As Ottawa’s burlesque scene continues to grow, it has also begun to give back. Charity shows are an important part of the performance roster for many troupes, offering performers the chance to work together while supporting causes they believe in.
One such show is the aptly named Titties 4 Kitties, which raises funds to benefit animals in need. Miss Helvetica Bold, the founder of Rockalily Burlesque, developed the show. Bold, who is an avid animal lover, realized that within the burlesque community there is an abundance of people who own rescue pets. Seeing an opportunity to give back to the organizations that facilitate those rescues, Bold mobilized her troops and Titties 4 Kitties was born.
“I think so many performers just love performing, so it’s not always about the money, like making money for your personal self,” says Lila Livewire, an independent performer who will be hosting the show with Alexander Mansfield, of the Mansfield Brothers. “Performers are more than willing to work for charities and stuff that they believe in and have an attachment to.”
Now in its second year, this installment of Titties 4 Kitties will benefit the Westminster Pet Sanctuary and Hopeful Hearts Dog Rescue, both shelters that specialize in ill and elderly animals that are less likely to be adopted.
Livewire and Mansfield will bring their improv-style banter to the show, adding a dose of comedy. “Alexander is a talker,” Livewire says, chuckling. “I expect to have to grab the mic from him at times.”
In addition to the show, a number of local businesses and organizations, including the Ottawa Drag Connection and Hintonburg’s Global Pet Foods, have donated raffle prizes. This year, Titties 4 Kitties brings together close to 15 performers for a night that is first and foremost about fun.
“It’s really silly, it’s really fun,” Livewire says. “It’s for a really serious cause, but it’s not, you know, a cry-fest the entire night.”