September 26, 2021

Headroom LGBTQ+ Lounge in Jersey City NJ abruptly closes

Headroom LGBTQ+ Lounge, a popular bar that regularly featured drag performances and was known as a safe and welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community, abruptly closed on May 26.

Just before Memorial Day Weekend, the lounge’s doors were locked and brown paper covered the windows. Anida Tension, a drag performer and the entertainment coordinator at Headroom, said people called her, wondering why construction work could be heard from inside the bar.

The closure was supposedly caused by a disagreement between owners Joseph Cameron and Howard Brunner.

According to Tension, who booked talent, hosted drag nights and performed for Headroom, an entertainment fund had been set up to pay performers. 

All of the money in the fund went to pay performers, pay Tension for her role as coordinator, and cover promotional and equipment costs, said Tension. Both Cameron and Tension said Brunner wanted to dip into that money for personal gain.

Brunner, however, put out a statement saying, “irreconcilable differences as to how to grow the business post-COVID made it impossible to continue our business relationship. We made this decision after much deliberation. Contrary to Mr. Cameron’s depiction, it had nothing to do with the performers’ rightful income.”

Headroom attracted plenty of high-profile drag performers, but there was always room for new performers, hoping to grow and gain experience.

Brunner is a managing member of the hardware support company Ardent Supporter, LLC.

According to Cameron, Brunner contractually had the ability to pull the plug on the club at any time. But, he needed to give Cameron 21 days notice, which Cameron said Brunner did not do.

Headroom opened in November 2020. In the few months it was open, it became a well-loved space, especially by the LGBTQ+ community. It was one of the only places in North Jersey to see a drag or burlesque show.