When events producer Billy Butchkavitz is not creating impressive designs for HBO parties throughout the year, he is searching for new decor themes around the world.
“My favorite thing is to travel and find new sources, i.e. people that can manufacture for me, vendors, ideas. Just walking through villages in India and seeing a temple or seeing people on the banks of a river doing hand block textiles, I find inspiration everywhere,” Butchkavitz enthused.
The veteran organizer/designer is one busy guy: he creates over 36 elaborate parties each year, and ongoingly works for years with gay and lesbian students for Project Ten.
Butchkavitz just wrapped up breaking down the HBO Emmys party—a three day process— at the Pacific Design Center, where the party theme was The Royal Pavilion, in Brighton, England; the custom textiles, furniture, table top decor, large scale decor and carpeting were all influenced by their very bold chinoiserie interiors.
“A 30’ diameter tiered chinoiserie pagoda surrounded by a garden of giant jade trees was one of the focal points of the party and served as the entertainment hub,” he noted. “Also, a series of 12’ high Chinese Guardian Lions stood watch in the main dining pavilion, along with a 20’ long replica of The Royal Pavilion’s magnificent banquet room chandelier.”
This weekend he is setting up at The Beverly Hilton for a 1960’s style Gay and Lesbian Center’s annual gala. Next is a red carpet premiere for HB0’s new documentary on Steven Spielberg and The Golden Globes.
Butchkavitz’s parties take months to plan and bring to fruition.
“Last year, we started working on the Emmys party right after the Golden Globes, because it takes so long to get everything sourced, manufactured and shipped in, since we do custom carpets and textiles,” he explained.
Butchkavitz is not a one man show, he works closely with his brother and sister.
“They are my travelling buddies; we go everywhere together and are really close. We love going places together. My brother and I are gay, so it’s like three sisters,” he quipped.
When they reach a destination they want to explore more, they all shoot off in different directions, so they can all barter and bargain at the markets. “From Egypt, Europe and Indonesia to Malaysia and Laos, we have done it all. It keeps us going.”
Butchkavitz considers himself lucky. “It’s the whole thing of ‘right place, right time.’ I started doing events in Honolulu in 1986. HBO came to a hotel opening I did and asked me to do see stuff for them. Twenty three years later, I am still with them. In addition, I have also done events around the world for others clients too.”
Art is also an immense inspiration for Butchkavitz.
“In every country I go to, I attend museums, galleries and street art fairs. There have been times where I have bought street art in South America, where I have gotten permission to blow up and use at our parties,” he said.
With a smile, Billy beamed “Art is everything to me.”