Back in January, an enterprising young man named Bryce Nadeau came across a story and slideshow on the L.A. Weekly Web site on a "Star Wars"–themed burlesque performance.

His eyes immediately fell to one snap by Shannon Cottrell: dancer-producer Courtney Cruz dressed as a, well, doable storm trooper.



Being a tattoo artist, he obviously decided to turn this image into a tattoo and subsequently inked it onto his roommate Kevin's arm.

The resulting side-by-side comparison, seen here, has become an Internet sensation ... at least in Nerd Land.

But what did sexypants Courtney Cruz think of this unusual fan tribute? Keep reading for Asylum's exclusive interview with this tempestuous (in a good way) and talented lass.

A few weeks later, in the midst of all the surprise publicity surrounding the January performance, Cruz got a Facebook friend request from a tattoo artist she'd never met.

"He just sent me a message that said, 'I did this tattoo on my roommate last night, here's a picture of it. Thanks for being my muse,'" recalls the burlesque queen, who calls the tat "amazing" and also bizarre: "I think anytime somebody puts a picture of you on their body permanently, it's always kind of a strange thing. It's cool, certainly, and I'm very excited to see it in person [at the March 12 encore performance of Star Wars Burlesque], but I love that they were excited enough to make it a permanent image on Kevin's body. That kind of thing doesn't happen all the time."

This isn't Cruz's first foray into nerddom and weird fandom, however. "I've been producing the Star Wars Burlesque show for three years," she tells Asylum, "And we don't ever really touch on traditional stuff that's involved with burlesque, like martini glasses. We're focused more on the nerdcore -- things we enjoyed growing up."

"Star Wars" was one of those things: "It takes me back to watching the original movie with my brother at 10 on a Saturday morning, eating Cap'n Crunch. I connect to all the characters and, most importantly for the type of burlesque we do, it's costume- and character-driven."

Cruz adds, "I choose my themes based on what I'm interested in. Call me a nerd, then. I find it fun to take on characters like the storm trooper, Darth Vader, and for the comic book one, the Joker."

Until Cruz decides to get out of our dreams and into our car, we'll keep an ogling eye on her Web site for appearances and details.