CHICAGO -- The Baton Show Lounge is a fabulous place to see female impersonators and celebrate Pride month!
Incredible. Fun. Unique. These are just some of the words used to describe The Baton Show Lounge located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.
Founder and co-owner Jim Flint created The Baton Show Lounge in 1969.
"I was a drum major in the Navy and that's how The Baton got started," Flint said. "And so I used to twirl back and forth across the street and roller skate and stand out there and twirl my baton, and have the traffic backed up and that's how we finally got the crowds to come."
"It is a platform for many trans or non-binary artists to come and express themselves on stage. It's just everybody's dream that is of the LGBTQ community to once in a lifetime to perform on The Baton Show Lounge stage," said the show's host, Toni Valentino.
The nightclub has seen many famous faces over the years including Janet Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Joan Crawford, Alexandra Billings and Candis Cayne.
"And then of course Chris Farley came in before he died and he said, 'Well come on, you can dance and tell everybody you danced with Chris Farley,'" Flint said. "I said, 'No, you could tell them you danced with Jim Flint.' Those were some of the highlights."
Co-owner Christoph Chiavazza shares how the entertainers make the drag show so special.
"What makes our show so good is that they're all so talented, but they're all so different," he said. "When you put all of that together on stage, it makes a fabulous show. There is no star here. The show is the star."
The performers entertain crowds several nights a week and also shared their thoughts on the famous club.
"Any night you want to come, you're always going to find something different. It's never the same show," said Jacky Couture.
"It's an exchange of energy. We're on stage, we give energy to the people, and we get back energy," said Joan Jullian.
"The Baton created a platform of work for us. Years ago, the girls could not even walk out on the streets dressed up," Angel said. "We carry a legacy; we carry a history with us. It's not just to be on stage, it's what The Baton did for us."
Jim Flint is proud to have several generations of families that keep coming back to see the show year after year.
"I think we got it all and I don't like to be pretentious, but we do have the best show that you will find in the state, and maybe even farther than that. In the country and father than that," Chiavazza said.
"It's an experience that you don't want to miss. Trust me. You don't want to miss it," Valentino added.
4713 N. Broadway
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