Tucked away on one of Boston’s quaintest, most colonial-looking streets stands the outwardly unassuming Jacques Cabaret. Inside, I experienced a night filled with drag queens and debauchery.
A few friends and I arrived at around 9:45 p.m. for the weekend feature, “Miss-Leading Ladies,” which began promptly at 10:15 p.m. After paying the $10 cover, we put our names down at the bar. Getting a reservation necessitates calling weeks in advance, but if there are any no-shows at 10 p.m., they’ll give away tables.
Arriving on the early side allowed us to experience the bar itself before the showcase began. It was very dive-y, with pleather stools and Christmas lights lining a well-stocked bar. I picked up my usual screwdriver for $5 while my comrades bought $3.50 Bud Lights and two mysterious fruity drinks for $5 each. The mixed drinks arrived in 9 oz. plastic Dixie cups, so I immediately wrote them off as weak. Wrong. Let’s just say that the bartenders at Jacques really want you to have a good time. Really.
We were lucky enough to get a table in a sea of brides-to-be, birthday girls, and uncomfortable-looking dudes. Stage lights lined the room, and a starburst of multicolored lightbulbs adorned the ceiling. The runway, jutting out of the barely-elevated stage, was tucked in between the many tables and chairs, giving the audience an up-close-and-personal view. My girls and I were overflowing with anticipation (and two more rounds of drinks) as the spotlights began to pan across the silver curtain and the opening overture blasted on the speakers.
But let’s get to the main attraction: the Miss-Leading Ladies. Out strutted our host, Kris Knievel, and the show began. After calling up the birthday and bachelorette guests of honor in her metallic blue corseted dress and flowing platinum blonde wig, Kris cleared the stage and began a hypnotic lip-synched rendition of X-tina’s “Burlesque,” featuring all of the Miss-Leading Ladies: Destiny, Mizery, Lakia Mondale, and Fena Barbitall. For the duration of the show, the ladies took turns lip-synching both Top 40 dance tunes and lesser-known gems, including “You Can Fuck Me” and “I Wanna See Your Pussy.” Each number showcased the ladies’ sassy moves, but most of the show was devoted to enforced audience participation: faces in boobs, heads up skirts, legs spread and feet used as microphones, and $1 bills wherever we could fit them.
Even if you weren’t the object of these affections, you couldn’t help but dance.
Jacques Cabaret is located at 79 Broadway, Boston.