by Sean Taylor
I’m asking you, what is left of danger in this town?
As every shady alley in North Beach becomes over run with corporate ads and selfie sticks, where can we turn for a little mystery, a little thrill? Yes, we all crave safety, but when was the last time you shared a tale of ambitious discovery with a, perhaps slightly exaggerated, precarious narrative?
Chinatown has low-lit alleys, basement bars, and the Grand Star Theater. And the Grand Star Theater has “Misfit Cabaret,” and “Misfit Cabaret” has Kat Robichaud. In July, in Chinatown, from the 14th to the 16th, one can stumble upon all of the above, and you won’t leave with just one story, you’ll leave with more than a few.
Out of the starting gate we are assaulted with a medley of sea-inspired snippet covers hammering home the theme for the night astutely titled “WhimSea.” Kat is center stage, backed by her sidekick Brendon, and a band of Darling Misfits. Soon after we are moved into what feels like an anti-talent show talent show. There is no doubt the burlesque dancer, drag queen, and two song writers are exceptionally talented, but their’s is one of the late night back alley stories, not a story of high school auditoriums and PTA bake sales. Carnie Asada’s performance of Ariel’s Part of Your World minced with bits of Tourette’s syndrome was just blunt hilarity.
I found a first half highlight in a sea shanty performed by the Shadow Circus Creature Theater, in which a trio of monstrous puppets perpetrate wayward acts of mutiny, starvation, and eventually crowd pleasing cannibalism.
After the intermission a one act rock opera titled “The Last Waltz of the Wrights” spins the enveloped crowd’s rapt attention only to leave us heart broken by a wholehearted ode to David Bowie. “I’ll see you again, when I look up to the stars… I’ll leave the light on.” Kat pleads with a forthright love to our fallen hero of eccentricity. It is one of the highest points in the night, a serenade and a eulogy, from one admiring artist to another.
It was nonstop variety, a mix tape of a Thursday and a reminder of what is possible down seedy alleys, off unbeaten paths, in beautiful old theaters. To Kat I say this, don’t stop, you are seeding the late night live stories we, as San Franciscans, love to embellish, and love to discover.
Kat Robichard’s Misfit Cabaret Presents ‘WhimSea’ for one more performance on July 16, 2016, at the Grand Star Theater. For further information, click here.
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