hands-down one of the best cities to live in,” says Preston.

These friendships helped facilitate Preston's transition from talent representation to his current career in special events coordinating. This new job path has given him the opportunity to work in some of the city’s hottest venues, including Avalon, The Music Box and, most recently, the historical Belasco Theater. Preston’s position at the Belasco is not only an important stepping stone toward his ultimate goal of one day opening his own bars and restaurants, but has also motivated him to ditch the daily West Hollywood commute and move into a loft in the nearby Historical Core of Downtown Los Angeles. Not only is his new home significantly closer to work, but it also provides Preston with easy access to the trendy new hot spots that have sprung up in the neighborhood as a result of the recent DTLA renaissance.

“The one thing that I have learned about Downtown, though, is never assume that it’s water in the puddles,” he jokes.

Even more than supporting his professional life, Preston’s friends encourage him to explore his romantic life. Fed up with a history of picking guys who are best decried as “beautiful disasters,” one of these long-time colleagues nominated Preston, a serial bachelor, for this issue without his knowledge.

“My friends tell me I have absolutely nothing to lose, so I figured why the hell not.”

Be warned, potential daters—Preston isn't interested in one of those cliché dinner dates. He far prefers something outside your comfort zone—perhaps a metro trip to Old Town Pasadena or an afternoon at LACMA. Preston’s base requirements involve employment and a vehicle.

“It doesn't hurt if he's easy on the eyes, too.”

 

Ricky Mungia, 28
Los Feliz
greylandsrm@gmail.com

If you consider yourself a goofball, you might just grab Ricky Mungia’s attention. The SoCal native has been single since February 2012 and is looking for a guy who is funny and outgoing, with a good head on his shoulders. (Hint: A date that surprises him is a good thing—anything out of the ordinary.) And if you’re looking to bump into him, we suggest hanging out in Silver Lake, where he’s a member of the East Side’s scruffy community.

“The most exciting aspect is the amount of personality and laidback attitude in the community,” Ricky says. “It's very easy to meet new people. You also tend to see new faces when you’re out and about. I guess Los Angeles is a big city that way. I love the variety in such a compact area. The city, the mountains and the desert are within an hour from each other.”

If Ricky looks familiar, you might have seen him in the web series Where the Bears Are. Initially cast as an extra, his role just kept growing. “They gave me a scene where I make out with Rick Copp in the bathroom and find a supposed dead body in the Christmas special,” Ricky says. “Then I did another scene making out with him in the second season. So I guess my role was Rick’s make-out stuntman.”

Ricky makes industrial art and furniture from reclaimed pieces of wood, glass and metal. You can find it available up and down the coast of Southern California. He created an art installation of industrial spiders made from recycled large light bulbs and steel rods for Faultline, but they’ve all sold out at the bar. Now he sells them privately through Facebook. 

As for the future, Ricky says he’s been pondering having children. “Only recently did I think of a mini version of me, so now I wouldn’t be opposed to it. If I truly felt a moment where I wanted to have children, I wouldn’t deny it.”

 

Chris Paldeng, 36
West Hollywood
kahleevogue@yahoo.com

Of all this year’s bachelors, Chris Paldeng arguably has the most unique upbringing. He was raised with his tight-knit clan of five brothers and sisters in the Phillipines’ San Fernando, notable as the “Christmas Capital” of the country.

“One of the villages is so hardcore, it celebrates Christmas 365 days a year,” he says.

Three years ago, Chris relocated to Los Angeles, where he soaks up the cultural diversity as much as he soaks up the sunshine. This city provides a multitude of interesting diversions that Chris is always eager to experience, whether it’s hiking, visiting a museum, an art show or a new bar. But he doesn't need to stray too far from his own neighborhood of West Hollywood, which provides Chris with a strong sense of safety and community.

“This is a place where I can go jogging at night and still feel safe. This is a place where my neighbors always have a story to share or give me fresh tomatoes from their gardens, not to mention the smiles that greet me in the morning. Accessibility to everything is also a reason why I love this town. Gyms, supermarkets, restaurants catering to all types of cuisines are just within your reach. And work is also here, so I don’t really need a car to get around.”

Chris’s primary profession is assistant manager at Marco’s, one of WeHo’s most reputable bistros, but he also works as a personal trainer on the side, which fulfills more than just a need for income.

“I grew up as a fat kid and have invested a lot to get my body where it is today. I think I drive inspiration by helping people get to the wellness goals that they deserve.”

His goals for a partner focus on stability, as well as someone who is driven by passion. Ultimately, he’s searching not just for a potential husband but also someone with whom he can co-parent.

“I think raising children is the single most important achievement anyone can have. I hope to have a child someday. It’s definitely a reason to get up every day and make the world a better place.”

 

Mervyn Warren, 49
Hollywood Hills
bravefront@icloud.com

Mervyn Warren is a film and TV composer, record producer/arranger, songwriter/lyricist, pianist and vocalist—and if his 10 Grammy nominations and five Grammy wins are any indication, he’s damn good at what he does. “It's obviously a tremendous honor to win, and no matter how many times one wins, the feeling you get is nearly indescribable,” he says. “I was very fortunate to have been recognized in that way so early in my career—I was 24. So I felt—and still feel—very fortunate indeed.”

Originally from Huntsville, Ala., Mervyn has worked with Quincy Jones, David Foster, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Celine Dion, Chicago, Queen Latifah and Rascal Flatts. But it was his work with Whitney Houston that really stands out in his mind. “To hear one of the greatest voices of all time singing songs I had written or arranged was an experience that's nearly unparalleled. She was truly one of my favorites, and the fact that she's now gone makes those weeks we spent together just that much more precious.”

Mervyn has been single for six years and says he’s drawn to guys who are masculine, intelligent, confident, adventurous, ambitious, communicative and dependable—a man of integrity, a man of his word. Freethinkers. Politically left. Geeky can be good, too. “I love the dynamic that occurs when each is an expert in something that the other finds interesting and we learn from each other. Physically, I have a wide range of types, but one of the first things I notice is facial hair. That's pretty much a must,” he says.

His kind of date would include two components—something you experience together (an art exhibit, a movie, a hike), then time to talk about whatever you saw (coffee or a bite to eat).

Calling L.A. home for the past 20 years, Mervyn loves the way our different neighborhoods have unique vibes. He enjoys how you can spend time in Pasadena, Silver Lake, Venice, Hollywood, Santa Monica or Studio City and feel like you are in a different city altogether.

“I'd love to have kids, but only if my partner also wants to,” he explains. “I know some single guys who've started families, but with my demanding career, I’d prefer to share that responsibility and privilege with a partner.”

 

Dino Hillas, 53
West San Fernando Valley
dhillas@aol.com

A lot of people misjudge our cover model, Dino Hillas, perhaps because of his outward appearance. They think he’s all about bars or circuit parties. But the L.A. native says that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I love cooking and entertaining my friends in my home,” he says. “I am attracted to someone who is grounded, takes pride in his home or apartment, has direction and loves to hang anywhere. Nowhere fancy—it could be a restaurant, a quiet park or beach, the gym or even at home watching Netflix. Sometimes I like to go out and have a blast, but I tend to enjoy something just normal and easy. Above all, I am a traditionalist and a one-man guy, so if I fall in love, it is with one man.”

The 53-year-old gym rat has had two 10-year relationships and has been single for three years. In a mate, Dino typically looks for someone quiet, low-key, loyal and honest—and he loves when there is mutual respect in a relationship.

A perfect first date for Dino would be something casual, like a trip to Ojai or Montecito for dinner on a Victorian porch, a long walk, perhaps a picnic in a quiet park, maybe on the beach somewhere secluded or even somewhere for dinner in Hollywood or on the Westside. “Typically, if there was a mutual connection, at the end there would be a long, slow kiss goodnight. ‘No tongues,’ as quoted by Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein,” he says with a laugh.

On a more serious note, Dino survived a terminal illness that motivated him to become the body builder, fitness model and business owner he is today. Having had nothing to start with and wanting to get out of his personal hell, he put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, rebuilding his body, his company and his life against all odds. For this reason, Dino knows that if you want something, you have to work for it, and if you want it badly enough, it will happen.

Dino owns Moda Dora Gift and Home, Ltd., a 6,000-square-foot wholesale home furnishings showroom at the L.A. Mart near Downtown. “We are a sales agency for various furniture, better gift and lighting lines. We represent and sell to the finest retail stores, discriminating interior design firms, independent designers and Hollywood celebrities,” he explains. “Over the years, our products have been seen on the big screen, numerous television shows, at the Oscars, Grammys and celebrity weddings. Most recently, I created a website, modadora.com, for the candles I design.”

While Dino loves to travel (he prefers old-world to exotic beach destinations), he says he tends to stay close to home because of his devotion to Moda Dora. “I know that’s boring, but if I had a significant man in my life who wanted me to travel, I would leave my business and take the time to enjoy our life,” he says.

But being bound to the City of Angels for work is not exactly a bad thing in Dino’s eyes, since he has a lot of love for his hometown. His favorite aspects of L.A. include all the activities it provides—long bike rides along the beach strand, the diversity of Beverly Hills versus Venice Beach and day trips along the coast in his vintage Triumph TR6 to Santa Barbara, the central coast or Laguna Beach. “I love our weather and restaurants—dining on the Westside, on a side street in Venice or in our local mountains in the middle of Topanga Canyon.”

One place you’re sure to find Dino is at the gym, where he spends 75 minutes doing full-body weightlifting at least five days a week. For the most part, he tries to make healthy choices, but he’s known to fall off the wagon every now and then for a bucket of KFC.

“I enjoy my life—who I have become—and I’m excited about what the future will bring,” Dino says. “My dear friend Renee Strauss from Brides of Beverly Hills and I are working on a big project for next March, which I cannot say anything about. This is new and exciting and one of the wonderful things I am looking forward to in 2014!”


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