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Entertainment Last Updated: Mar 30, 2019 - 8:59:41 PM

The Bahama Mama of Burlesque
By Robbin Whachell, The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Mar 29, 2019 - 3:26:56 AM

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Lindsay Braynen, aka Androsia Wilde performing "The Obeah Man"

VANCOUVER, Canada – Lindsay Braynen, better known in Vancouver as burlesque showgirl Androsia Wilde, will be making history as she becomes the first Bahamian-born performer to take part in the 14th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. “The Bahama Mama of Burlesque” will bring a taste of The Bahamas to the stage of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre at ‘The Glamorama Gala’ on Saturday, April 6th, 2019.

For those unfamiliar with the art form, burlesque started in the UK during the Victorian era and exemplifies caricature, parody and extravaganza.  Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. In other words, it's an exaggeration.

The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival (VIBF) is Canada’s longest-running and most prestigious burlesque festival, showcasing the talents of both Vancouver-based and international performers.  Running this year from April 3–6, this year’s festival includes an industry awards night, workshops and seminars held by members of the community, as well as two showcase evenings with curated performances showcasing the most celebrated performers from across North America, including reigning Queen of Burlesque INGA from Seattle, Burlesque Legend Pillow, and other lauded performers such as Indigenous Queen of Burlesque Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière from Montreal, and local Vancouver favorites such as Ariel Helvetica, Meldoy Mangler and April O’Peel.

Actor, model and dancer, Lindsay Braynen has been a mainstay in the Vancouver, Canada burlesque scene the past five years.

30 year-old Androsia has been a mainstay in the Vancouver’s burlesque scene for the last 5 years, performing across British Columbia with Vancouver-based troupes Geekenders and Omnika In Motion. Androsia’s routines often combine the glamour of striptease with her love and appreciation of pop-culture and her identity as a Black woman, but this is the first time she has created a ‘truly Bahamian’ act.

“Tribute to The Obeah Man” features the music of legendary Bahamian guitarist Tony McKay (better known as ‘Exuma’), allowing Androsia to draw upon her years of dance experience to both elevate her heritage and offer commentary on how one connects and identifies with ancestral practices such as the still-criminalized spiritual practice of Obeah. 

“The fact that we (The Bahamas) com-modify what makes us unique, package it almost solely for tourism-sanctioned consumption… while simultaneously treating aspects of our cultural identity like Obeah as either taboo or even criminal," said Braynen, "...it never really sat well with me growing up.  This piece is my attempt to reconcile all of those thoughts about identity, connection and sexual expression, and communicate them as authentically as I can.”

This will be Androsia’s 3rd time performing this routine in recent months, but the first time on such a large and prestigious scale, and she says she's grateful that it has consistently been well-received by multiple audiences. 

“To have the opportunity to bring such a personal and foreign experience to VIBF has been earth-shattering to say the least.  I have always wanted to use my art to challenge the notion of what it means to be a Bahamian;  for those who have never met one, and those who have known me all my life. I’m so excited for the opportunity to break some ground and defy expectations.”

ABOUT VIBF: Vancouver International Burlesque Festival was founded in 2006 with an aim to showcase this talent and expose Vancouver audiences to the art of burlesque. For over a decade and counting, this weekend event has grown into a world class experience. Each year we present four unforgettable days of engaging talks, educational workshops, and other fun and fabulous supporting events, including two showcase evenings featuring many of the world’s most sought-after burlesque performers, Legends from the Golden Age of Burlesque, and the best of Vancouver’s own glitterati.

Tickets for both of the festival’s showcase nights are still available and can be purchased at http://www.vibf.ca.

Editors Note:  This is not the first time we've featured Lindsay Braynen. Check out our past articles on this talented young Bahamian.

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