Kat Robichaud’s Misfit Cabaret Helps Keep SF Weird
Since 2015, Kat Robichaud and her band of talented weirdos have performed Misfit Cabarets in three different venues in San Francisco. Originally a frontwoman for a rock band, Robichaud went on to become a top 10 finalist on The Voice before moving to SF to put together a new band. Quickly faced with the financial unreality of maintaining an entire band, she scaled back to singing with just a keyboardist in cabaret shows. Four years later, with the help of partner Jordan Nathan, the Misfit Cabaret is about to start a year long residency at the The Alcazar on Geary Street, as well as continually expanding to LA and Seattle.
Robichaud’s story is both unique and relatable, something that is reflected in the wide variety of acts you will witness if you attend the Misfit Cabaret. “I’ve been told that our show reminds people of what SF used to be like,” she says. You might see an eight foot tall drag queen wearing giant horns, you might see a girl suspended by hooks in her back, you might see a recreation of the shower scene from Psycho on a rotating set piece. But everything is designed to be “escapism at its finest,” a strange and exciting but stress-free journey for the audience. Liberally peppered with Robichaud’s many years of musical experience, she describes the show as “a variety show situated inside a musical with a loose plot.” The audience consists of all types, young and old, dressed down and dressed up in wild costumes alike. “We don’t discriminate. Come as you are, because who you are is enough and lovely.”Photo by Mark Semegen
But putting on high quality shows at this level isn’t easy. Robichaud has experienced her share of adversity in different forms, including sexism and harassment in her early music career: “Men grabbing me when I would go into the audience. Men asking me which one of the band members I was dating. Men not believing me when I told them I was married… It doesn’t seem to be a problem with the cabaret.” Now a leader in the more progressive and female/non-binary dominated space of the cabaret world, the greatest challenge becomes financially maintaining a live show in the country’s most expensive city while paying performers fairly. It’s important to remember that if we do not support live performance in San Francisco, it will go away. “I want to contribute to keeping art in the Bay Area,” she says. “I think new technologies and things like Netflix are making it easier for people to decide to stay home on a Friday night, but there’s nothing like having the experience of seeing something live and feeling the energy from the stage and the audience. Watching a show on Netflix is not an experience. It’s not something you’ll look back on and remember when you’re 70. I want people to look back on their lives in 50 years and remember Misfit Cabaret as something weird and wonderful they got to see with their own eyes.”
So where and when can you experience this weird and wonderful cabaret? They’re kicking off the season with a brand new Halloween show in October called “Night Terrors,” paying homage to 80s classics with a slumber party/slasher theme while incorporating new concepts of horror as well. Expect to see drag, burlesque, contortion, puppets, and of course some killer live music. Don’t stay home and watch Netflix, get your tickets here and support local live performers!Photo by Mike Lloyd