by Linda Ray
Founded by Surly Wench owners Kate "Inga Kaboom" and Stephanie "Stephka von Snatch" Johnston, Black Cherry Burlesque has long been the best, if not the best kept, secret on Fourth Avenue. The troupe performs at 8 and 10 p.m., the first Friday of every month, and has generated such a following that their two sets at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, March 1, filled the seats and a good portion of the floor in front of the stage.
Up front was the place to be for this company's clever new take on the stripper's art, played for fun, hot and sweet with a sly touch of camp, and the most exciting costumes this side of Las Vegas. Several were designed and sewn by songstress, seamstress and showgirl about town Emilie Marchand, aka "Lola Torch." To kick the energy up a notch the women invited drag-queen Demi Le Ray to add her powerhouse Latina pop style to the show. Emcee Stephka Von Snatch kept the crowd laughing and at ease as a kittenish helper picked up the pieces left on the stage after each performance
In between Black Cherry sets, The Cordials (Laura Kepner-Adney, Courtney Robbins, Christina Williams and Winston Watson) reprised their James Bond set from Tucson Weekly's 2013 Great Cover Up, romping through a set of the spy series' greatest hits, augmented by Dante and Tony Rosano, Jeff Grubic , Jon Villa and Tom Moore, dancers writhed seductively behind stretched scrim flanking the stage.