GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — When Bux Dhyne takes the stage, they are transformed into Star Buxom.
"Being able to express yourself fully and be fully authentic," said Dhyne, "is one of the most freeing and amazing feelings."
Dhyne is a drag performer and artist in Grand Rapids. They typically entertain at the same few bars and nightclubs. However, they noticed something about the venues that had shows.
"A lot of the spaces we’re kind of pushed into are alcoholic environments," said Dhyne.
So, they decided to open their own dry nightclub right in the middle of Beer City.
"We are a city so focused on and have normalized alcohol so much," said Dhyne. "It just goes hand-and-hand to have a place for people to go and not drink, and have all these awesome places we already have, to drink."
The venue will be called Joule's Molly House. Dhyne is still fundraising and working to secure their lease for the location, though the goal is to be in the Heartside and Arena district. The plan is to open sometime in spring of 2022.
"The point of the bar is to open a place that is party-party, but no alcohol," said Dhyne. "So, it’s really inclusive and a place for everybody."
Dhyne is not actually sober themself. However, they said many people in the LGBTQ+ community struggle with addiction or have other reasons not to drink.
"It's not necessarily bad," said Dhyne of drinking, "but for the people who are trying to be healthier, or are in recovery, being in those environments are triggering."
Not only could Grand Rapids use a space without the pressure of alcohol, Dhyne said they want to create a place inclusive and supportive for the LGBTQ+ community. Their goal is to open in the afternoons, be a place for youth to meet, sober advocates to rent the space and other supportive measures.
"In the 90s, we had like six gay bars, and now we have two," said Dhyne. "So, the community is getting larger and stronger, and the bar scene is getting smaller."
Joule's Molly House will have a "Victorian and retro movie inspired" theme.
"Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory and throw in a disco ball."
Dhyne said in the name, Joule's represents a measure of energy, while a Molly House was a Victorian gay bar.
Dhyne is hosting several fundraisers, and also raising money on Patronicity. They want to help fund the project with the community's support before taking out a loan.
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