Originally a host of some of NYC’s most popular circuit parties in recent years, Eric Michael is now producing one of the last big kikis of May 2022. [Cover photo: Frank Carrasquillo]
Thotyssey: Hello Eric, thanks for chatting with us today! So, summer weather is here! Are you happy with that?
Eric Michael: I am so excited for the summer, because it brings a total shift in how we celebrate with one another. Bring on the tea dances, the Fire Island house parties, rooftop kikis. It’s magical, really!
I feel like you have been kiki’ing with the kids for awhile now, but we’ve really been seeing your own produced events a lot more fequently this year. Is that accurate?
Yes! As a host for many of the big events, it was my job to connect one another, and show everyone a great time. And we would always keep the party going somewhere, anywhere! Hence, the rise of the kikis. Now we are using that kiki energy and community involvement to create a renaissance in nightlife! Parties for the people and by the people. It takes a village to do this, and everyone gets their hands dirty with us.
So to back track a bit, where are you from originally… and what were your interests and experiences that may have ultimately led you to nightlife?
I’m from Miami, born and raised there, and left to NYC when I was 20. Nightlife is ingrained in the DNA of that city, so I’ve really been immersed in it from an early age.
Nightlife became therapeutic for me. Being LGBTQ, it’s so, so important to find your tribe: those we can relate to and be vulnerable with. We need that release. Many of us are richly creative people who don’t easily fit into general society’s norms. Nightlife gives us the chance to be whoever we want to be. You can get in a look, live your fantasy, and forget about the problems happening outside the velvet rope. And I think it’s that fantasy and the opportunity to connect that are what draw me in.
Same! How did you break into nightlife here in NYC?
Brian Rafferty and Xander Alexander gave me my first shot; Brian had created something truly special with Trade NY, and Xander brought me on as one of their hosts when they were expanding the brand. That’s where I got my course in Hosting 101 and grassroots event building. From there I went on to work with Jake Resnicow on Matinee, and John Blair and Jake Resnicow on M.E.A.T. They taught me production, marketing and operations and really are pioneers of their respective generations in the business of nightlife.
Hosting large circuit parties is a harder job than a lot of people give it credit for. Not only do you have to recruit a lot of people to come, but you really have to be a social butterfly and make as many people as you can feel welcome! Does that sort of thing come naturally to you, or do you have to turn that on?
It does come naturally. I want to make you smile! The most satisfying feeling comes when I get to catch my breath and look over a catwalk or mezzanine and see all the different people come together, smile, laugh, and kiss. It’s pure magic.
And how and when did you start doing your own events?
I took my first stab at it when NYC hosted World Pride in 2019. I teamed up with the CLIMAX Miami team to give their infamous high-energy party a NYC debut on the Monday night, after a whole week of official events had ended. The boys and girls came out in full force for one last dance that blew our expectations out of the water.
Our brands include FEVER, CLIMAX, KABOOM and we recently added ANARCHY. Some of my favorite themes have included “Cruella,” “Volcanic Paradise Island” for afterhours and “Diamonds & Opulence.”
Let’s talk about “ANARCHY,” the party you’re co-producing with BLR at Nebula on May 29! Nicky Doll will be hosting, and DJs Shane Marcus and Allan Natal will be spinning! Tell us more about what’s in store for us that night!
Anarchy won’t just be a fierce party, but a statement to the entire scene. We are pushing the envelope of what the public can expect from an LGBTQ dance party, starting with a a sick venue, Nebula, where major acts like Steve Aoki and Eric Prydz have performed. Nebula is also staffed by one of the best tech teams in the industry including Darren Kawa and Tristan Fuge! Together with the incredible team at BLR Productions, we are showing the incumbent players what can be accomplished when our community comes together with the best of best–and that’s where the party name comes from.
Sounds amazing! Nightlife is the business of entertainment, of course. But especially when talking about queer nightlife, it’s also about community and coming together to raise funds or awareness for causes that affect us… or just being a support system, right?
Absolutely! When you look at the history of queer nightlife, and in particular circuit parties, they played an important role in getting us through the darkest times, raising funds for HIV/AIDS research, and more recently activism and mental health.
We cannot ever forget to give back! Which is why I’ve had leadership and producing roles with both Winter Party and Pines Party. “Tribal Fever Afterhours” having been chosen as the offcial afterhours and closing event of NYC Pride was one of the proudest moments of my life, and continues our mission to give back. In fact, we recently made a donation to Rainbow Railroad which helps LGBTQ+ people escape state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.
Speaking of “Tribal Fever Afterhours,” you’ll soon be serving a Pride edition!
After “Anarchy”we’ll take a short break until Pride, when we will have our biggest event to date: “Tribal Fever Afterhours!” It’s insane how quickly this party has grown from 300 to 500 and, most recently, 700 guests who keep the party going! We’ve really elevated the afterhours experience by having an entire complex with different rooms, ApplePay acceptance throughout, and immersive projections. To top it all off, it will be the official closing party for NYC Pride! And just three minutes from the main event happening at the Brooklyn Mirage.
What else is coming up for you, that you can discuss?
This is just the beginning! Exciting new venues are opening up all over the city, so there are lots of new projects from myself and all the players in nightlife. Keep your eyes peeled and text “FEVER” to 474747 to get on our list!
Definitely! Okay, let’s end with this: what song should the DJ play to make you lose your entire shit right now?
Right now … LMAO “Pepas” by Farruko!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Eric Michael’s upcoming events, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram. Also, check out his website.