From 1994 to 2005, only one Atlanta nightclub had a reputation for being the most audacious, notorious and outrageous. If you lived here then, you know which one I’m talking about—The Chamber. Tucked away in a warehouse behind the strip clubs of Cheshire Bridge Road (now The Jungle), you might not see much besides a few lonely Goths swaying tragically to an industrial soundtrack if you arrived early. But around 11 pm to midnight, they began to arrive and soon the place would be packed with the city’s most diverse nightlife—fetish enthusiasts in black leather and latex, dazzling drag queens, big hair, marvelous make-up and, standing out like neon in a church, mundane preppie “tourists” from Buckhead and the ‘burbs.
However, the Chamber wasn’t just about crowd-watching. It featured live entertainment both on a main stage and in a variety of titillating smaller spaces such as The Shower Room, the Peep Show and the Flashlight Room. While not as extreme as the BDSM scene in New York, the fetish shows strived to be provocative but also never forgot a sense of playfulness, and you could even purchase your own fetish-wear and sexy lingerie onsite at a satellite location of the Little 5 Points boutique, Throb. At the end of the wee hours of the morning, like other great local clubs such as 688 and the Metroplex, a night at The Chamber became less about shocking a few yuppies and more about the friends you made. And like every memorable grand salon, behind the curtains was a great hostess, Mon Cherie.
This Saturday April 16, for one night only, Mon Cherie will be resurrecting that scandalous spirit with Mon Cherie’s The Chamber Reunion in Purgatory and Hell at The Masquerade. Among the festivities are live fetish performances, burlesque/Boi-Lesque, aerial feats, go-go dancers, drag skits, body paint, a chocolate bar, a dungeon/play area, vendors, raffle and, as the Facebook event listing coyly promises “more surprises to tickle your fancy.” Ever the ringmistress, over the years since The Chamber closed, Mon Cherie has proven an uncanny ability to assemble the best in local talent to stage a parade of Rockabilly Lounges, burlesque shows and other one-of-a-kind social gatherings. So it’s no surprise that this event’s performers include many stars of the local fetish and burlesque scenes including emcee Miss Mason, Secretroom alumna Evil Sarah, Fonda Lingue, Stormy Knight, Catatonic Raucous, Chandler Bearden, Melissa Coffey, and many more. But to give you an exclusive sneak peep, who better than Mon Cherie herself…
Why a Chamber reunion now and how did this reunion come about?
As you may know, I stepped out of the scene several years ago. I would often hear from people that the club was not the same after I left, and now that the Chamber is officially closed, they miss the atmosphere that was the lifeblood of Atlanta’s most talked-about nightclub.
For people who may not have lived here in its glory years, what made The Chamber such a legendary Atlanta venue?
Although we were voted #1 dance club in our first year of operation, “Mon Cherie’s The Chamber” was so much more than that. There were four rooms of performance, including the shower room and peep show, plus shows on the main stage. Dancers in cages, Hot Erotica performed nightly – belly dancers, drag queens and fetish performance.
What’s your favorite memory personally of The Chamber?
I loved watching the crowd’s reactions to the shows. And whether it was excitement, shock or Mmmm-mmmm – I loved them all. We all made lifelong friends. For the alumni, this is a more important reunion than our high school reunion. For newcomers – this is your one and only chance to see what you missed.
How did you select the performers for The Chamber Reunion?
The most important part of my shows is that though it is an act, there is an element of truth to it. I pride myself in matching scene partners. The relationship must be real, and they need to be on the same page as their role in the relationship. Once that is in place, the rest comes naturally.
What else can attendees expect?
Do you have to have visited The Chamber to have a good time?
No, this gal knows how to throw a party so all people feel welcome and entertained.
OK, I have to ask you at least a couple of questions about Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge, too, since it’s one of Atlanta’s best ongoing Retro events. How did that get started and why do you have such a passion for rockabilly?
When I was a little girl, my Aunt Peggy from the hills of Pennsylvania used to let me and my sisters listen to her 45 records on her portable record player. This is the beginning of my fondness for Elvis, Johnny Cash, Eddie Cochran, Hank Williams and Ritchie Valens et al. I have always loved the trends of the ’40s, ’50s & ’60s – Rockabilly Lounge was just my way of putting it all together.
Finally, when you were a little girl, were you always the hostess and did you plan some awesome theme birthday parties? In other words, what’s the secret source of your passion for planning extraordinary social gatherings?
I have an ability to share a smile, so when I put one on your face, it puts two on mine.
What question have you always wished someone would ask you and what is the answer?
That is a very good question. I wish I had an answer. But I do think this is the best question I have ever been asked.
Devil’s details about Mon Cherie’s The Chamber Reunion:
The Masquerade; Ages 18 & up only; doors opens at 9 PM; cover charge of $12 before midnight, $15 after midnight; first 200 people through the door receive free passes to Psychotica (Glitterdome) on May 15.
Also upcoming from Mon Cherie:
Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge
Band: Hard Luck & Trouble
Also Featuring: Burlesque Show Benefitting the Legends of the Burlesque Hall of Fame; Rev Andy spins Psychobilly Freakout between sets; Free Jello Shots and a Ragin’ Rockabilly Raffle
Where: Hell at The Masquerade
When: Sat. May 14, doors open at 9 PM
Mon Cherie Presents Va-Va Voom
Featuring: BlackLight Burlesque Show and White Party
Where: The Shelter
When: Fri. May 27, doors open at 9 Pm
Cover: $5; free parking
All photos are courtesy of Mon Cherie and used with permission.