One Spellbound Evening: Chad Sanborn Conjures Film Noir Magic for Mon Cherie’s Burlesque with a Hitch

Posted on: Aug 11th, 2011 By:

Magician Chad Sanborn is one of the many talented local and regional performers in BURLESQUE WITH A HITCH Sat. Aug. 13 at Masquerade. Photo courtesy of Chad Sanborn.

Legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock has been dubbed the “Master of Suspense,” but suspense also is the key ingredient to a great burlesque act – the tantalizing tease which has you wondering when she’s going to take it off. Leave it to Mon Cherie to have the genius to put the two together for one of the more innovative burlesque pairings in the local scene this year. In BURLESQUE WITH A HITCH, the latest in her Va-Va-Voom series at Masquerade this Sat. Aug. 13 (doors at 9 p.m.), each act will be based on a different Hitchcock film. Alabaster JuJu stars, with master of suspense and mystery Miss Mason hosting, and the line-up of top local and regional performers includes aerialist extraordinaire Sadie Hawkins (Blast-Off Burlesque)Rebecca DeShon (Hoop Essence)Stormy Knight, Fonda Lingue, Evil Sarah, The Chameleon Queen, Katarina Laveaux (Birmingham, AL), Nicolette Tesla (Charlotte, NC), and Peachz de Vine (Greensboro, NC). Before and after, DJ 313 spins alternative dance, Allison Kellar offers body-painting, and there’s also the usual RAWKIN’ RAFFLE with lots of vintage-inspired vendors donating prizes. Cover is a bargain 5 bucks, and doors open at 9 p.m., with all proceeding helping cancer patient Shawn Brown.

Of course, suspense is also the key to a successful magic trick, and all great burlesque and vaudeville shows have to have a magician. For BURLESQUE WITH A HITCH, we think Mon Cherie couldn’t have picked less of a “Wrong Man” than Chad Sanborn, who, outfitted like a ’40s noir detective complete with fedora, sets up his tricks like a crime to be solved. ATLRetro caught up with Chad to find out why he adopted his signature style, as well as gather a few clues about his Sat. night act and his other projects, including movie and TV roles and HOUDINI: DOG MAGICIAN commercials for The Cartoon Network. And Just Added: Chad sent us a short rehearsal clip for his Saturday night trick. Watch it here.

ATLRetro: How old were you when you started performing magic, and is there any fun story about that?

Chad Sanborn: I started performing, if you could call it that back then, when I was just a kid. I’d say about 8 years old. David Copperfield would do a yearly television special. Those have inspired me greatly. When you are starting in magic, your family and friends are your guinea pigs. Mostly they are cordial and say “that’s nice,” whether you fooled them or not. Then there is my grandmother…ugh. She would tell me the truth. And it hurt. “It’s in the other hand,” “there is a string on it,” etc. What’s worse is that she would holler it out right in the middle of the show! I hated that. Mostly because she was right. Now I see that honest criticism as a good thing. It lets me know what works and what doesn’t. Positive feedback is good for the ego, but honest feedback is good for the show. It’s been tough, but I have learned to set my ego aside and do what’s best for the magic.

Photo courtesy of Chad Sanborn.

You’ve adopted a noir ‘30s/’40s Humphrey Bogart/James Cagney look instead of the top hat, tux and cape that magicians traditionally have worn. How did that come about?

Well I learned magic from old books I got from the library. They would preach about bringing your own personality into each trick. Are you funny, clever, sexy, goofy? Whatever you were, they said you should inject that into the presentation of the tricks. So who was I? That’s tough to answer at 8 years old. Heck, its tough to answer at 38 years old. As I got older, I realized that I liked vintage things -1900s-1950s clothing, music, vaudeville, etc. Everything. So it was only natural to bring those elements into the magic. I emulated Bogart because he was tops in his field. So now I wear a vintage suit and tie with a fedora and spectator shoes, instead of a tux, top hat and cape. Though I do own a tux made in 1942!

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Kool Kat of the Week: Mon Cherie Resurrects The Chamber for One More Night of Sin

Posted on: Apr 14th, 2011 By:

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 SarahFonda LingueStormy Knight, Catatonic Raucous, Chandler Bearden, Melissa Coffey, and many more. But to give you an exclusive sneak peep, who better than Mon Cherie herself…

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Southern-Fried Sensuality: Atlanta’s First Burlesque Festival Showcases Local and International Talent

Posted on: Mar 3rd, 2011 By:

Atlanta certainly has earned its place on the map of the Neo-Burlesque Revival with amazing performers and troupes. Now this steamy Southern city finally is getting its first bonafide burlesque festival, too. In case you’ve been too naughty to notice, Southern Fried Burlesque Fest dances into town next weekend, Thurs. March 10- Sun. March 13, 2011, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Decatur. But co-founders Katherine Lashe and Ursula Undress (Syrens of the South Productions) kindly have agreed to pull back the curtains and strip down to some of the delicious details…

Katherine Lasche & Ursula Undress invite you to some Southern-fired fun at Atlanta's first burlesque festival.

1. Is there any story behind how you hatched the idea for Southern Fried Burlesque Fest and why Atlanta needs its own festival?

Katherine Lashe: Atlanta’s the biggest city in the Southeast and a hot bed for burlesque with guest performers coming in all the time so it seemed to make sense that we should have a festival to show off all of the amazing talent from all aspects of burlesque that the Southeast had to offer, in addition to showing the Southeast what the rest of the world has to offer as well.

Ursula Undress: I had heard some talk about how we needed to do something like it here at a few of the Atlanta Burlesque & Cabaret Meet-Ups and had been to a few other state-specific festivals. So I supported Katherine with wanting to move forward with one here and told her I would do whatever I could to help. We definitely have the talent in the city and surrounding areas—so it has become sort of a regional thing.

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