After the massive March 17 fire that destroyed a warehouse at 11th and Zane streets, there was widespread speculation that a small private club adjacent to the warehouse was an adult swingers club. Turns out that’s exactly what it is — or was — according to two sources who spoke to LEO on the condition of anonymity.
The Louisville Metro Department of Inspections, Permits & Licenses, which inspects city property for safety violations, had already deemed the entire property structurally unsound before the blaze, said Rebecca Fleischaker Couch, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Community Development. The owner of the warehouse is listed as Four Zane Management LLC of Oak Park, Calif.
IPL Director Bill Schreck said the site has been fenced off and at least part of it will be demolished soon. Whether the private club will be part of the demolition has not yet been decided.
“We should know by the end of this week,” he said.
Both sources who spoke to LEO said they were active members of the club, known as Bluegrass Secrets, as recently as two years ago, having joined in the early 2000s with their now-former spouses.
One of the former members, a male in his early 40s, said he was curious about the swinger lifestyle and did an Internet search. He found the club’s Web site at www.bluegrasssecrets.net, and he says he experienced a mostly non-threatening atmosphere.
“If you can imagine 30- and 40-year-old people going on spring break, that’s basically the idea,” he said. “In general it was, ‘Here’s what you missed when you were 19,’ or ‘Here’s what you want to get back.’”
Another former member who agreed to talk with LEO, a female in her mid-30s, said, “There were a lot of middle-aged, blue collar people; there were some professional people there, too. It was a very clique-y club also. People tended to keep in their little cliques.”
Both said the club’s membership was relatively strict, involving a series of interviews, a tour and a $50 annual membership fee; members also had to sign contracts. The club’s Web site supports that assertion; its home page directs interested couples to call a specific number and leave a message or fill out an online application and await word from a representative.
One of the conditions of membership is a strict prohibition against speaking to media, the male who spoke with LEO said.
In general, though, he said the club was a mostly positive experience. “This place was much more comfortable , a you’re-welcome-here kind of place. I attributed that to a … shared group kind of thing. There was a large representation of subgenres and a whole wide range of social exploration that was represented there.”
The source said the club did not sell alcohol, but members were welcome to bring their own.
The female former member reported gradually becoming more comfortable in her visits with her then-husband. “It took months for him to convince me to set foot inside the door. It was a bit freaky that first night. … But there was an air of acceptance; it was very accommodating.”
She said she never engaged in intercourse with other members, but both sources said spouse-swapping, stage shows and other outlandish behavior were a large part of the goings-on. There were private bedrooms as well as community rooms were group sex would sometimes take place. In general, any sexual conduct had to be agreed upon by all parties, and “lurking” or uninvited watching or participation was frowned upon.
Both of the former club members who spoke to LEO acknowledged that their experiences at the club contributed to their marriages breaking up.
“It’s a crucible — it puts a lot of things to the test,” the male ex-club member said. “For most people, and even people that have been there the longest amount of time, they will go through peaks and valleys. It tends to spark conflict if nothing else.”
A message left on the Bluegrass Secrets answering machine requesting comment was not returned before press time.
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