There are a large number of festivals, nightclubs and extravaganzas that take place every year. People go for the music, the vibe and the overall one-of-a-kind atmosphere each event brings. But the aesthetic at these colorful gatherings would not be the same without visuals, and that’s where Steve Lieberman comes in. Lieberman has been working in lighting and production for decades and has been the mastermind behind huge events such as Coachella and EDC, and this weekend the lighting guru is taking on one of NYC’s biggest LGBTQ parties— We Pride.
Production guru Steve Lieberman gives the scoop on what to expect at one of NYC’s largest LGBTQ events, We Pride
Lieberman got his start in the industry at a young age. “Right after college I went and worked for a company called Event Effects. They were nightclub installers for lighting systems and they also did special events, mostly in the gay community. Back then it was all circuit parties– like the Black Party and the White Party and everything in the middle.”
The Black Party is legendary in the Big Apple, and almost notorious for the no-holds-barred atmosphere. “The Black Party is kind of a hardcore event in the gay community. I was just there by happenstance because I worked for the company who did all the lighting for it. I was a straight kid right out of college and the Black Party being the first event I did in New York—-It was a pretty intense experience,” says Lieberman. “After that, there’s not really much that can shock me. Having worked a lot of events in the gay community, I would say the Black Party is an anomaly. It’s the one percent kind of event, but that was really my exposure in working with the gay community.”
25 years later Lieberman is still working with the gay community, and his latest project, We Pride, is right around the corner. “We’ve been working on We Pride for eight months. Putting it together, getting it dialed in, back and forth with site coordination and design coordination, plus confirming vendors and labor. It’s been a very intense design project to make sure this thing is 100 percent,” says Lieberman. “For the most part, we design everything but the audio. From the stage layout to the video screens to the lighting and production, special effects, lasers, confetti— anything else that goes with this show that is coordinated visually typically falls under our responsibility.”
We Pride is an all-out high-energy party featuring one of a kind performances, treats for the eyes, VIP opportunities and much more in store. Lieberman and his team have been working with each individual performer and artist to make sure the event is a truly unique experience for the audience.
“For this show, in particular, they have a lot of special artists coming in outside of just a DJ performing. Cyndi Lauper is performing and Beyonce’s choreographer is coming in with a whole troupe of people, plus Cirque Du Soleil is coming in,” says Lieberman. “We’re coordinating with each specific special artist who is going to be there to make sure that it looks the way they want it to work while also having them understand that I’m there protecting the best interest of the show. I’m also making sure that everything balances with the show and what we deliver to the audience as well.”
That balancing act for We Pride includes 500,000 watts of sound, 390” wide LED screens, 300 moving lights, 50 international dancers, 26 Lasers and more.
Even though it seems like everything may go on without a hitch, in lighting and production anything can go wrong, and the show must still go on. “Equipment might fail, something may not get loaded into the truck, maybe half of the crew just went to the wrong location, it could be anything. We could have an electrical spike, or maybe something doesn’t just work, so you deal with it,” says Lieberman. “In the production world, that’s what separates the professionals from the amateurs. Anyone can handle it when everything goes to plan and it’s rainbow and unicorns. But when things go south and you have some adversity to deal with, that’s really what separates the pros.”
We Pride is this Saturday, June 29 at 9 pm at the Javits Center (655 West 34th St. New York). For more information and tickets visit showclix.com. For more information on Steve Lieberman visit sjlighting.net