Meet the Cast: BOOBS RADLEY



Challenger: Boobs Radley
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Dollar Store

Boobs Radley been shedding her inhibitions and her clothes in Chicago’s burlesque scene for the past five years. Boobs has appeared as a solo artist and as a member of Dirty Bird Burlesque in the Vermont Burlesque Fest, the Ohio Burlesque Festival, the Show Me Burlesque Festival and the Windy City Burlesque Festival. Her fondest festival memory is visiting the World’s Biggest Truck Stop after the Iowa Burlesque Festival. A firm believer in giving back to the community, Boobs produced “Defund THIS 2: Electric Vulvaloo! A Benefit for Planned Parenthood of Illinois” and “The Pussyfoot Revue”, a benefit for Tree House Humane Society combining her two greatest loves, kitties and titties.

Boobs Radley

Boobs Radley

On Thrifty Thrills: “I have seen the most amazing costumes made by people out of the strangest items — Busty’s Paper Roses Dress, Serenna Star’s butterfly wings. I wanted to challenge myself to make something fabulous for next to nothing. I believe burlesque is about more than rhinestones and feathers; it’s about innovation and challenging norms. When you are forced to use your creativity and not rely on easy prettiness to get by, you start making some really cool art. NAMI is near and dear to my heart. I suffer from depression, as do many members of my family. My uncle lost his fight and committed suicide. It’s very important to me to give back in whatever ways I can, and lessen the stigma by saying, “I’m mentally ill.”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement: “Made a shovel for a coal miner number out of a paint tray, a dowel rod and a roll of duct tape. Covered a $6 bra with $1 bandana for the same number and made a “panel skirt” out of another 2 bandanas.”

Get your tickets now to see what Boobs creates with $20 and the dollar store! To find out more about Boobs Radley, follow her on Facebook!


Meet the Cast: MS PIXY

MsPixy (photo by K Leo)

MsPixy (photo by K Leo)

Challenger: MsPixy
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Auto Supply Store

MsPixy is a founding member of The Belmont Burlesque Revue, Chicago’s longest consecutively-running burlesque show. In 2010, MsPixy created the smash hit “Boobs and Goombas, a Super Mario Burlesque,” which has enjoyed over 200 performances in 3 cities. Boobs and Goombas spawned a small burlesque empire at Gorilla Tango Theater, for which MsPixy created two additional shows (Fellowship of the Boobs and SuperBoobs), directed a fourth (Empire Brings Sexy Back), and acted as Artistic Director from 2011-2012. For all of her Gorilla Tango Burlesque productions MsPixy acted as director, choreographer and designer, often personally constructing costumes, props, and sets including a fully functional spider rig, a manually-operated hand-cranked Star Wars Opening Scroller, and a peep-show Koopa Troopa shell with removable front panels. Currently, MsPixy is the co-producer of The Glitter Guild and The Belmont Burlesque Revue, as well as the owner of MsPixy Productions. Over her 13 year career as a performer and emcee, MsPixy has also guest-performed in literally hundreds of local and national burlesque shows.

12919613_515431968640245_3662220919127592152_nOn making costumes: “I love to make things. I love to make things out of other things that shouldn’t be made in to the things I make, until I make them be those things. Even when costuming, I tend to wander the aisles of Home Depot or Party City looking for non-traditional materials to suit my needs.”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement: “I regularly make adorable hats out of cardboard and whatever scrap materials I have to hand… so, I guess “super sexy upcycled chapeaux” is my most thrifty achievement?”

Get your tickets now to see what Pixy creates with $20 and the auto supply store! To find out more about MsPixy, visit her official website at NerdBurlesque.Com!

Meet the Cast: HEART CRIMSON

12976895_515433271973448_1530297681227039128_oChallenger: Heart Crimson
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Grocery Store

Born completely naked, Hell’s resident belle Heart Crimson is a New York- and Chicago-based burlesque performer/producer, alternative model, and stage manager.

Since their performing debut in 2013, they founded the Co-Conspirators, a rough-and-tumble burlesque troupe based in White Plains, New York. The Co-Conspirators’ focus on intersectionality and DIY have gotten them called “the garage band of burlesque.”

Heart’s previous exploits include performing all over NYC, including at Coney Island and Galapagos Art Space. With the Co-Conspirators, they’ve produced and performed in numerous shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Undressed, which is exactly what it sounds like, and BURLEXES: an Ode to Post-Relationship.

On their burlesque journey: “I was an amateur burlesque performer/producer in New York for just over two years before moving to Chicago. In addition to kittening/performing with the New York City community, I founded and ran a troupe called The Co-Conspirators, based out of Purchase College. We operate with a focus on DIY, intersectionality, and neo-burlesque. We are called “the Garage Band of Burlesque”– not that our shows are punk in theme, but punk in execution. We often performed barefoot in student-run venues/gallery spaces. We created with the intention of experimenting with burlesque tropes and site-specific events. We took our studies and re-angled them to strengthen our senses of authenticity and narrative as performers/story-tellers. Since moving to Chicago in September, I’ve enrolled in classes at Vaudezilla and the School of Girlesque to finally embark on my formal burlesque education.”

Heart Crimson

Heart Crimson

On the personal connection to Thrifty Thrills: “Thrifty Thrills sounds incredible.  I am mentally ill and have struggled with depression since I was a very young child. Much of this has been informed by my gender identity (which files as follows: trans>genderqueer>nonbinary) and by my economic status- I am one of three siblings raised by a single mother with no support from my absentee father. Intersectionality has informed my entire career as a performer.”

On accessibility in burlesque: “A big part of what the Co-Conspirators focused on was accessibility– the free shows, the budgets and resources we had as loan-riddled college students; our diverse range of economic backgrounds. Our DIY approach to burlesque represented the multi-faceted socioeconomic spectrum.

Burlesque CAN be as classist as any other creative art (poor kids often aren’t the ones in dance camp, poor kids often can’t afford to take time off of work to costume/choreograph/perform), it CAN be ableist, of course!

My dream is to make burlesque accessible. It’s not always glamour and fierceness and sparkle– at its heart, it is story, vulnerability, power, Realness. There is power in quiet, there is power in simple, there is power in resourcefulness and thrift. That’s why I wanted to participate in Thrifty Thrills.”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement: “I was booked to perform in a fundraiser to benefit environmental consciousness. I visited my local dollar stores and Frankensteined together a costume for a mermaid dying in an oil spill.

This involved:
-creating two mermaid tails out of two shower curtains and a laundry bag.
-creating pasties from the laundry bag fabric
-cutting the feet and crotch out of a torn pair of sheer black tights to wear as a form-fitting top
-repurposing one of the stocking feet to use as a mask
-using cling wrap to form my “bra”
-lots of fake pearls”

Get your tickets now to see what Heart creates with $20 and the grocery store! Catch up with The Scrappy Kid Sibling of Burlesque Forever and Ever DIY for Life at!

Meet the Cast: SHIMMY LAROUX

Shimmy LaRoux

Shimmy LaRoux

Challenger: Shimmy LaRoux
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Thrift/Resale Store

Shimmy LaRoux is your bad girl with good home training. She can be found all over the city, bringing a combination of quirky charm and addictive energy. Shimmy LaRoux is sassy, classy…but never ashy!

On Thrifty Thrills: “Creativity comes from constraint, so I’m incredibly excited to see what can happen when you get $20 and a place. I heard about last year’s show and knew I wanted to be part of it this year.”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement: “An act that has become on of my signature pieces (Brown Skin Woman) was made for less than $40 (a thrift store dress, parts of a rhinestone order, flowers from the dollar store, recycled shoes and a boa given to me).”

Get your tickets now to see what Shimmy creates with $20 and the thrift store! To find out more about Shimmy LaRoux, visit her official website at ShimmyLaRoux.Com!

Meet the Cast: TITTY PERKINS


: Titty Perkins
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Party Supply Store

Titty Perkins is a Chicago burlesque sensation and member of Vaudezilla Burlesque. Cuter than a cupcake (with a cherry on top!), she enjoys crystals, frilly panties and french bulldogs, but not all at once.

On burlesque: “I have been performing classic and Neo burlesque since the rise of its popularity in Chicago – I’ve been performing for 5+ years. Though now I usually stay close to home, and do shows on Saturday which Vaudezilla produces.”

On making costumes: “I have an arts background. I love and appreciate really gorgeous costumes and know how to construct things like that, and I love the challenge of creating something really different and fun!”

Titty Perkins

Titty Perkins

Thriftiest burlesque achievements: “So many thrifty moves. I’m a sucker for the thrift store, and have scored many costumes there. I also love the reverence of pieces that have been handed to you by another performer. I still have some of my costumes from when I first started, many belonging to mentors I totally respect. I also try to use every last bit of glue, trim, etc. And I love taking trim off old costumes and reusing it – that’s on of my super easy but effective thriftiness.”

Get your tickets now to see what Titty creates with $20 and the party supply store! To find out more about Titty Perkins, follow her on Facebook!


Slightly Spitfire

Slightly Spitfire


Challenger: Slightly Spitfire
“The Rebel Without Clothes”
Store Assignment: Comic Book Store

Spitfire was born by the bayous of north Louisiana. After transplanting to Chicago, she fell knee deep in the glitter. Starting at Gorilla Tango Burlesque where she played multiple nerd parody roles from Superman to Luke Skywalker, then joining the Kiss Kiss Cabaret, Sprite-ing it up with the Belmont Burlesque Revue, and Beast Women Productions – she came to be known as “the rebel without clothes.”


Previous Challenge:  Pet store, 2015 Thrifty Thrills Chicago



On Thrifty Thrills: “I participated last year and loved the challenge, the experience, and remarkable performers I was able to meet. It also inspired a super cathartic number I still perform!”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement: “Costuming an entire number for under $20…from Petco.”

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Get your tickets now to see what Spitfire does this year with $20 and the comic book store!

Meet the Cast: LADY ALI MODE

Lady Ali Mode

Lady Ali Mode

Challenger: Lady Ali Mode
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Copier/Shipping Supply Store

Lady Ali Mode is a member of the Dirty Birds Burlesque and the Better Boobie Bureau. She is also the producer/commissioner/back-up goalie for the annual event Puck & Grind: a hockey and burlesque fundraiser. When she’s not cool on the ice she’s heating things up on stage as everyone’s favorite double scoop.

On her burlesque journey: “I’m a member of Dirty Birds Burlesque and Better Boobie Bureau. I have been performing for 5 years and trained at Vaudezilla. I performed in both the WCBF and the Vermont Burlesque Festival and received a standing ovation at both. My acts are typically humor based with elaborating costuming. I am a professional artist and consider my visuals/costuming and story telling to be my strong suits.”

LadyAliMode-fullbodyOn Thrifty Thrills: “I want to challenge myself and push my craft. I am a creative problem solver and feel like I create some of my best work, in burlesque and in my career as a working commercial artist, when given rules and restrictions that force me to think out side the box. Plus, I’m a big believer in giving back and if my act helps raises money for charity then I feel like I’m using my burlesque powers for good.”

Thriftiest burlesque achievements: “My signature Blackhawks act is made up mostly of used hockey equipment down to the pasties made from shoulders patches. I have also made a butterfly headpiece and matching bra from feather butterflies from the dollar store and even created a full Freddy Kruger make up effect using 4 shades of lip liner and some eyeshadow.”

Get your tickets now to see what Lady Ali creates with $20 and the copier/shipping supply store! To find out more about Lady Ali Mode, follow her on Facebook!


Meet the Cast: WILLY LAQUEUE

Willy LaQueue

Willy LaQueue

Challenger: Willy LaQueue
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Drugstore

Starlight, star bright, the fiercest thing you’ll see tonight, it’s Willy LaQueue! Willy is a boylesque starlet twinkling in Chicago, performing with Vaudezilla Productions.

On his burlesque journey: “I started doing burlesque in Champaign, IL in 2012, but now I’m in Chicago and performing regularly with Vaudezilla. I’ve been lucky enough to perform at the Seattle Boylesque Festival, the Show-Me Burlesque Festival, the Michigan Burlesque Festival, and the Windy City Burlesque Festival.”

On Thrifty Thrills: “Sometimes when I got to Petco or Autozone or something I always think, “what would I make if I were in Thrifty Thrills?”
I love the premise of this show and I always wanted an opportunity to be a part of it!”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement: “A very old doily made by Red Hot Annie’s grandmother that became a very sexy and ghostly neckpiece is the first thing that comes to mind. However, the Barbie doll neckpiece I made or the Hermes scarf I bought for $2 do come to mind as well.”

Get your tickets now to see what Willy creates with $20 and the drugstore! To find out more about Willy, visit his official website at WillyLaQueue.Com!

Meet the Cast: GIN FIZZ

12961196_515434745306634_5737304887651022295_oChallenger: Gin Fizz
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Garden supply store

Gin Fizz is a bubbly and boozy burlesque performer who has been whetting thirst throughout the Midwest for nearly 10 years. She brings an intoxicating mix of classic bump and grind and humor that will leave your mouth watering. Whether she’s getting you laughing or lusting, one things for certain — when Gin Fizz is on stage, it’s going to be a thirsty night!

On her burlesque journey: “I’ve been performing burlesque for just about ten years now. I started in Oklahoma, where there was little community, continued through Champaign Illinois, and then Chicago. Since coming to Chicago I’ve performed with a variety of groups but found my home in Vaudezilla. I’ve been an ensemble since 2014. I specialize in costuming and classic bump and grind, and I teach classes in both.”

Gin Fizz 1On making costumes: “I’m a costumer at heart. The fluffy dresses and sparkly underthings were what drew me to burlesque in the first place. Over the last two years I’ve developed a symbiosis with another Vaudezilla member, Zara Estelle, where I make all of her costumes in exchange for her choreographing my acts. Her costumes have to be done on a tight budget, but I’d never put her on stage looking like anything less than the diva she is. I’ve become an expert in finding ways to get high end pieces for cheap, to fake it, to get imaginative with designs.”

Thriftiest burlesque achievement:  “I found a 12 ply ostrich boa for $20 on eBay, which was pretty life-changing. Figuring out how to make my own strappy panties out of a few dollars of supplies, or learning to keep broken jewelry to embellish costumes, or turning some disused scarves into a panel skirt… they’re all up there, though. I try to save money where I can so that I can splurge when it counts.”


Michael Allen Rose

Michael Allen Rose

Challenger: Michael Allen Rose
Status: ROOKIE
Store Assignment: Office supply store

Michael Allen Rose is a writer, performer and musician based in Chicago. His books, plays and stories have been produced and published in New York, Chicago, Portland, Denver and several other major cities. He releases industrial and experimental music under the name Flood Damage. He makes friends with cats wherever he goes. He obsesses over promotional codes when shopping for nerdy rock star stuff on the internet. He leaves the mistakes in his art because it’s cheaper that way.

On Thrifty Thrills: “I have attended the show two years in a row now, and enjoy the theme itself, but moreover the idea of a challenge has always intrigued me as an artist. I love being forced into accepting strange rules and regulations as I find that often times I am forced to think differently in the creative process, which I find incredibly rewarding. I also loved seeing Barbacoa Jones perform, and think it’s always fun to see some “guys” in the lineup on a night of burlesque, especially in comedy themed showcases like this one tends to be!”

12928124_515431838640258_1658248764271855280_nThriftiest Theater Achievement: “I’m a black box theatre guy from way back, and have often had to put together shows and acts with no budget whatsoever. Several years ago, I was producing a “naked history of Chicago” show for a fundraiser my theatre company was part of for WBEZ. We were doing a parody of Julius Caesar (naked… ish) and needed daggers and laurels. We cut up a fake plastic vine plant and wrapped cardboard cutout knives in foil. When they stabbed Caesar, the knives bent, but they did not crumple. Problem solved, and at a fraction of the price.”