His mission when it comes to partying? To reimagine people’s expectations of what a ‘gay dance party’ is and produce the best party in the world. Sure, it’s a lofty ideal, but it’s definitely one that he’s making tangible progress towards achieving.
The gay party scene, like so many other aspects of modern life, is at an interesting point. Consider just a few of the factors that are impacting, changing and shaping the industry.
No one parties anymore…
The rise of the rights movement (marriage, employment, discrimination) as a focus with the gay community has in some ways superseded our desire to party. Or at least this sort of narrative has begun to creep into our community.
For some, this means shedding our party going image and becoming proper and upstanding citizens. It’s as if the two concepts are somehow unable to co-exist. Why can’t we have marriage equality and equal rights under every single aspect of the law and enjoy a wide variety of nightlife and party options as well?
In our desire to attain equal rights, perhaps we’re losing sight of the fact that we can at the same time, maintain our own sense of individuality and difference from the straight community as well.
In the same way that I personally don’t want to get married (yet I fully support and have marched for marriage equality), those that choose not to partake in partying can still acknowledge that there are people who do – and not make them feel bad for wanting that.
No one parties like they used to…
Ah, the good ol’ days we keep hearing about it, when the music/sex/drugs were better and people really knew how to party. Except the thing is, the good ol’ days of someone in their 50s, are going to be very different from someone in their late 20s. There’s a great quote making the rounds of social media and it goes like this:
When someone says 10 years ago, I still think about the 90s – not 2006.
Time is relative. If you grew up on Madonna, you might see Gaga as a cheaper (reductive even) version. Or you might see Madonna as nothing compared to Barbra Streisand. Whether we realise it or not, the music of our formative years tends to define our musical standards for the rest of our lives. It becomes the benchmark by which we judge everything else.
Rather than focus on sentiment tinged nostalgia, let’s accept the fact that in 20 years from now, someone is going to be looking back on 2016 as their good ol days (and probably be lamenting that they don’t make music like they used to either.)
And everything else…
Then there’s also the effects of digital disruption, a world still recovering from a massive financial crisis and the closure of many nightlife options in cities across the world left to deal with.
So, there’s a lot going on for an industry and a scene that just wants people to have a good time, dance, make friends and create some awesome memories.
Which is why I wanted to reach out to Eliad. Following the Papa Party in Instagram, and seeing all the fun he gets up to all over the world (including Australia), I reached out to him for a chat about his successful Papa Party empire, pride and the tragedy that happened in Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
Read the interview with Eliad Cohen below:
Little Gay Blog – Thanks for your time Eliad. What inspired you to start the Papa Party / Papa World Tour back in 2010, and why is it called ‘Papa’ – where does that come from?
Eliad – We started Papa Party six years ago in Tel Aviv as a new small party production for gay men. I decided to call it “Papa” because of the masculine image that the word “papa” has. The idea was to create a party that showcase the manly side of the gay community, and that is why we also added a mustache to the logo.
Over the years it grow into Papa World Tour: a party production for gays all over the world. Going from city to city with different concepts, great djs, wonderful dancers, amazing promoters and the best crowds keeps Papa Party going and making it a party where people can come together and celebrate being themselves.
I believe you brought the Papa Party to Australia once in 2014. What were your impressions of Australia and Australian men – and any plans on returning?
My first time in Australia was in Sydney for “Mardi Gras”. I was very impressed with the city and the people.
The Papa party there was amazing. The energy of the crowd was incredible and I really look forward going back to Australia and throwing another big party with the wonderful Australian crowd.
Do you remember the first party you ever went to in your life and what was it like?
The first gay party I went to, outside of Israel, was WE party in Madrid. I was just amazed with the production, the show and the energy. It was truly impressing and I got really inspired by this great party that I still love and admire.
Some gay guys might see an event like the Papa Party and feel like it’s not right for them because they might feel they need to look a certain way, or feel like they’re too old. What would you say to them about how welcoming the Papa Party really is?
Papa party is about the energy not the labels.
You can find all kinds of people at our parties. It’s about having fun, enjoying, leaving the attitude at home and coming together in celebration of life.
It doesn’t matter how society labels you, it matters that you bring good energy and are ready to party.
Given you are heavily involved in the gay nightlife community, how did the Orlando shooting affect you on a personal level?
When I woke up to this horrible news of the attack in Orlando I was sad and heart broken.
The thing that made me even sadder was to see the effect this attack had on the gay community. People were afraid to go out, to be who they are.
So I felt obliged to post a video that tells gays around the world that we shouldn’t let this hurt us because these terrorists are the ones who should feel ashamed. We shouldn’t let anyone make us feel bad about ourselves.
We should stand strong and love who we are. We are gay and we need to be proud of it.
And lastly – it’s fair to say, you party a lot. What do you do to relax and unwind?
When I’m not at parties, when I’m not working, I like to spend my time relaxing at home, hanging with my friends and family, going to the gym, watching movies and other things that are much more quiet.
In many ways my personal life is very different than my work life in Papa party because I must maintain some balance. I work every day at the office, and on the weekends I’m at the parties, so the only way for me to keep going is by keeping my everyday life as calm as possible.