Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Blondie played the legendary rock club CBGB in August 1974, as did The Ramones, and less than a year later Talking Heads performed their first show there, opening for The Ramones in June 1975.

They’re back Tuesday, with Harvard Square’s Oberon standing in for the now-shuttered New York club and tribute bands Warthog as The Ramones, Byrne’s Big Suit as Talking Heads and boozy chanteuse and variety show impresario (and Marilyn Monroe impersonator) Niki Luparelli channeling Blondie in “CBGB or Bust: A Live Music and Burlesque Tribute.”

Niki Luparelli


“I’ve moonlighted as a Marilyn impersonator for years,” Luparelli said. “So I thought for a change I’d try channeling a more recent platinum blonde. Blondie’s Debbie Harry seemed an obvious choice … a CBGB-themed show just grew from there.”

Luparelli, who’s perfected such tributes with the music of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Prince and the James Bond flicks, brings with her not just the dreamy new wave music of Blondie, but burlesque dancers – Mary Widow, Honey Pie, Jane Doe, Fonda Feeling, Leather Pixie, Dahlia Strack, Divine Filth, Terrortits and Yummy Hearts – and comedian Ken Reid, who will emcee the night. Reid, a former punk rocker in the band :30 Seconds Over Tokyo, has toured with Todd Barry and opened for acts including Eugene Mirman, Patton Oswalt and John Oliver.

Luparelli’s “CBGB or Bust,” the latest in an impressive portfolio of shows pairing nearly naked women with dearly beloved songs, is 8 p.m. Tuesday at Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Harvard Square. Tickets for this 18-plus show are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Information is here.