This is the expanded interview.
Kevin Larson: one of Colorado’s most well known names, the brainchild behind Kevin Larson Presents and the party scene that has Coloradans standing in line to let loose. With a career creating the magic and mayhem, we had to know: who the hell is he? He has Denver’s power elite crowd writhing on the dance floor at his annual Naughty Ball; the tickets for his New Year’s Eve White Rose Gala were an absolute must have (we enjoyed it very much). He’s surprisingly down to earth with a big laugh, and the confidence of a man who has done what he came here to do, and he’s almost ready to retire. Is Denver’s party scene doomed?
Yellow Scene: Thanks for giving us a call to chat. First question, Kevin Larson Presents is a local empire. What is, exactly, Kevin Larson Presents?
Kevin Larson: KLP is a group of people coming together trying to bring happiness to Denver, throw some amazing parties, and give people something different than what’s offered. Focusing mainly on theatrical style parties.
YS: Who is Kevin Larson versus Kevin Larson Presents? Who are you as the individual?
KL: *Laughs loudly* That is funny…there is definitely the Kevin Larson persona and the Kevin Larson. One is super outgoing and full of energy and doing everything. The other one is introverted and prefers to spend time one-on-one or with close friends and having in depth conversations on philosophy and life.
YS: What’s your philosophy on life?
KL: I take a very Taoistic view of life, of trying to enjoy every moment; try not to get too caught up in the rat race.
YS: You’re a local celebrity; [almost] everybody knows your name or events. How do you use your celebrity status to benefit others?
KL: There’s the direct benefit of bringing people together to escape the chaos of life, the day to day chaos and just check out for a bit, laugh, put all the woes and worries aside so we can focus on creating positive energy around each other. The other way is to work with charities. For NYE, we’re hoping to raise $50,000 for HomeAide Colorado, which helps to “build new lives for homeless families and individuals through housing and community outreach.” So, they fight homelessness in Colorado. Really good work.
YS: You’ve done well for yourself. What advice would you give your younger self?
KL: That’s interesting. I’d probably give my younger self the advice to not stress so much and to accept that the world is going to work out. Yet, on the flip side, that is also one of my biggest driving forces and why I’m still in this industry and still succeeding after all these years. I never stop. People think throwing events is easy. It’s fun, you get to take all of the bows and run around. What they don’t see is the 12, 14 hour days sitting in front of a computer, out marketing, researching the latest trends, negotiating rents and contracts. They don’t see that. Another piece of advice for my younger self is invest earlier: Invest! Invest! Invest! Let your money work for you. I spend more of my time just working with my investments than anything else.
YS: When would you say that you’ve been the most satisfied in your life?
KL: I’m a very fortunate person, honestly, and fairly satisfied in my life throughout. Great parents, not rich, but insanely loving and supportive. I’ve had some very powerful people throughout my life that have helped mentor me and give me the knowledge, both on the business side and on the spiritual side. We spend a lot of time with our friends looking to daily gratitudes. They’re always there. There’s always pitfalls, always ups and downs, but honestly, I love my life. I get to throw parties for a living, bring joy to other people. I mean, that does not suck. *Laughs* If I were to ever come out and say my life has been burdensome, I think a few people in Denver might show up on my front lawn with torches…
YS: Besides investments, what do you do when you’re not working?
KL: Tennis! I love to tennis. Bike riding, tennis…those are my main things. Get out of town, travel.
YS: Tell me about your dating life.
KL: I have a girlfriend. We’ve been together about four years.
KL: Put this in print, bold it, “SHE IS AMAZING!”
YS: *both laugh*
KL: And then I can print it out and have it framed, have a get out of jail card.
YS: Every time she’s mad just hand her a copy of the magazine…
KL: “Look, baby, it’s in print…” *Laughs* But really, she really is amazing and supportive and such a good soul.
YS: How did you get started in the event management business? How long have you been doing it?
KL: I’m 48. I’ve been doing this for 26, 27 years…we started out throwing a Halloween party back when there really weren’t Halloween parties. We wanted a party where people had to get in costume, so we made a “no costume, no entry” party. Small. 150 people, $20 a head for all the beer you could drink. Then, I started my lingerie romance boutique, and that’s what started the Victorian Fetish Ball, which kind of made the whole event company… Also called the Naughty Ball, actually let’s just call it the Naughty Ball, not confuse people.
YS: Right, and that’s pre-Halloween.
KL: The Naughty Ball is always a couple of weeks before Halloween. Then I do one on Halloween as well called Paranormal Palace.
YS: What’s the wildest thing that’s ever happened at one of your events?
KL: *laughs loudly* Yeah, that’s not…let’s just say it’s not NC-17.
YS: Is that the most we’re going to get?
KL: We’re gonna leave it right there for wildness. We’ve thrown A LOT OF interesting, creative parties, so…It goes back to, I’ve had a very blessed life. I’m very grateful for the life I’ve had. We’ll leave it at that.
YS: Speaking of the Naughty ball, the event page for that says that it is the place “where Denver’s elite and politicians and leaders come to party.”
YS: And it was held at a strip club, the Diamond Cabaret. That’s all true? So, can you tell us any names?
KL: Absolutely not. *laughs* We are a firm believer in bringing joy to people’s lives and we do not want to cause chaos. It’s an escape; it’s a safe zone. This is why cameras are not allowed in. The naughty ball is five hours of foreplay; not about being super crazy over-the-top. It’s sensual, and we want people to have an environment to push their boundaries slightly, and experience new things, and then go home and increase their relationship and their romance and their passion. The Kevin Larson company logo is the Flame of Passion. And that stands for reminding us all to live life with zest, live it with passion, both for sexuality as well as anything you do. As the event company, all our staff has the same guidelines: keep your mouth shut.
YS: I respect that. I just have to ask…
KL: *Laughs* I love the question. We do have lawyers and doctors and very affluent people that wanna have a lot of fun but, of course, they don’t really want that heavy blowback because the masses don’t understand that the Naughty Ball is not..you know. They would think, “Oh my god, there’s gonna be naked people running around and having sex.” That’s not true. First of all, it’d be illegal. Second of all, it’s just not what we’re about. We’re about titillation and excitement and lighting the fire under people so they can go home and have amazing sex…
YS: Last question: what are your plans for KLP?
KL: We’re gonna continue on. We brought Mardi Gras back with a vengeance last year; we built Bourbon Street inside Expo. We’re looking at a couple new events. Lastly, I’m getting to the point where I’m looking for one to three people that I can mentor, train, and can kinda turn over the company to. So I can do what I love, which is create. And let other people take the lead and be the forefront of the company; can’t get rid of it. Can’t let it go. It’s about time to start pulling back a bit. I’ve got about five or ten years left in me.
YS: Time to stop the grind and dedicate your life to the other passions you have.
KL: Exactly. Balanced life.
YS: Thanks for talking to us, Kevin. Really appreciate it.