Fresh & Exhilarating CheriThursday, February 06, 2020
On Christmas Eve 1966 I was on board an Argentine Merchant Marine Victory Ship called the Rio Aguapey. I was the only passenger on my way to Veracruz, Mexico from Buenos Aires. We had arrived early in the day in New Orleans. I decided to explore Bourbon Street. It was in the evening when I entered a strip parlour. I sat down at the front row and in my silly ignorance ordered Bourbon on the rocks. A bored looking woman came on to the stage. She plugged in a Wurlitzer and put in some coins. She danced. She finished and then left. She was the first woman I ever saw take off her clothes and dance. She looked bored. I was bored.
It wasn’t until a summer day around 1977 that I went to the Drake Hotel to watch what then were euphemistically called exotic dancers. I have no memory if I was alone or accompanied. I know I either ordered a coke or a soda water.
On the stage this long-legged young blonde woman danced with uncommon grace. I was particularly fond of her bangs. There was something fresh and enthralling about her performance. The place (too good to be called a joint) was scrupulously clean and the fine sunny day almost made it feel that my fun was all clean fun. Perhaps it was.
In subsequent many years of witnessing women take off their clothes I became an expert on which of these women it was worth watching over and over.
I have never been able to forget or lose that first exhilarating performance of Cheri. I photographed her many times. The last time was in my Granville and Robson studio in 1995. I have never been able to find her since. I would like to thank her for all that I learned from her and how this amateur photographer became a good one thanks to her patience and the patience of many of her friends.
Best of all she danced to one of my favourite local pop bands of the time, Maurice and the Clichés.