Kevin Joseph, founded his company the “Event Savant” when he moved to Denver in 2003 with the intention of developing large scale events that would appeal to the “interested & interesting.” Kevin has developed several signature events and has a reputation for originality in concept and excellence in production and promotion.
When asked what makes him tick, Kevin says: “I have a ton of heart, soul, imagination, energy, enthusiasm, and I’m tenacious. I never quit.” In today’s competitive world, all good qualities to have.
Unique, talented, outspoken - and a bit of gutsy outrageous, Kevin possesses sage-like qualities and is limitless in his “sky’s the limit” approach to creating extraordinary events.
Beyond good ideas and exceptional operational experience, Kevin is engaging, charming, - and deep – a man who relishes life and everything he has experienced. Kevin is wild about living in Colorado and says: “I love the range and diversity of social, cultural, and athletic opportunities in Colorado. It simply can’t be matched anywhere in the world. And the weather is amazing. You have two distinct climates one hour from one another, and you get 300 days of sunshine!”
The seriously stylish, but grounded, Kevin Joseph has always been a high achiever - going even further back to when he started skiing at the age of 11 and professionally teaching others to ski at the age of 14. He’s worked hard for what he has accomplished in his life so far - and has the “chutzpah” needed to take him to even greater heights.
(For more scoop on Kevin, go to his websites at www.KevinJoseph.com, www.EventSavant.com or www.SkiWithKevin.com.)
What or who has played an important part in your life?
My older brother Rick. He’s a grounding force. He helps me keep my feet on the ground…even if my head is in the clouds.
What is your definition of a good friend?
A person for whom you are always “top of mind”. Someone who would go a long way to bail you out of jail. My Dad once said to me: “If you are very lucky you’ll have 5 real, true friends in life.” Honesty and loyalty are what I cherish the most from my best friends.
What really makes you rock & roll/get up and go?
EVENTS. Creating unique and original events. With rich themes and features where the guest feels like they are part of the show or part of the action. Capturing the imagination and advocacy of “the interesting and interested” through a special event and creating a sense of community through that.
What or whom are you willing to break all the rules for?
To change the world. TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK. To re-define the meaning of the word “event” and its value proposition to the guest.
What really lifts your spirits?
When people recognize the massive sacrifice and ridiculous risk I have taken to create the events that they say “have made Denver a better place”.
What event have you been to that is the “gold standard” of events?
I think that the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen every winter is probably my favorite Colorado event and the gold standard. Aspen is special. Once you weed out all those that would “Californicate” Aspen and Colorado, you can meet some interesting people. And chill with the most fun celebrities…comics. Over that weekend I get to ski and party like a Viking…plus see some really great shows and most of the top comics. It’s ideal for me. I tend to come home in an ambulance, but its great fun.
What’s the best charitable event you have ever been to?
I really do enjoy the Kentucky Derby Party. Great crowd. Everyone dresses. Everyone “gets it” and plays along. And, most importantly, I don’t have to do any work. I just drink my weight in Mint Juleps and pose for pictures with as many pretty girls as possible.
What non-profit organizations are you involved with at this time?
My main focus is on “The Sculptured House Trust.” It’s a brand new charity created by myself and the new owner of The Sculptured House, Michael Dunahay. The charter is to protect, preserve, improve and share the Sculptured House (aka The Sleeper House or The Spaceship House) in Genesee. And to do so responsibly in a small, sensitive, rural mountain community where there are many more elk and deer than people. The home is quite famous and a monument to progressive thinking, design and architecture. It could serve as an epicenter of progressive thinking for Denver, Colorado and America going forward.
It has played host to dozens of fundraiser which have raised millions of dollars for various civic and charitable causes. We hope to continue the tradition established by the previous owner (John Huggins) of making it available for fundraising - and to share it with the world. To do so responsibly requires significant time, money and effort. So, The Trust will administer gatherings there, develop plans and support for maintenance, new structures on the land around the existing house (which will make it even more appealing as a retreat or a gathering place) and manage gatherings in a such a way as to keep their impact on the house, the property and the community as “low impact” as possible. My role as “Vice Chairman” is to do the heavy lifting. Take the calls. Manage the logistics. Solve the problems. Get things fixed.
But I’m also inventing this as we go along in collaboration with Michael and our other advisors and board members. I’m developing the story. Dreaming up the things we can do there. Pitching partners, sponsors, charities and the press. We’re going to be featured in the German Magazine Der Spiegel soon. It’s just crazy. Super fun.
Plus living up there all summer has been a dream. At 8,000 feet it’s much cooler. Deer and Elk all over the place. Views of the continental divide, the foothills and the Front Range. Fresh air. Quiet. Every day is like a little vacation 22 miles from Union Station. Double rainbows over Lookout Mountain. Eagles gliding on thermals above the house. Highly inspirational. Truly a manifestation of the intentions I have put forth since I moved to and started my company Denver in 2003.
What ability or talent do you wish you had more of?
I wish I was more of a numbers guy. I think in words, shapes, colors, emotions. My work is all about packaging and marketing to the subliminal, aspiration and perception. But numbers are important. I need to develop some mentors and advisors who are numbers guys.
Give us (just) one of the secrets to your success?
I have a secret weapon that is core to my nature I AM A HOST! I can’t help but be. It’s in my D.N.A.. With (literally) 35 years of hospitality experience from fine dining and ski instruction, and a grandmother (she passed away at 92) who was the “Hostess with the Mostess” and people would go way, way out of their way, past many other restaurants to go and have a drink or eat at one of “Terry & Joe’s” places. She was a restaurateur of the first order. But before that, she was a host.
What is your most glorious childhood memory?
Romping through the woods, marshes and beaches near our home in Three Mile Harbor, in East Hampton, with my black lab, Nimbus. Fishing with my grandmother in Florida. Learning to ski in upstate New York at age 11 and teaching my first ski lesson at age 14.
What would be your dream get-a-way?
I’m actually working on this exact trip for January. “Turf & Surf” - Four days of hard core skiing in Whistler, B.C. followed by ten days of hard core water time (scuba diving, surfing, fishing, kite boarding…etc.) in Costa Rica.
What item could you never own enough of?
Music. Not clothes. Not Jewelry. Not Cars. MUSIC.
How do you keep your cool during a tense encounter?
I try to project kindness and empathy. I remind myself that “taking offense” is “my choice” and that I am not willing to ever allow myself to become offended…even in the face of an extremely offensive comment or action.
What can Americans do to improve our image in the world?
Travel with humility and curiosity.
What is the most seductive aspect of living in the State of Colorado?
Two climates, low humidity and no mosquitoes.
What can you give yourself credit for inventing?
The Pairing of Wine & Fashion as an event concept. Well, almost all the credit. Chris Frampton at Riverfront Park brought the wine idea to the fashion show concept I developed for what became “The Riverfront Park Wine & Fashion Series.”
I did invent “Surf ON Turf,” however. And the concept of a Seafood & Wine Event. We did it in 2004 and 2005 in Denver with much success. It’s moving to Vail for 2007 and should become their signature culinary event for the third weekend in June. Now there we’ll have “Seafood at Altitude.”
Give us the “skinny” on being in the Event Industry?
Brutally difficult to make a living…especially in Denver where so many events are driven by philanthropy. I might as well have moved to L.A. and tried to be an actor or a comedian. I could have formed a band.
What or whom do you have the highest reverence for?
Loyalty & The Dalai Lama.
Who would you like to be for a day – (it can be anyone in history now or from the past)?
Bono or Julia Child. Bono because it would be an amazing feeling to affect a stadium full of people with your music and, at the same time, lead a revolution of consciousness regarding poverty and disease. Julia Child because I love to cook. And she is proof that being an original can pay off. She single-handedly invented the concept of the celebrity chef. And on top of that, she didn’t start to learn how to cook until she was 37 years old. She is proof that once you figure out what you want to be and do - you can do it.
Whom would you choose to jump out of your next Birthday Cake?
Nobody. I’m not a big “birthday guy.” I’m not so fond of the concept of celebrating the anniversary of my birth. It’s the oldest party concept on earth. I care to celebrate accomplishments, goals met, epiphanies, milestones, love and friendship 365 days a year. Birthday parties always seem to be disappointing to me.
Tell us about your next “Command Performance”?
The finale to the 2006 Riverfront Park Wine & Fashion Series featuring the fashions of Andrisen Morton paired with the wines of Italy on September 21, 2006. We had 612 guests for the August show featuring Fashions from Max and Wines of Argentina. So, we’re expecting another sell out for the finale of the series. Then (after a short break perhaps) the planning begins for my Second Annual Heaven & Hell Halloween Ball. Last year we did it at the Jet Hotel (formerly the Luna Hotel). It was amazing. 400+ revelers – all in great costumes. Halloween is my favorite holiday – by far!
How do you hope to leave your mark on this world?
As a great host and a leader. I want to bring people together for fun and change.
My Grandmother McCully was a great host and a savvy restaurateur. But she was not an agent for social change. I’d like to be a combination of her, Bob Hope and Bob Geldof. I like to host, entertain, make people think and make a difference.
My ultimate dream is still grounded in Colorado. It’s a long term project… something I tried to do for this year - and the 5th Anniversary of the events of 9/11. It was conceived of as a benefit concert at Red Rocks featuring U2, and we were trying to make it happen on Monday, 9.11.06. It would have been monumental for Denver and America.
The point was to create an international multi-media event (not unlike “Live Aid” or “Live 8”) five years after as a way to evaluate and “where we stand” and “where we are going.” The intention was to have the biggest recording artists, politicians, celebrities, thinkers, leaders, etc. come together and lead America in an open heart, open mind experience that both reflected on the past and looked to the future.
Without getting too political or nationalistic, I wanted to lead America in a “think & do – in.” You know, like, be grateful that we are still here and consider what we can do better as one person, a community, a nation and as a member of the international community.
It was called “The Bright Blue Sky Project,” playing off of the seminal live U2 album recorded at Red Rocks in June 1983 called “Under a Blood Red Sky.”
Maybe I was ahead of my time in 2006. Maybe five years isn’t long enough to properly reflect on the events of that day. Maybe 2011 and the 10th Anniversary is more of a milestone. Anyway, the web site that describes it all is still up at: www.BlueSkyRedRocks.com.
Finish this sentence: “I am the luckiest guy on earth because ------------
Well, after the miracle of conception, birth, making it through various phases like puberty, motorcycles and extreme skiing… I’d say that I’m lucky to be able to enjoy a great deal of health and energy - I would say that can BE what I AM.
I am inventing a life WAY out of the box. And nailing it. Making a living, traveling and living life like this; sometimes I can’t believe I am actually doing what I set out to do.