As an LGBTQ owned company, pride month is something that is near and dear to our hearts. In this blog, we get to know our Creative Director, Jimmy Surace, a proud member of the LGBTQ community, a little better with five questions pertaining to pride, events and… gayness!
HOW HAS THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY HELPED SHAPE YOUR CAREER?
The gays taught me what events are at their core. Dramatic statement, yes… but also a very true statement. One of the first chapters in my events career was being an Associate Producer for a gay owned and operated International Event Company. We would charter cruise ships and buy out resorts, gut their entire program, sprinkle fairy dust on it, and voila a gay week was born. Our headliners included Joan Rivers, RuPaul, Idina Mendzel, etc.… gay icons only! It was seven days of rainbows, fabulousness, and glitter. Glitter everywhere… EVERYWHERE.
As the associate producer, I had the privilege of traveling the world and meeting many different types of guests. At this time in my life, I lived in Los Angeles and worked at an all-gay company. Therefore, I would sometimes forget about the hate and homophobia that still exists in the world. In conversations with guests, I realized some of them would save all year just to join our trips because it was the only time they were ever allowed to be themselves. Even though it was just for that week, it was a week they were free…. It was a week they were the majority.… It was a week they were not hated…. It was a week they were accepted. I realized as part of the event team making this happen, my job was greater than just matching my sequin angel wings to my thigh high boots for the crew’s final musical number. It was creating a moment for someone to escape all the weight of the world. Now, 15 years later, I still have that same driving force when producing and designing… Will this allow guests to forget about their problems for just a moment?
ARE THERE GAY ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOUR DESIGN?
I don’t know if they necessarily inspire my design, but they inspire me creatively. From Andy Warhol to Alexander McQueen to Frida Kahlo to Freddy Mercury to RuPaul; these artists think and create in a universe that is so unique with no limits or barriers. They define trends before they are trends, they create conversation, and they don’t obey the rules. They just create what is in their heart. That is inspiring in every sense of the word.
WHAT IS AN EVENT YOU WOULD DREAM OF BEING A PART OF
Brace for corny/ emotional answer in 3…2…1… The event that I dream of being a part of is my son’s wedding. He’s only 16 months now but one day I will look back at this answer, remember my little baby and be in complete shock that we are at this moment. Let’s just hope his spouse to be doesn’t have too many opinions because this day is meant to be about ME! Kidding…ish. But, seriously as an event planner, it is always a significant moment when you can cross paths between your personal and professional life and pay it forward to people you love. And I cannot think of a greater, more impactful event for me than my son’s wedding.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY ABOUT PRIDE PERTAINING TO EVENTS?
I am so grateful to be a part of the events community. This industry is a place I feel completely safe to be me. I don’t lower my voice, I don’t walk with less of a swish, and I certainly don’t pretend to know about sports (disregarding gymnastics and figure skating). It’s a diverse industry full of creative and eccentric people… minus the ops team… they are usually the exact same person, but we love and need them! All kidding aside, the events world has always celebrated individuality, expression, and acceptance. I am grateful I get to be a part of this family and world.
WHAT EVENT ARE YOU SHOWCASING IN THIS BLOG?
Keeping it pride themed and related, I think the obvious choice is a corporate event we did at the MOXI Museum in Santa Barbara California. Why is it the obvious choice?… Because we did a 64-foot rainbow floral table runner! Since the event was at a museum, we wanted to celebrate color and art. In the corporate world, rainbow designs are usually nixed because it reads ‘gay’… but of course they word it differently. Luckily this client was like, ‘YES LOVE IT’ with no hesitation. Dream client equals dream design.