Sunday, March 4, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Dapper Gentlemen & Fancy Ladies @ "The Gentlemen's Closet" 2012 Pre-Oscar Gala Presented by Chivas/Styling the Modern Man

What’s better than a dashing man dressed in the best of fashions, loaded with charm and good looks, and equipped with a smile that’ll make you swoon? 

Why, 100 of them! 

When Shaun Sanders from Graffiti PR invited me to a Pre-Oscar shin-dig at Siren Studios last week, I immediately made my way there to check out the festivities. More than 200 guests (all dressed to the T) congregated in the large studios for complimentary Barefoot wines, champagnes and Chivas cocktails...and also for haircuts for men, massages for all, bow tie demonstrations by Inspired Knots and fabulous shoes by Luka Prado.

Throughout the night, I did what I did best and got to asking a few of the well-dressed and handsome guests about their Oscar film favorites, their current projects and of course, their "Where To" destinations in LA.

I was pretty inspired to check out a few new places in city, and perhaps you will be, too. Read to hear what they had to say!

Lane Smith, Jr., Actor, Producer, Filmmaker (Indecent)
His Oscar Pick: “My good friend Annie Gaia is in The Artist, and just because I know her, I would love that to win, and I think it will.” (It did!)

Current Projects: “I have a really big ad going out in Europe. I play a surfer in it and it’s promos for a summer write-up. Also right now I’m up for the remake of Blue Lagoon…I look very similar to the lead actor from the original, so it’s kind of got a little hype on me. But I haven’t been cast yet. They’re basically deciding between casting someone like me or an African-American…I hope it’s me, you know?”

Where He “Where To’s”: “My favorite place to go in LA…hmmm…I don’t know…I go everywhere. I like being inside a studio, working – and eating lunch inside the studio [laughs].”

Bai Ling, Actress (The Crow, Crank: High Voltage)
Oscar Pick: “I like The Artist. I think it’s very original. It’s not much dialogue. I think that’s what a film’s supposed to be – it’s through images, not through dialogue – that’s what theater is more like. Also it’s a love story…It’s cold like wintertime – you have to have some love!”
Current Projects: “I write songs and I released a song on Valentine’s Day called ‘I Love You My Valentine.’ It’s on iTunes and YouTube. So if you ask your fans to follow me at @realbailing on twitter or, you’ll see it. I shot a music video and everything, it’s fantastic.”

Music or acting? “I’m a professional actress. That’s what I do. Music is for fun. It’s like, I have a gift I want to share, you know? Encourage other people to do the same thing. If I can write it – I didn’t even know music – then they can do it, too. A lot of people are afraid of – to put it out there – so that’s what I’m doing.”

Where she “Where To’s”: I like Chan Dara. Also I like Katsuya. Mr. Chow is also nice. You see all the celebrities there. I’ve seen Arnold Schwarzenegger. Everyone is there. You always see people there.

KD Aubert, Actress (Turning Point, Percentage) 
Oscar Faves: “I have a couple of favorites, but I’m just keeping my fingers crossed for some close friends.” 

Current Projects: “I’m really excited because I have a Nigerian film coming out this year called Turning Point, which was pretty insane because it was like the first time they ever merged American actors and Nigerian actors. And Queen Latifah produced a movie I’m in called Percentage. Cam’ron was in that, Ving Rhames was in that. [It’s a] pretty cool action, drug-dealer-type movie.

“And I did an independent movie. It’s kind of close to home. It was a film in regards to – it dealt with domestic violence and sexual abuse, and things like that. I played the counselor to some young girls who kind of dealt with a lot of those issues, and it was based on true stories. There was a pastor out of Detroit named Pastor Miles who actually – these women actually go to his church and he formed an organization for those women because of these situations, so they decided to make a movie out of it.”

Where She “Where To’s”: “You know, I’m on this weird vegetarian kick right now and I don’t really know where it came from, because I started it right before Thanksgiving, which is really weird, and then I went even further and did the organic raw. So the SunCafe. But, I had a steak the other day, so I don’t what I am now [laughs]. And then the other thing is, it’s like, I have favorites and I have different genres. Like for Jamaican food, We Jammin’ is the best, but then my friends own Coley’s, so I probably shouldn’t say that [laughs].”

Vincent De Paul, Actor (The Artist, Sex and the City 2)
Would you consider yourself to be a Modern Man? “The Modern Man is the classic man and if you have an awareness of the traditional styles, you can take those traditional styles and make it modern and make it your own. I shop and I try to – with my help with my stylist – pull things that I can wear now and a year from now and two years from now that are not too trendy. George Blodwell who is my friend who you were just seeing, he is your traditional, wonderful stylist who understands about men’s grooming. And with men’s grooming, it’s important that you have an idea of what you like and use it…I’ve been working in film and TV for 23 years, and I love the fact that I learn everyday when I go to set and the stylists pull looks together that really help my character and help me project the character on screen and on the small screen...” 
His Sunglasses: “I’m very fortunate – I was in the original movie called Hairspray with John Waters and then years later John Waters cast me in another film called Cry-Baby. Johnny Depp wore these same glasses, and they’re 1950s style. Randolph Enterprises have created this style frame for the military since the ‘50s.” 

Oscar Pick: “This year I’m going to the Oscar parties and I’m very happy I had a very small part in the Oscar-nominated film called The Artist. A lot of buzz about this silent black-and-white film, and thank you to Harvey [Weinstein] for employing everyone.”

Where He “Where To’s”: I love the SoHo House in LA. And quite honestly, I love just meeting up with my friends in either Beverly Hills or in Hollywood and just enjoying each other. I love the Sunset Plaza area where I can sit and enjoy a wonderful meal outside.

And the thing I want to tell anyone for the nightlife; the nightlife is all around you. You have to find out what you love. It can be anything from eating somewhere in Los Feliz – you can do anything. It’s just a wonderful experience.”

Said Faraj (Green Zone, 24, NCIS: Los Angeles, Undercovers) 
Who’s the Modern Man – are you the Modern Man? “With extreme modesty, yes I am. I feel that Hollywood reached a moment right now that they lost the touch with class – I mean understand the way it is, because I feel that it is very important to bring back the old Hollywood. Because when old Hollywood – wherever they go, even they go to the market – they always dress up, and they have this beautiful sharpness about them. So I feel that what I did – I took the old Hollywood. I use scarves a lot of times. I always wear like blazers, no matter what it is. I always groom myself I mean because it’s very important. It’s very important, as we are an example to so many people that they look at us.”

Projects: “I’m an actor and my film is Green Zone that I came in opposite Matt Damon. I was one of the main leads and last year I was submitted for the [2011 42nd Annual NAACP] Image Award for Best Supporting Actor. This year, I shot my own film – executive producing, directing and starring.”

Article of Clothing the Modern Man Must Have: “Personally I always like blazers. I don’t like to wear a shirt without a blazer. If I’m going out, I always know that I’m in colors. The old Hollywood – they used to stick to like white and the grayish and the black – and now, they come up with like purple, red, pink. But we have to know how to wear the whole outfit. I also like scarves a lot.”

Where He “Where To’s”: “A hookah lounge. It’s called Ocean Café & Restaurant It’s in Northridge, on the corner of Balboa and Devonshire, and they do the best hookah. They have Middle Eastern food, Mediterranean food and it's very healthy – I’m pretty much into health. It’s half outdoors and indoors and I enjoy it a lot.

George Blodwell, Gen Lux Editor and Fashion Stylist
Looking Dapper! “I’ve been working like this all day.”

You’re looking like the Modern Man: “I guess I am a modern man. I’m quite an old man.”

Where He “Where To’s”: “I like the Petite Ermitage. I like Chateau Marmont. And there’s a little place in the Valley I like to go called Tony's Darts Away. It’s a vegan bar that has lots of different homebrews – different beers and vegan food. I’ve been vegetarian for 40-odd years. I love being at home and having lots of good friends over, some celebrities and such. I’m a stylist. I dress people and I’m editor of fashion magazine, so I get around [laughs].” 

** All photo credits by Winston Burris, except for photos of Said Faraj and George Blodwell, taken by Tulani Watkins
Interviews have been condensed and edited for length purposes.

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