Meet the man behind one of New York’s biggest Pride parties


Sitting in a beer garden on Governors Island in New York City in the spring of 2010, world-renowned event producer Jake Resnicow was stuck.

Earlier that year, Resnicow had quit his high-paying job as a consultant for accounting giant Deloitte to launch his career as an event producer, throwing a party for New York Pride weekend. But the venue in Resnicow, a Brooklyn bar, had just informed her that it would be closing permanently.

Looking around the 172-acre island of mostly empty fields and abandoned military structures just south of Manhattan, Resnicow had an idea. He would throw the party there. He approached a bartender at one of the few establishments operating on the island.

“I remember going up to one of the bartenders and saying, ‘Hey, have you ever had an event here? and they were like, ‘No, it’s not going to happen,’” recalls Resnicow, 37.

The next day, dressed in a suit and tie, Resnicow returned, met with city officials unannounced and convinced them to give him the right to hold the first-ever large-scale concert on Governors. Island – now known for its many summer music events. .

With virtually no experience in event marketing, Resnicow, who is gay, video reels stitched together Pride parties he had attended in Ibiza, Spain, using Apple’s premier video editing software, iMovie. And it worked.

On the last Saturday in June 2010, thousands of LGBTQ people ventured from all over the world to New York City and took the ferry to Governors Island for the event, a six-hour DJ set featuring ballerinas, aerialists, performers from Broadway and fireworks.

“I felt a magic when I was on this island, and there was something so special about getting on that ferry and going there, and being in this magical place with an epic sunset, and to be able to build a stage that really celebrated our full community,” Resnicow said. “It really comes from the heart — and that’s really what I’m saying and I believe that’s what makes every event so special — the heart .”

Resnicow’s first event made him an instant nightlife hit. In the 12 years since, his company, Jake Resnicow Events, produced about 1,200 parties, he said. Some of its events have included many of the biggest paid LGBTQ celebrations in the world, such as the Life Ball in Vienna, the White Party in Miami and the WE Party at World Pride, headlined by top musical artists like Ricky Martin, Janet Jackson and Katy Perry.

Cyndi Lauper performs at the 2019 WorldPride Celebration.File John Lamparski/Getty Images

For this year’s New York City Pride weekend, which took place the last weekend in June, Resnicow, along with DJ Ty Sunderland, will produce the planet pride festival, a 12-hour party at the Brooklyn Mirage. Headliners include DJs Galantis, SG Lewis and LP Giobbi, with performances from “RuPaul Drag Race” alumni Aquaria, Gottmik and Violet Chachki – plus a “surprise popstar”.

Resnicow, who lives between Miami and New York, was born and raised outside of Boston. He said he fell in love with the nightlife industry while working as an MC and DJ for bar mitzvahs and local weddings throughout high school. He took a break from the nightlife industry to pursue his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University, where he studied government.

After graduating from college in 2008, Resnicow pursued his interest in politics on Capitol Hill, working for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Soon after, he moved to New York to work as a human capital analyst for Deloitte for nearly two years. Meanwhile, Resnicow attended a party in Ibiza, where he found himself drawn back to his childhood passion for the nightlife industry.

“Back then, New York nightlife in 2010 was still very much like a dark room, dark lights, very dark,” Resnicow said. “And then I went to Ibiza, and I saw drag queens and aerialists and shows that had so much color and drama, and I was like, ‘Why don’t we have that here? “”

Resnicow attributes the trip to Ibiza – known as one of the party capitals of the world – to his penchant for creating parties with “magical moments that blow people away”.

Global Pride Celebration 2019
The WorldPride celebration at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on June 29, 2019.File John Lamparski/Getty Images

For the upcoming New York Pride weekend, Resnicow plans to recreate what he calls a “wow factor” by making his event global. People around the world will be able to experience Resnicow’s Planet Pride festival right in their living room, through the Metaverse, a virtual reality world.

“Not only can you walk around and interact with people, talk to people, engage with people, but you can go on stage and watch the show live and experience the party,” Resnicow said. “So instead of it being like a… a linear live stream, you’re actually there.”

Resnicow added that he is also working with several LGBTQ advocacy groups to bring their efforts to the metaverse so that queer people around the world can access their services anonymously from home.

Many Resnicow-produced parties also serve as fundraising events for LGBTQ causes. From 2011 to 2019, Resnicow said he helped raise millions of euros by producing the Life Ball, one of Europe’s biggest charity events, to fight HIV/AIDS; it ran from 1992 to 2019. For World Pride in 2019, Resnicow’s WE Party at New York’s Javits Center raised more than $500,000 for multiple LGBTQ charities, he said.

This year, her Planet Pride event will benefit nonprofits NYC Pride, which hosts the annual New York City Pride Parade, and FEMME House, which works to help women and LGBTQ people in the music industry. .

But while many LGBTQ and Pride celebrations have helped elevate the community, some have also become targets of hate-motivated attacks in recent years.

Late last year, LGBTQ Americans were spooked when federal prosecutors arrested a man they say threatened to attack this year’s New York Pride parade with “firepower” that would “would make the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting look like a walkover,” referring to the gay nightclub massacre in Florida that left 49 people dead and dozens injured. And last month, a man walked into a Brooklyn gay venue, Rash Bar, with a bottle of flammable liquid and set the venue on fire.

The hate-motivated attacks “show how important it is that we do what we do” to the LGBTQ community, Resnicow said.

“I say this over and over again, but I really say this from the heart: we need to provide places where you can come together and celebrate Pride 24/7 in a safe space,” he said. -he declares.

The LGBTQ nightlife scene has also been plagued with issues within the community itself. In recent years, queer activists of color have accused the LGBTQ nightlife industry of catering exclusively to white gay men, while excluding queer people of color and the transgender community.

In 2017, 11 gay venue owners in Philadelphia underwent mandatory anti-discrimination training after several alleged incidents involving racial discrimination at various LGBTQ bars. In 2018, a group of drag queens, all trans women of color, quit their jobs at a popular Atlanta gay club, Burkhart’s, after its white owner allegedly posted racist messages on its Facebook page. And in 2020, a bartender at popular Washington, DC gay bar Number Nine apparently came under fire wearing a “black face” Covid-19 mask. The management of the bar then published a excusesclaiming that the bartender “had no idea what the mask represented”.

Resnicow, who is white, acknowledged racial discrimination concerns in his field.

“The reality is that has to change,” he said. “And one of the most important things I’ve learned over the past few years is that we have to be inclusive of everyone, and that starts at the top. As an event producer, it’s really on us. .

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