Frontiers at Eleven
(Photos by Patrick Range McDonald. Above: Aaron Savvy)
On a chilly Wednesday night, the swanky West Hollywood nightclub Eleven hosted a promotion party for Frontiers magazine to celebrate the gay bi-weekly’s newest issue: “L.A.’s most eligible” singles. It was a theme that instantly alarmed and amused me when I received the invite a few days before, so I decided to walk over to Santa Monica Boulevard—the undisputed epicenter of Boys Town—and see what all of the hubbub was about.
Even at six-thirty in the evening, the club was brimming with an increasingly well-lubricated Happy Hour crowd. They seemed totally indifferent to the shirtless guy handing out glossy fliers at the front door, so I approached him. He introduced himself as Aaron Savvy, who was recently the cover boy for the “Sex Issue” of Frontiers' sister publication, In magazine, and now worked as one of two finely buffed models designated as the evening’s eye candy.
What many of the partygoers and barflies didn’t know about my new muscle-bound friend, however, was that “Aaron Savvy” was a stage name. He was also a Mormon, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship contestant, a personal trainer, and a former porn actor who was obsessed to succeed in the mainstream—a deal for his own TV reality show, according to Aaron, was already in the works.
“I don’t want to name the networks,” he said confidently, “but they have expressed interest.”
The way Aaron saw it, he had “given a lot” during his porn years, and now it was time to “give more” through his expertise in nutrition and physical fitness. He was determined to steer clear of anything porn or porn-like.
“One guy wanted to give me $500 to strip down to my underwear,” Aaron confided. “He just wanted to look at me, but I said no.”
Aaron was also a new arrival to L.A., coming here two months ago from Seattle.
“I had nothing lined up,” he explained, “but now look at me.”
Aaron continued handing out the fliers, and I headed upstairs to the Frontiers party, where John Terlingo and Mark Stuplin sat away from the packed crowd in a booth. John was a personal trainer and Mark worked for the E! Channel. When I asked John what kind of bachelor he wanted, he didn’t hesitate.
(Above: John Terlingo)
“He has to be rich, thirty to fifty-five, and a homeowner,” he said.
“No, really, I want a guy who takes responsibility. I’m over the guy who wants to split the bill over everything, even when it’s just ten dollars…I want some yang to my yin.”
Mark laughed again as a different Mark plopped down next to John. He refused to give his entire name, and actually wanted to be called “Doug.” The first Mark whispered to me, “He just came out to his parents over the weekend, and it went better than expected. They always figured it was the case: 38 years old, no girlfriend, you know the deal.”
“Don’t say anything more!” the other Mark yelled. “He’s writing it all down!”
The first Mark laughed, and the other Mark started complaining about the slim pickings.
“So what kind of man do you want?” the first Mark asked the other Mark.
“Oh, like on the Internet.”
John laughed and remembered something.
“I made a commitment to Mark that I would be more sociable in person and get off the computer,” he said.
The first Mark nodded and explained further: “You can have intimate communications over the Internet, but then when you meet them in person, they have nothing whatsoever to say. I find that fascinating.”
(Above: Jeremy Kinser)
With that, Mark and Mark left John for drinks, and I looked for Frontiers editor-in-chief Jeremy Kinser. When I found him, he was holding Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
“It’s for the book club I belong to,” he explained.
We then grabbed a booth, where he explained how the “most eligible” singles—10 men and 5 women—were chosen. In a nutshell, Jeremy said friends nominated friends online, Frontiers staff culled the entries, and, wallah, the winners were chosen. Power ratings, wealth indexes, and fame quotients were apparently banned from the selection process, except for maybe the choice of cover boy, “Big Brother 3” cast member Marcellas Reynolds.
“We wanted to represent everyone in the LGBT community,” Jeremy assured me. “We were looking for diversity.”
A few minutes later, Jeremy introduced me to one of the most eligible bachelors, Ric Parish. Ric had co-founded The Life Group LA—a support organization for people with HIV/AIDS—with business partner Sonnie Rose Berger.
(above: Ric Parish, James Frehn, and Sonnie Rose Berger)
“I was shocked when Frontiers called me,” Ric said, taking a seat next to me. “I’m not the usual Frontiers cover model, and I have so many issues about my age and looks. Being middle-aged in West Hollywood is tough. But when I brought the magazine to my therapist, he told me, ‘Ric, maybe LA has finally grown up.’ I liked that. It made me feel better.”
After a little more chit-chat, I walked to the backroom and found one of the other models, James Frehn. In his early twenties, James bravely undertook the duty of wearing only a very skimpy pair of tight briefs for Cityboyz fashion. During a night of newbies, James, a resident of Palmdale and budding filmmaker, was attending his first party in Los Angeles. I asked why he wanted to make movies.
“I want to get into film because they’re not making good ones anymore,” James said. “They’re not making the classics.”
The young model had already written four screenplays, and now he was saving the money to buy a camera so he could start shooting. “I just want to make a good film, a very good film,” he said. He would write, direct, and produce the movie himself. I thought Mr. Savvy could give him some tips, but by that point, the former porn star was gone. James then pulled on his clothes, shook my hand, and smiled as he walked away. He hoped to move to Los Angeles sometime soon.
(Above: James Frehn and Courtney Jackson)