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Spencer club says it will feature drag and cabaret performers, not strippers

SPENCER — A private club that plans to open soon in Spencer has clarified statements on its website promising to feature bands, entertainers and occasional male and female strippers.

The club, Koyote Ugly, will not feature strippers alongside its lineup of live bands, comedians and more. Rather, said owner Ann Huffman on Thursday, musical performances and comedy shows will be interspersed with drag shows and cabaret-style dance performances.

“Cabaret is not stripping,” Huffman said. “Cabaret is literally telling a story with your dance. It’s not getting on stripper poles or doing any of that.”

Interim Planning Director Joe Morris said Huffman originally applied for two conditional-use permits for the business: one for a private club and the second for adult entertainment.

“The petitioner … had originally applied for a separate conditional-use permit for adult entertainment but withdrew the application in late June,” said Morris.

Morris said the withdrawal followed his personal visit to the building, when he discovered that neighboring properties included residences. The town code requires a minimum of 1,500 feet between adult businesses and residences, he said.

Morris said Huffman withdrew the adult entertainment application without hesitation.

“Really, I was misinformed on the permits that I would need,” Huffman explained. “My original planning was cabaret, like the cabaret from the ’20s.”

With that secondary permit withdrawn, the Spencer Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved a permit for a private club that allows the sale of alcoholic beverages, arcade-type games such as pool tables, and television monitors, said Morris.

Huffman said her hope for the club is to bring back the family fun atmosphere that existed at the business in the 1980s. The club was then known as The Blue Goose, she said.

“Me and a friend of mine went that first time and probably looked like scared chickens,” she said, adding that within minutes the pair had been welcomed “like we had been there forever.”

“When you get feelings like that, you want to bring that back and let it be experienced by other people,” she said. “I still get chills thinking about it. I get goosebumps.”

Huffman said that feeling is what her continued emphasis on family for Koyote Ugly is all about. Not everyone who goes out for a drink does so to get drunk, she said.

“Some just do it for the companionship or the friendship of others,” said Huffman. “When you go to a place long enough, you become family.”

She said she intends to use that sense of community to impact the lives of Spencer residents. She plans to start a “Koyote Kids” program that will offer a Christmas-shopping experience for 13- to 15-year-olds in need.

That is one of many goals for the new venture, she said.

Huffman will next pursue the ABC permits required to sell alcohol.

Plans for a July 18 “soft opening” are underway. That date is significant for her because it’s the birthday of her brother, who passed away because of lung disease.

“It might not be a big show,” she said. “We’re looking to have our grand opening shows coming around the first weekend in August, unless we get a free date between now and then. But we’re looking to get our feet wet soon, for sure.”

 

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