Industry Insiders: Ryan Heil, Ski Scenester

As he prepares to open the first celebrity-owned saloon in Park City (Downstairs, with Danny Masterson) in time for Sundance, Ryan Heil is more than just another name on Bob Yari’s speed dial.

Favorite Hangs: The No Name Saloon in Park City is my favorite bar in the world — a traditional bar that’s been around since the 1900s … it represents friends, drinks, good atmosphere. But in New York, I like the lower East Side, and I’m friends with the owners of most of the clubs. GoldBar and Pink Elephant are my favorites. I like to go where I’m comfortable and among friends. I don’t go to nightclubs, unless it’s more for business than for pleasure. My business is tied to my social life, and my life is my work. There’s always the opportunity, and sometimes I’m in a nightclub before I’m in the office! But the chairlift is my favorite office.

Point of Origin: I was born and raised in the mid-Atlantic — Annapolis, Maryland — and moved to New York after graduating from college in 1995.

Occupations: Actually, in college I was the social chair of my fraternity (St. Anthony Hall) at University of Pennsylvania and hosted several big events on campus — my introduction to the “event” world. I started on Wall Street as a software engineer, then began investing in clubs and bars with my brother — like WAX, which was my introduction to the entertainment and nightclub business. I opened an outpost of WAX in Miami which led to producing events for the Winter Music Conference and the dance world with a wide variety of DJs, as well as spring break. That’s how LIVEstyle was born — I founded Riot House Entertainment, which I started in Miami to produce big events for everybody from Tommy Hilfiger to Svedka vodka, and LIVEstyle kind of emerged from that to become the producer of even more branded entertainment, plus events in music, film, fashion, and the art world.

Any non-industry projects in the works? I do love to ski. I got in 67 days in last year and made Park City my second home. I’m opening Downstairs, my new nightclub and bar in Park City with Danny Masterson now, and Concert for a Cause is being launched as a music event platform for big bands in small, non traditional environments, the profits of which will to go to the charity of the artist’s choice. We’re bringing charitable elements to the Sundance Film Festival along the lines of the AMfar event in Cannes. We give the artists a platform to plug and play to raise funds for their causes, bridging crossovers into film industry and fashion events.

Industry Icons: Well, I certainly learned a lot from Ryan Schinman, who taught me a lot about the branding business and celebrity value to the marketing business. I’ve admired what Mark Cuban has done in building the Internet businesses, new media, and new ways to entertain people. I’m developing a broadcast medium for broadcasting entertainment; LIVEstyle Media will be launched as a portal for broadcasting the 200 events we do a year. Live video, red carpets being streamed live, galleries of celebrities and performances, a runway show for fashion audiences. During Fashion Week, we’ll broadcast our client’s runway shows. The media outlet is really for our clients, like a young, up-and-coming fashion designer or the producer of a new film, to brand and market the project directly to consumers. We’re really priming the market for producers. At film festivals, we appeal to a global film audience; at Fashion Week, we produce for designers.

Projections: I wasn’t planning to go back into the bar business, although this opportunity came along and made great sense for the work we do at Sundance. But in the coming year, we’re going to a slate of film festivals (including Cannes for the first time), and we’re involved in projects with Kosovo and Abu Dhabi, so we’re looking to expand our international base.

Who are some people you’re likely to be seen with? I’m very publicity-shy — I am definitely not the type to have my photograph taken — so I’m not one who wants to rub elbows with the celebrities whose events I produce. I’m more than likely to be seen with the producers and directors.

What are you doing tonight? We’re celebrating the birthday of Matt Sorum at Downstairs; he was the drummer for Velvet Revolver and Guns ‘n Roses, but his girlfriend is with the Darling Stilettos, so they’re performing as well. And tomorrow, we’re heading for Snowbird for skiing. It’s a legendary mountain — after a hard night of working and playing we’re celebrating on the slopes!

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