Connection Complex owners: Lady Gaga ‘put Louisville on the map with her 30 million fans’
Suddenly, Louisville is the town where Lady Gaga goes clubbing, and the Connection Complex is the club.
“(The media) are saying, ‘Finally, she shared the stage with (a female) impersonator!’ ” Connection co-owner George Stinson said of his club, where the drag shows are nationally known.
The glow around Lady Gaga’s post-concert clubbing at the Connection continues into the first part of the week. On Monday morning, every Web site from TMZ (“Lady Gaga Shows Gaga Impersonator How It’s Done”) to Kentucky.com in Lexington, Ky. is reporting the story.
Stinson and partner Ed Lewis gave Insider Louisville an insider’s view of what it’s like to host the biggest star on the planet including how Lady Gaga ended up performing on stage at the giant gay night club complex at Market and Floyd streets, just east of downtown.
Lewis said several dancers with Lady Gaga show came to the Connection Friday night before Lady Gaga’s Saturday concert at KFC Yum Arena. Also, a costumer in her crew who’s originally from Cincinnati knows the bar, “and of course he knows (Connection star drag queen) Hurricane (Summers),” Lewis said.
Lewis and Stinson say they think someone in the performer’s crew suggested that she drop in for an after-party.
“I knew for a long time that she was coming,” Lewis said. “But I didn’t say anything. I thought, ‘If she wants to come, just let her come and relax.’ ”
Of course, there was the little matter of security.
About midnight Saturday night, “here come all these black SUVs,” Stinson said, “checking the best route to bring her in.” Her security team decided to come down the alley that runs off Market Street to the entrance to the complex stockroom, Stinson said. “Then they brought her up the back stairway into the dressing rooms and that’s where she stayed. Sitting in the dressing room with the drag queens! And Eddie entertained her.”
“What surprised me was, there were no paparazzi!” Lewis said, alluding to Lady Gaga’s breakout hit about the perils of being famous.
Lewis and Stinson said they thought Lady Gaga would just want spend some time on the dance floor. Instead, she wanted to go on stage with the men who portray her in the drag shows, Stinson said. “Of course, we were having a Lady Gaga contest that night, and we announced we had nine contestants. But then No. 10 came out, and it was her!
“When she walked out, people went crazy!”
Lady Gaga joined Connection performer Vanessa Demornay in “Born this Way,” the gay anthem, captured in cellphone videos that now have gone viral.
Stinson and Lewis have some helpful advice if the biggest music star on the planet is dropping in. Have some chilled Chardonnay. “That’s all she asked for,” Stinson said. “We’re so used to dealing with stars and all these (contract) riders. And the biggest star on the planet asks for a glass of Chardonnay. ‘If it’s not too much trouble.’ ”
Lewis declined to talk in detail about the couple of hours he spent with Lady Gaga. “I don’t have loose lips! But I can say that she’s just so nice. She’s just incredible. Totally down to earth.
“I can see why so many people are incredibly awed by her.”
Lady Gaga’s choosing the Connection wasn’t just a coup for him and Lewis and for Louisville’s gay community, Stinson said. “We heard this was the first time she’s done this. It wasn’t just a (big deal) for us. She put Louisville on the map with her 30 million followers!”
Lewis said the lucky few hundred people who were there will never forget the night: “A person posted on our Facebook page, ‘I didn’t have the money for a ticket to go to the (Lady Gaga Concert at) Yum Center. So, I paid $10 at the Connection, and I was three rows back!’ “