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Chez Michou: Iconic French drag cabaret closes



Chez Michou: Iconic French drag cabaret closes

A celebrated French drag cabaret has given its final performance, bringing an end to the Parisian fixture that inspired a Hollywood film.

Chez Michou said on social media that Sunday’s performance would be its last due to financial reasons.

The trailblazing cabaret in the capital’s Montmartre district brought drag entertainment to France in the mid-1950s.

The venue’s managers said that a liquidator would be appointed later this month, with hopes that a buyer can be found for the club.

Despite being in a tiny venue, Chez Michou decorated with gilt framed mirrors attracted visitors from across France and around the world.

In its heyday, they included French President Jacques Chirac and Hollywood star Liza Minnelli.

The servers who kept the champagne flowing were called Michettes, and doubled as performers in the lively club.

Chez Michou was founded by flamboyant cabaret artist Michel Catty – known simply as Michou.

The larger-than-life character was known for his all-blue outfits – including chunky blue glasses.

He is credited with inspiring the 1983 Oscar-nominated French film La Cage aux Folles – a comedy about a gay couple operating a drag nightclub in a French resort town.

An American version was made in 1996 – The Birdcage – starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.

Michou ran the club right up until his death in 2020, at the age of 88.

There was an outpouring of grief, with the Élysée Palace issuing a statement saying: “The sky above Montmartre will be a little less blue from now on.”

His niece, Catherine Catty-Jacquart, took over running the club, and told AFP news agency that it had seen a lack of bookings despite the Olympics, and blamed its financial woes on protests, strikes, parking and the impact of Covid.

“We’re living from day to day,” she said on Saturday, before it was announced that the club had closed its doors – at least for now.

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