Cherie Blondell has entertainment in her blood. When she was only three years old, she was part of her father’s professional magic act — he made her appear in a toy box. Her dad gave her Mike & Ikes to keep her quiet while hiding.
In 2008, Blondell took up burlesque when she joined the Ooh-La-Las troupe, but she’s always been fascinated by pinup and rockabilly. Her dedication to burlesque is unmatched. Blondell knows the entire history of burlesque in and out — it was originally a comedy show that she compares to “Saturday Night Live” and the girls were a side act — and even makes many of her own costumes. (“Hot glue is my best friend,” she said.)
Blondell has her own burlesque production company, Mon Cherie Entertainment, is teaching burlesque and is bringing sexy back to nerds this weekend with “Nerdlesque.”
I produce a lot of Ooh-La-Las shows and other things like Nerdlesque. Another show is “The Rock ’n’ Roll Burlesque Show” on Sept. 27 at the Garage Bar. It’s a Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue show. My baby is “Stars and Strips!,” a benefit for the military held annually in July. It’s very important to me because it gives me a way of honoring our military in the most traditional way I can — with a girlie show!
The Ooh-La-Las have a bimonthly show at the Shrunken Head called the “BURazzle-dazzLESQUE.” The next one is our special edition Halloween show. I do lots of burlesque — everywhere for everyone.
Nerdlesque was actually my co-producer’s idea. Her name is Jean Willickers and she’s a performer I’ve been working with for over a year. She’s really nerdy and wanted to do a show that’s everything nerdy with burlesque. I thought it was the most awesome idea ever.
It’s a whole night of nothing but nerd-ass stuff. Our headliner for this event is Katie Angel from Indianapolis. I met her at the Windy City Burlesque Festival last July where she did a Klingon act. I was in hysterics. She’s also doing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles act. Another performer is doing a Doctor Who act. I may be doing a skit previously done by Napoleon Dynamite. It’s one of the surprises that’ll be in store. We have an award-winning magician from Los Angeles who’s a self-professed geek. The sketch comedy troupe The Skitzo Show is hashing out all the things they want to do with “Weird Science” and “Revenge of the Nerds.”
I’m mildly nerdy. I really like “Star Wars,” but I’m not one of those people that knows everything about all the movies.
I’m opening my burlesque school at the Harmony Artistic Center Oct. 4. It’s a new venture, but I’ve taught some classes here and there. I taught a seminar at Sexapolooza earlier this year. It’s a course where you go through the basic stuff; nothing is too hard, it’s just a warm-up. Those women who want to continue and learn every aspect, or maybe they want to be performers, they can then go on to the advanced course. They’ll learn chair work, advanced boa, fan dancing and how to twirl tassels.