Meet the man behind one of N.Y.C.’s biggest Pride parties

 

Sitting at a beer backyard on New York’s Governors Island in the spring of 2010, world-renowned occasion producer Jake Resnicow was caught.

Earlier that 12 months, Resnicow had give up his high-paying job as a advisor for accounting large Deloitte to launch his profession as an occasion producer, throwing a celebration for New York City’s Pride weekend. But Resnicow’s venue, a bar in Brooklyn, had simply knowledgeable him that it will be closing down completely.

Looking round at the 172-acre island of principally empty fields and deserted navy buildings simply south of Manhattan, Resnicow had an concept. He would throw the celebration there. He approached a bartender at one of the few venues working on the island.

“I keep in mind going as much as one of the bartenders and being like, ‘Hey, have you ever guys ever finished an occasion right here?’ they usually had been like ‘No, that’s not going to occur,’” Resnicow, 37, recalled.

The subsequent day, decked out in a swimsuit and tie, Resnicow returned, met with metropolis officers unannounced and satisfied them to provide him the rights to throw the first-ever large-scale live performance on Governors Island — now recognized for its many summer season music occasions.

With hardly any expertise in occasion advertising and marketing, Resnicow, who’s homosexual, stitched together video reels from Pride parties he had attended in Ibiza, Spain, utilizing Apple’s early video-editing software program, iMovie. And it labored.

Come that final Saturday of June 2010, hundreds of LGBTQ folks ventured from throughout the world to New York and schlepped by ferry to Governors Island for the occasion, a six-hour DJ set that includes ballerinas, aerialists, Broadway performers and fireworks.

“I felt a magic after I was on that island, and there was one thing so particular about getting on that ferry and going there, and being on this magical place with an epic sundown, and with the ability to construct a stage that actually celebrated our full group,” Resnicow stated. “It actually got here from the coronary heart — and that’s actually what I say and I imagine is what makes each occasion so particular — the coronary heart.”

Resnicow’s premiere occasion made him an immediate nightlife hit. In the practically 12 years since, his firm, Jake Resnicow Events, has produced roughly 1,200 parties, he stated. Some of his occasions have included a number of of the world’s biggest ticketed LGBTQ celebrations, akin to the Life Ball in Vienna, the White Party in Miami and World Pride’s WE Party, headlined by prime musical artists like Ricky Martin, Janet Jackson and Katy Perry.

Cyndi Lauper performs at the 2019 WorldPride celebration.John Lamparski / Getty Images file

For this 12 months’s New York City Pride weekend, held the final weekend in June, Resnicow, together with DJ Ty Sunderland, will produce the Planet Pride competition, a 12-hour celebration at the Brooklyn Mirage. Headliners embrace DJs Galantis, SG Lewis and LP Giobbi, with performances by “RuPaul Drag Race” alums  Aquaria, Gottmik and Violet Chachki — in addition to a “shock popstar.”

Resnicow, who lives between Miami and New York, was born and raised outdoors of Boston. He stated he first fell in love with the nightlife trade whereas working as an MC and DJ for native bar mitzvahs and weddings all through highschool. He took a break from the nightlife trade to pursue his bachelor’s diploma at Georgetown University, the place he studied authorities.

After graduating faculty in 2008, Resnicow continued his curiosity in politics on Capitol Hill, working for late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Shortly afterward, he moved to New York to work as a human capital analyst for Deloitte for nearly two years. During that point, Resnicow attended a celebration in Ibiza, the place he discovered himself drawn again to his childhood ardour for the nightlife trade.

“At the time, New York nightlife in 2010 was nonetheless very very like darkish room, darkish lights, very darkish,” Resnicow stated. “And then I went to Ibiza, and I noticed drag queens and aerialists and reveals that simply had a lot shade and theatrics, and I used to be like, ‘Why don’t we’ve this right here?’”

Resnicow credit that journey in Ibiza — often called one of the celebration capitals of the world — to his penchant for creating parties with “magical moments that blow folks away.”

2019 WorldPride Celebration
The WorldPride celebration at The Jacob Okay. Javits Convention Center in New York on June 29, 2019.John Lamparski / Getty Images file

For New York City’s upcoming Pride weekend, Resnicow plans to recreate what he calls a “wow issue” by bringing his occasion world. People from throughout the world will be capable to attend Resnicow’s Planet Pride competition  proper of their dwelling rooms, by the metaverse, a digital actuality world.

“Not solely are you able to stroll round and work together with folks, speak to folks, have interaction with folks, however you possibly can go stroll over to the stage and watch the dwell efficiency and expertise the celebration,” Resnicow stated. “So, as an alternative of it simply being like a … a linear dwell stream, you’re truly in it.”

Resnicow added that he’s additionally working with a number of LGBTQ advocacy teams to carry their efforts to the metaverse in order that queer folks from round the world can entry their providers anonymously from their houses.

Many of the parties Resnicow produces additionally double as fundraising occasions for LGBTQ causes. From 2011 to 2019, Resnicow stated he helped elevate thousands and thousands of euros producing the Life Ball, one of Europe’s biggest charity occasions, to battle HIV/AIDS; it ran from 1992 to 2019. For World Pride in 2019, Resnicow’s WE Party at New York’s Javits Center raised over $500,000 for a number of LGBTQ charities, he stated.

This 12 months, his Planet Pride occasion will profit nonprofits NYC Pride, which hosts New York City’s annual Pride parade, and FEMME House, which works to assist ladies and LGBTQ folks in the music trade.

But whereas many LGBTQ celebrations and Pride parties have helped to uplift the group, some have additionally turn out to be a goal for hate-fueled assaults lately.

Late final 12 months, LGBTQ Americans had been spooked when federal prosecutors arrested a man who they stated threatened to assault this 12 months’s NYC Pride March with “firepower” that might “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub taking pictures appear to be a cakewalk,” referring to the bloodbath at a homosexual nightclub in Florida that left 49 folks lifeless and dozens injured. And final month, a man walked right into a Brooklyn homosexual venue, Rash Bar, with a bottle of flammable liquid and set the venue on hearth.

The hate-based assaults “converse to how necessary it’s that we do what we do’’ for the LGBTQ group, Resnicow stated.

“I say it again and again, however I actually imply it from the coronary heart: We want to supply locations the place you possibly can come collectively and have a good time Pride 24 hours a day, seven days every week in a secure house,” he stated.

The LGBTQ nightlife scene has additionally been plagued with points from inside the group itself. In latest years, queer activists of shade have accused the LGBTQ nightlife trade of catering solely to white, homosexual males, whereas excluding queer folks of shade and the transgender group.

In 2017, 11 house owners of queer venues in Philadelphia went by necessary anti-discrimination coaching after a number of alleged incidents involving racial discrimination at varied LGBTQ bars. In 2018, a bunch of drag queens, all trans ladies of shade, give up their jobs at a well-liked Atlanta homosexual membership, Burkhart’s, after its white proprietor allegedly put up racist posts on his Facebook web page. And in 2020, a bartender at common Washington, D.C., homosexual bar, Number Nine, was slammed for apparently wearing a “black face” Covid-19 mask. The bar’s administration later posted an apology, claiming that the bartender “had no concept what the masks represented.”

Resnicow, who’s white, acknowledged the issues of racial discrimination inside his area.

“The actuality is, it wants to alter,” he stated. “And one of the biggest issues that I’ve discovered over the previous few years is that we must be inclusive of all, and that begins from the prime. As an occasion producer, it’s actually on us.”

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