What Are You Wearing? | Miscellany | Chicago Reader

What Are You Wearing? 

My Coworker

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

One of Cherish Melvoin-Berg's favorite childhood memories involves a garden snake and a mean babysitter. "She ran screaming, and I never had to deal with her again," she says. "Snakes have always been my friends."

Today Cherish dances at burlesque shows, fund-raisers, and backyard parties wrapped in a six-foot-long boa constrictor. "It feels great," she says. "It's very smooth. It's kind of cold. It's not slimy. It's kind of restricting. It's kind of sexy. But not so sexy."

The snake, Pagan, lives in a tank in Cherish's Bucktown apartment and only performs when it's warm. "I don't like to take her out because if she catches a cold she could die, and I would freak out."

After a recent gig at the Chicago Arts District Warehouse in Pilsen, Cherish strolled through the gallery introducing Pagan to guests. Its head hovered within inches of her face. It flicked its black forked tongue at her, and Cherish puckered her lips.

"In nature humans are not prey for snakes," she said. "The only time that they're going to bite and strangle is to eat. And I'm too big to eat."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Tori Marlan

  • The immigrant's dilemma

    The immigrant's dilemma

    The closer José Ángel got to the American dream, the more he was forced to disappear.
    • Mar 11, 2014
  • Fire 'Em All, Let God Sort 'Em Out

    Fire 'Em All, Let God Sort 'Em Out

    Homeland Security's latest weapon against illegal immigration could cost legal workers their jobs.
    • Jan 10, 2008
  • Denied a Ride

    Denied a Ride

    Gladys Aponte's kids qualify for free after-school care, but CPS has forced her to pay for it anyway.
    • Nov 15, 2007
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Big Fish Greenhouse Theater Center
September 29
Performing Arts
The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story Elizabeth F. Cheney Mansion
October 24

Popular Stories