Spotlight: Steve LeVine

Jason KeilAugust 27, 2020
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Photography by thomas ingersoll
Photography by thomas ingersoll

Pivoting Party Man
Steve LeVine wasn’t going to let the pandemic stop him from throwing his mother a surprise birthday party, so the local event guru taught his family how to use Zoom so it could go on without a hitch. That love of entertaining people is in his blood. LeVine’s father worked in radio during the California native’s formative years, and LeVine began DJing at 13. With the future of live events still uncertain, the CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment and Public Relations (SLE) knows that while Zoom is part of his company’s future, people aren’t going to sit at home watching Netflix until the pandemic is over. His company, which puts on the Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival and Scottsdale Fashion Week, quickly pivoted to socially distanced pop-up movies and viewing parties at WestWorld of Scottsdale, and other virtual offerings. He spoke with us in July about the future of Fashion Week and not letting the coronavirus stop him from finding ways to bring people together while remaining at least 6 feet apart.

How much have your plans for 2020 changed as a company since the pandemic?

We had to seize the moment and give people something worth their time. The pop-up drive-in theater gave us an opportunity. I think the next step is where we can go from there, whether it be an e-sports gaming event or viewing parties. We have people talking about hosting seminars while in their cars. [The pandemic] is causing people to be very creative. I’m excited and a little nervous to keep learning more about this side, but I can’t wait to bring live events back.

With your background in concerts and events, you could pivot to pop-up events rather quickly.

We started going through all the things that we were doing and all the connections that we had. We knew there were vendors out there sitting on their equipment, and we had to create something. The phone is not just going to ring. You have to go and get it. It was just piecing it all together, and we were able to navigate quickly because of
our experience.

Will events like Scottsdale Fashion Week go virtual? What could that look like?

I don’t know. It’s a topic we’re starting to discuss. I think there are ways to engage the attendees. We have to get creative and figure that out. I know there’s a way. There’s a lot of people that are going before us in Paris and New York. I’m curious to see how they’re going to answer those questions, even if they’re pop-up virtual fashion events. And if they don’t happen, are we going to happen?

There are a lot of facets to your company, but has social distancing tightened the company’s focus?

I do think that having all of these things equips us to move forward. That’s why we haven’t stopped. One of our inside jokes is that you can’t spell resilient without SLE, and it’s the truth. We’re discussing how to spring forward and how we can work together. I don’t quit. I don’t stop, and I think that’s contagious in our office. Every one of us has that same mentality. I do know that we’re focused. We got to keep our clients happy. I don’t want to be cliché, but I have to: We’re all in this together.