By  on August 13, 2007

CHICAGO — While singer-songwriter Lady GaGa was in town here to play Lollapalooza, her itty-bitty black HotPants and high boots proved too much for one of Chicago's finest. "You need to put your ass up against the fence," the officer ordered. "There are children around here." One citation for indecent exposure later, Lady GaGa remained amused. "There's a huge festival with people doing cocaine and marijuana, and he's busting me?" the 21-year-old New Yorker asked, adding jokingly, "I really wanted to get cuffed in a jumpsuit."

Welcome to the wild, wacky world of Lady GaGa, an exhibitionistic performer who is turning heads, whether it be for her penchant for wearing underwear as outerwear or for her catchy, if somewhat recycled, Eighties-influenced synth pop songs. Although she has no qualms about lowering her keyboard to purposely bend over to reveal her cleavage, Lady GaGa prefers not to reveal her original name. "She's not here anymore," GaGa quipped about her alter ego. "She's covered in sequins."

Maybe that's because her past seems a far cry from the 42nd Street stripper shops she frequents for fashion finds. GaGa, formerly known as Stefani Germanotta, the daughter of an Internet entrepreneur and a telecommunications executive, grew up on the Upper West Side and attended the all-girls Convent of the Sacred Heart with heiress Nicky Hilton. Not surprisingly, it wasn't a perfect fit. Gaga got into trouble for hiking up her uniform skirt and wearing Converse sneakers. The fact that she arrived for class each day in full makeup and curled hair also didn't go over well.

"What are you, a lesbian? No one's looking at you," her classmates teased, GaGa said. "But I'm into theatrics," she noted. "Every morning I like to look fabulous. I like to pretend I'm famous."

Though she's not yet that celebrated, the girl who didn't fit in in high school is getting noticed now — something that sets Lady GaGa aglow.

Signed to Interscope Records but yet to release her first album, GaGa, who began playing the piano at age four and sneaking out to play coffee houses at 14, gained a following through her cheeky pop-burlesque shows at New York clubs and online. Fans could download songs "Boys, Boys, Boys," "Beautiful, Dirty Rich," "Disco Heaven" and "Dirty Ice Cream" from her MySpace page.

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