Advertising’s Angry White Man

Steven Grasse’s high-school rock band, Hair Club for Men, never made it big, but that doesn’t mean the bass guitarist turned adman won’t get face time on MTV.

The Real World, the famed reality show known as much for the lavishly converted buildings that house the cast members as for the drama that unfolds under their roofs, chose to bedeck the walls of Philadelphia’s Seaman’s Church Institute, in a former bank building on Arch Street, with a 6-foot-high portrait of the Gyro Worldwide CEO. “I was approached by one of the set designers. They were looking for art for the Real World house, photos that would stimulate stories for the show,” says Pier Nicola D’Amico, the photographer who shot the sneering portrait of Grasse, titled Angry White Man. The photo, originally published last year in Philadelphia Magazine, will hang opposite a milder portrait of Philly DJ King Britt, also shot by D’Amico.

“He’s very happy and angelic, and on the opposite wall is the Angry White Man. That’s me,” says Grasse. And what about the angry-man snarl? D’Amico asked for a war cry, but Grasse says he prefers to think of himself as a prankster. “People say I yell and scream a lot. I don’t yell. I talk loudly,” he says.

While Grasse, 40, can watch the show’s 15th season from his home in the tony Society Hill neighborhood, his portrait will be part of a “pimped-out playground” that includes an olive tree, a hot tub, a basketball hoop and a chandalier-cam, according to MTV’s Web site.

You can catch a glimpse of Grasse’s mug when the new season begins Sept. 7 at 10 p.m.