On June 25th, Wild Cherry, the Firecracker of Bourbon Street passed away at the age of 79. Wild Cherry was a legend of New Orleans Burlesque. She began dancing on Bourbon in 1958 and although she retired in the 70s, she was called out of retirement in by the revival of burlesque in the 90s. Thanks to those who convinced her to come out of retirement, I got to have the privilege of meeting and working with her two times.
The first time I worked with her was at the New Orleans Burlesque festival in 2012. I watched her tech rehearsal where she did a basic run through of her performance in her street clothes. Even without her costume, she had incredible stage presence and confidence. She was sultry and tough. She had an attitude that I have seen many try to emulate, but when I saw her that night, I knew why she was somene that so many looked up to. I didn't get to talk to her that night. She was in a different dressing room than I was, not to mention it was so tight and cramped backstage that I spent as little time back there as possible.
The next time I met her, she was performing a comedy routine at Bourbon and Burlesque called "How a French Girl Drives a Car". Not only was she a delight on stage that night, but she was so fun backstage, laughing and teasing like she knew everyone so well, even those like me who she had just met.
Although, I didn't know this woman personally, the few times I met her had an impact on me. She was talented, sharp and interesting. She truly deserved to be called a legend. I'm very sad to see her go. She will be missed.
The passing of Wild Cherry helped to remind me that the burlesque scene grows and changes. Some leave us behind, some we are meeting for the first time. No matter what changes one thing is for sure, we all look awesome naked and covered in glitter.