Josh Wood: Pines Party Promoter Casts Fairy-Tale Spell

Josh Wood (Patrick McMullan)

Josh Wood (Patrick McMullan)

“It’s very tongue-in-cheek!” Party promoter Josh Wood was speaking to The Observer from Fire Island, where he was at work on the Pines Party, an annual bacchanal held on the beach. “There are tents decorated like The Emperor’s New Clothes, the Three Little Bears, Sleeping Beauty…”

This year’s installment of the Pines Party, an all-night party beginning at 10p.m. and benefiting beach-preservation and gay-rights causes, was themed around fairy tales: “The woods in Fire Island are such a big thing,” said Mr. Wood. “This year we decided to celebrate the enchanted magic of the forest. Almost every fairy tale has a storyline where someone goes into the woods, and magic and chaos ensues.”

Jared Needle, a business partner of Mr. Wood, told The Observer in another interview, “Josh Wood and I make an effort to do it in a way that makes sense for us—that I would be proud if my mom was there.”

Would Mr. Wood want to bring his mom to the Fire Island Pines Party? “Well, let’s see!” he laughed. “Everything I do, I try to make it both fun and smart. There’s different kinds of fun and there’s different kinds of smart.” Mr. Wood also organizes the amFAR AIDS-relief charity galas, and cited a recent “black tie / black leather”-themed gala at the New York Public Library as a high point of creativity.

“Someone was asking me, ‘what’s it like producing a circuit party?,’ Mr. Wood said, referring to the all-night romps populated with well-built young gents. “But it’s truly a community party, it’s 100 percent democratic. The handyman who works on my house goes, the butcher goes, the guy who runs the ferry service goes, all the muscle boys from Chelsea go, very wealthy homeowners go, and it’s much more interesting and engaging than clone like people who look the same.”

“You’re not going to see some big muscly circuit guy on there,” said Mr. Needle of his and Mr. Wood’s party invitations, “gyrating with blow-up animals. I don’t ever want to produce something that everyone else is doing. I try to evolve the community a bit. If everything is tacky and glossy and devoid of sophistication, I’d like to try to move people’s expectations further down the field and not perpetuate old stereotypes.”

Mr. Wood, who had attended Pines parties in his twenties, years before being asked to produce them, plans to dress as Hansel for the fairy tale-themed bash, adding to a crowd that includes Midsummer Night’s Dream characters, the Gingerbread Man, the seven dwarfs, and Pinocchio. “I’ve been searching for a Gretel!” he said.

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_