Hearne: Former Club Concert Kingpin Looks at Life From an 8 by 8 Room

Hank Williams III, Jane’s Addiction, Big & Rich, B.B. King…

Former Beaumont Club main man Jon Lunkwicz has partied with the best. For year’s he was the force behind hundreds of Kansas City’s top club level shows in the popular Westport live music emporium.

No mas.

Three short years ago the 60 year-old Lunkwicz awakened to find himself paralyzed. He’s since retired and now lives in a long term care facility just outside Kansas City.

"My world’s very uncomplicated," Lunkwicz muses. "It’s about an eight by eight space and I suspect the food’s about as good as prison food. And I get to shower about twice a week, that’s pretty exciting."

There’s more.

"Most of the people here are in their 70s and 80s," Lunkwicz says. "One floor’s all Alzheimer’s patients – that’s a treat. The best thing about them is you can run over their toes with a wheelchair and they can’t say anything."

It was on January 26, 2009 that Lunkwicz predicament unfolded.

"I woke up that morning and was paralyzed from the waist down," he says. "I’ve been thinking about writing a book. I was going to write a book about the Beaumont Club that was subtitled, ‘They took the hotdogs but not the buns.’ "

Meaning?

"Somebody broke into my apartment about two months before I became paralyzed," Lunkwicz says. "They took everything. They took my guitar that was autographed by B.B. King. And I went to my refrigerator and they had taken my hotdogs but not the buns."

All things considered, Lunkwicz has retained an upbeat attitude.

"It didn’t kill me but…" he pauses. "I just don’t get mad about stuff, it’s just not worth it. There’s too many moments you can look back on in life that were just so wonderful."

Lunkwicz take on the state of live music in Kansas City today?

"I think it’s wonderful but there’s almost too many venues," he says. "There’s got to be a weeding out."

Lunkwicz was disappointed, but not surprised, at how KanRocksas turned out, for example.

"They couldn’t get some of the smaller acts that would have drawn 2,000 or 3,000 people that would have made it a bigger event," Lunkwicz says. "And I’m sorry – the name KanRocksas – it made me think of somebody kicking Kansas in the ass."

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14 Responses to Hearne: Former Club Concert Kingpin Looks at Life From an 8 by 8 Room

  1. chuck says:

    Havn’t seen Jon in years.
    He was/is a very upbeat guy with a great sense of humor.

    I used to do some business with him when he had Pioneer for sale from, I think Rent-A-Center. Funny guy, and I wish him the best.

    Hey Jon, Rudy says hi!!

  2. chuck says:

    BTW Jon, we have the same haircut now. 🙂
    Hearne, nice article about a good guy.

    Ya oughtta do more of these.

    JMO.

  3. Craig Glazer says:

    All The Best Jon
    Jon was Always so nice to me when we were in Westport. He was the man behind the early success of the Beaumont Club. I know Bill Nigro and many other leaders in Westport miss Jon. Bill and I talk about him all the time. I wish him all the best and to get well. Did so much for so many. Miss you Jon.

  4. mark smith says:

    just wondering
    what causes someone to wake up paralyzed? Admirable that he is able to keep an upbeat attitude. But what caused it?

  5. Merle Tagladucci says:

    I’ve seen some great shows and had some fine times in the Beaumont over the years. I’m sure Jon is responsible for most, if not all of those bands getting booked, so thank you Jon for making it all happen.

  6. Jack Hanrahan says:

    Keep the Faith Best You Can..
    Jon, you are very missed in Westport . All of us hope you have a chance for a full recovery. We are so sorry to hear abut your illness. You know more about the music business than anyone I know in the city….. we need you back and promoting good acts to visit our city. Take care…. let us know how we can help. Sincerely, Jack

  7. TigerVIP says:

    Nice Article but…
    Not one mention as to what caused his paralyzation. How do you just wake up paralyzed with no modern medicine explanation? Was kind of an important part to the story, Hearne. Most of us readers have no idea who this guy is, but the story was intriguing. You just happened to leave out the most important part.

  8. Super Dave says:

    A Man Missed By Many
    Jon was a great person to be around and his ability to book shows and run the place for them to be at speaks volumes for who he was.

    His upbeat attitude as well today speaks tenfold of his character as a person.

    The rest of us should be thankful for what we have and can still do in our lives when seeing here just how quick and easy it can be taken from us. We must remember as well Jon

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    THE most important?

  10. PB says:

    Maybe It’s Just Because
    I don’t know the man, but that piece actually had the opposite affect on me…depressing as hell. I do admire Mr.Lunkwicz upbeat attitude so I guess there’s that, but what was the purpose of focusing on the all the shitty details of this gentleman’s recent years without any real counterpoint? I’m sure that those who know him probably appreciate the update, but it all sort of smacks of a bit of exploitation to this casual observer.

  11. Jon Lunkwicz says:

    What causd the paralysis
    for the curious it was a staff infection that caused the paralysis by affecting the nerves, the bones, and creating two large tumourous growths between discs. between operations and months of iv’s the infection went away. the nerves are slowly growing back but the bones don’t. there was no pain building up to the morning i woke up paralyzed other than the occasional twinge we all tend to get nearing sixty. my doctors told me i could have gotten the infection from a papercut or a cut on my foot and then walking barefoot in the wrong place but i would never know for sure. probably had it for six months of more. To PB: without knowing whats going on in your life tere’s no way to know who has a shiity life but i don’t feel like i do or did. There are so many people who have had worse lives than you or me that i dont get discouraged. I once knew a beautiful person who as part of her growing up discovered a puppies head underneath the christmas tree on christmas morning. and that was not a particularly bad day in the first 16 years of her life. so maybe you should learn to appreciate the sunny days and the grey days equally.

  12. Jon Lunkwicz says:

    One item Hearne left out
    The photo hearne used shows myself with Michael Wiggins, a systems analyst in Atlanta, who I mentored through his time at Wichita State and I am proud to have him call me Pops and I call him son. Then there was Paul Wight who is called The Big Show in WWE. And of course Lawrence ‘Larry’ Callis who is finishing up his doctorate and has been a professor at Emporia State and Wichita State , my son. They are part of the hundred plus people i have mentored through my life and been as proud as any parent to watch them mature and move foreward in life and have families that they can be proud of. Beautician, surgeon, teachers, carpenters, mothers, fathers what they do does not matter as much as what they are inside. There is no way I could not feel good with a family like that.

  13. PB says:

    Thanks
    For the response, Jon. I tend to be a pretty positive person myself and didn’t mean to direct any negative thoughts towards you personally, just thought Mr.Christopher dwelled only on those aspects in his original post. Thanks for fleshing out your story a bit more and it’s clear to me that you are dealing with your situation better than most probably would. Good luck to you, sir.

  14. Chris Lyon says:

    Pretty Cool Boss and overall nice guy.
    I worked for Jon many years ago at The Beaumont Club. He is a great guy!

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