Party Producer Jake Resnicow Wants to Amaze You with a 5-D Experience

by Robert Nesti

EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor

Thursday February 27, 2020

When Jake Resnicow was growing up in a Boston suburb, you might likely have found him on a Saturday night DJing at a bat mitzvah or wedding. But even then he knew he was going to do bigger things in the entertainment world.

Flash-forward twenty years and you will likely find the enterprising Resnicow at his newest venture — his monthly event 5-D at ZeroSpace in New York City. Or working on his plans for New York Pride events, which last year brought Cyndi Lauper, Kygo, Billy Porter, Bette Midler and performers from Cirque du Soleil to the Javits Center for the Pride Festive event to celebrate Stonewall 50. The event set a new world record for the biggest Pride charity event in history.

If Nightlife 2020 has a superstar, it would be Resnicow who in a little more than a decade has transformed LGBTQ nightlife with his visionary events. Last year OUT Magazine named him "Most Influential Person of the Year."

One reason for that is Resnicow's philanthropic causes, which include such LGBTQ+ organizations like Trevor Project, Ali Forney Center, and It Gets Better for which he raises millions; another is his near primal drive to reinvent the nightlife experience in the 21st century, taking the notion of the circuit parties and making it fresh for a new generation.

Not that Resnicow started out producing high-end events such as Lifeball, Europe's biggest AIDS charity event, which he has done for the past eight years. Having graduated for Georgetown, he looked to find employment on Capitol Hill, even working for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. And while he moved on from working in DC, he hasn't left politics behind — he is the co-founder of VOTE PROUD, a non-partisan movement to inspire the LGBTQ+ community to register and vote.

And you will likely find him this weekend at ZeroSpace, a monthly event described as New York's first 5-D nightclub that he is producing. Inspired by the visuals of Burning Man, you will Touch, Feel and Live like never before! follow this link.

EDGE spoke to Resnicow recently about being Nightlife's most innovative producers, politics and the state of LGBTQ clubbing.

His calling

EDGE: What was it like being named OUT Magazine's "Most Influential Person of the Year?"

Jake Resnicow: I am honored to be in such incredible company. It wouldn't be possible without my incredible team. I'm looking forward to 2020 and beyond!

EDGE: How did you become an event producer?

Jake Resnicow: My first event was 2010 was when we took over Governors Island during Pride. Seeing thousands of smiling faces as the fireworks went off, I knew this was my calling. That being said, entertainment has always been in my blood. I got my start MCing weddings and bar-mitzvahs when I was a teenager.

EDGE: This is your 10th year as an event producer. How does that make you feel?

Jake Resnicow: I love what I do. It's been quite the journey. I'm especially excited to make this year one for the record books! I approach each event from the lens of how can we do more and be extraordinary. Whether we're taking over a WaterPark or an Island, I challenge my incredible creative team to go the extra mile. Each event must be special and memorable.

A safe space

EDGE: You were once nightlife editor here at EDGE back in the day. How has nightlife changed since then?

Jake Resnicow: Nightlife has always offered safe spaces to express one's identity, test new looks, desires and orientations. Today, since the boom of social dating apps, there are far fewer clubs. Our community has become more selective about going out. As a producer, I welcome the challenge to think outside the box and create one-of-kind experiences.

EDGE: You went to Georgetown, worked for Ted Kennedy on Capitol Hill and worked as a consultant when you had a change of heart in 2009 and put that behind you. Can you describe what happened?

Jake Resnicow: I've always had a passion for politics, but the more I learned how government really works behind-the-scenes, I realized it wasn't for me. As a Co-Founder for VOTE PROUD, it's all coming full circle for 2020!

EDGE: Your first big event was 2010 Pride Event on Governor's Island. What was it like putting together such a big event for the first time?

Jake Resnicow: It was exhilarating, although there were definitely hurdles along the way. Originally, the event was supposed to take place at the nightclub M2, but right before I announced, they were closed down for good. But I didn't let that stop me. And it all worked out! When the sun set over Governors Island, and the fireworks lit up the sky, and I saw a sea of smiling faces, I knew this was my calling.

Greatness is giving

EDGE: You have raised millions for such LGBTQ organizations as The Trevor Project, Ali Forney Center, and It Gets Better. What motivates you to pursue such philanthropic endeavors?

Jake Resnicow: I truly love what I do and philanthropy is an essential part of it. In fact, I just returned from an Ayahuasca Retreat with my mother at Arkana Spiritual Center in Peru, and it reaffirmed what I knew already: Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

EDGE: Your events are known for their elaborate sets and musical numbers equal to Broadway. Are you a believer in more is more?

Jake Resnicow: Without a doubt! I love integrating as many elements as possible to give our guests a 360° experience! This past Pride, I invited "STOMP," Cirque du Soleil, Beyonce's Choreographer Chris Grant, 50 pro dancers, as well as a cast of 30 Broadway performers to all come together on the same stage at the Javits Center for an amazing cause! I'm most proud of how we integrated each performance seamlessly without any stoppage of the music. It's all about the journey.

EDGE: Are you thinking of producing in a different arena, say Broadway?

Jake Resnicow: I doubt it. But I do love Broadway and get much inspiration from theater.

The 5-D experience

EDGE: What is the state of gay club culture in 2020?

Jake Resnicow: Guests are looking for experiences more than ever before. In today's digital age, it's critical to create opportunities for people to connect face-to-face on an authentic level. I love developing experiential events that take you away from your devices and on a journey. With my new monthly event 5-D at ZeroSpace in New York City, we're doing just that!

EDGE: Yes, ZeroSpace, which is called the world's first 5-D nightclub, is the event you recently developed and opened. How do you describe it?

Jake Resnicow: You have to experience it! We take over a 25,000 square-foot mind-blowing digital playground. Beyond the mega-dancefloor with state-of-the-art sound and lights, there are 5 experiential rooms where you can interact with cutting-edge art installations. For example, the laser forest features an infinity room of rotating lasers. Another features the first-ever dynamic piece from the world-famous artist duo, Hybycozo. The 3-foot pendant features internal and external illumination, synced to music, in a room full of haze. The venue was inspired by and features art direct from Burning Man.

Register to vote

EDGE: How important is social media in promoting your events?

Jake Resnicow: Social media is definitely important to getting the word out. Because we're all connected in real-time and so often going "live", producers have to work harder to deliver exceptional talent, service and production. Word spreads fast, and the bar is consistently being raised.

EDGE: How have social media hook-up sites changed gay nightlife?

Jake Resnicow: People are more selective about going out. I welcome the challenge of creating spectacles and experiences that you can't miss.

EDGE: Do you have a social life?

Jake Resnicow: Of course. I love my friends, meeting new people and traveling to destinations for inspiration.

EDGE: If you could work with any artists, who would they be?

Jake Resnicow: I would love to curate a show with Eric Prydz and Above & Beyond. Stay tuned ;)

EDGE: Are you supporting any candidate this year?

Jake Resnicow: My focus is inspiring our community to register and vote. It's shocking that less than 1 in 2 registered LGBTQ+ adults voted in 2016. Meanwhile, our rights are under attack every day. For example, only 21 states in our country have laws prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Process that. You can be fired just for being gay, and have no recourse. We have to make our voice heard. We must change this. That's why I co-founded the movement to VOTE PROUD.

EDGE: And if you didn't become a nightlife producer, what would you be doing?

Jake Resnicow: There once was a day I wanted to be the Chief of Staff to the President. I'm definitely glad I followed my current path ;)

For more on Jake Resnicow, visit Jake Resnicow's website.

Watch this look at Jake Resnicow's We Party Magic Planet at The Javits Center in NYC, June 2019:

Watch this clip of Cyndi Lauper performing We Party in NYC for World Pride 2019:

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].