In Lux, Kansas City Gets a Shiny New Dance Club
Amid the familiar excitement and hype of Gay Pride weekend in early June was another noteworthy event for Kansas City’s LGBT community—the opening of the gleaming newgay nightclub Lux, a midtown dance venue in the former Grand Emporium space on Main near 39th Street.
Run by the partnership of two longtime colleagues—Englishman David Codrington and local bar owner Stuart Salomon—Lux has been designed as an upscale, no-nonsense dance palace that caters to a diverse crowd, Codrington told Camp in a recent interview.
“It was sort of my dream,” Codrington says, “to have a big-city club in Kansas City. I mean, Kansas City is a big city, and people kept on telling me, you know, ‘This is cowtown, you can’t do this in cowtown.’ And that got me very frustrated, because, you know, I think a lot of people in Kansas City sell themselves short sometimes.”
So, with a splashy new interior by well-known Los Angeles designer Amy Treff; the sounds of, among others, DJs Jerry Griffith and Chad Slater; and Sunday night shows by drag performer Daisy Buckët and her team of entertainment pros, Lux aims to make itself a standard stop on the LGBT community’s nightlife crawl.
“I’m enjoying our new nights here,” said Buckët during a quick pre-show interview. “You know, this is something that doesn’t usually occur on a Sunday night—it usually doesn’t occur any night at any of the gay nightclubs in Kansas City.”
Buckët was referring to the structure of her shows: The first show, which starts at 8 p.m., is a 90-minute variety cabaret, emceed by Buckët and starring a variety of singers and burlesque performers. “Then, at 11,” she said, “we start our circuit party, and we go out there, we do a big production number, people are dancing .…Like, five, 10 minutes later, a drag queen comes out, does a big dance spectacle while people are dancing, [and then> it’s a dance party for the rest of the night.”
For Codrington, who manages the club on a nightly basis, all of this may sound a bit unlikely: The man actually has three master’s degrees, in geostatistics, adult education and educational computing. But after getting the degree in geostatistics, he says, “I couldn’t find work over in the U.K., so I came over here and went to K[ansas"> State and did a degree in adult education. …I was a student for over 10 years, so I was always working in bars. …I’ve been doing that since 1990.”
Later, after moving to Kansas City, Codrington worked for Salomon at the former Grand Emporium, first as head doorman and then manager. “Stuart has put a lot of…financial commitment into this,” Codrington says. “It’s quite a heavy load…in the remodel and stuff, to make it the way it is.”
During a recent Saturday night visit, an animated, high-energy crowd populated the dance floor and surrounding lounge areas, even spilling into the back bar area. That space, as well as the two go-go platforms perched aside the dance floor, are cloaked in sheer, steel-bead curtains. The sleek effect is furthered by chandeliers of glowing light rods and discreet mood lighting playing over faux brick walls.
“It feels like a little upscale nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen in New York,” said Buckë