What's In Your Fridge: Androsia Wilde of the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival

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      What’s In Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.

      On the grill

      Androsia Wilde

      Who are you

      I am Androsia Wilde [she/her]—‘The Bahama Mama of Burlesque’! Currently I’m the new artistic director of the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, which is a very exciting opportunity to help me give back to a community that has my whole heart, and has given me so much joy and opportunities to become the person I am today.

      I’m also an instructor at the Vancouver Burlesque Co. ([Hire me to coach you through your next act, or bring some Island Gyal flavours to your next event!), a founding member of both the community dance space Showpony Studio and the BIPOC collective Diasporic Dynasty, as well as the co-artistic director of my home troupe, Geekenders!  Aside from that, I’m a lover of anime, historical fiction, and my two black cats.

      First concert

      It was N*SYNC! Which is hilarious because I’m a dyed-in-the-cloth Backstreet Boys girl, but even 11-year old me will admit to being swept up in the excitement of their very first concert. This was back in the Bahamas where I’m originally from, and I went with my best friend at the time. The concert was at The Atlantis hotel, which was literally a three-minute walk from my house, which meant my parents felt it was safe enough for us to go unsupervised. Which means they weren’t there to stop us joining a group of fangirls who has scoped out where N*SYNC was changing post-show... but once one of them caught our faces in the window, we giggled and fled before security could catch us!

      Vancouver International Burlesque Festival performer Zyra Lee Vanity.

      Life-changing concert

      Oh this one is hard, because there are two answers for that: one is when Angelique Kidjo—a Beninese artist I had longed dance to as a kid in African dance classes back home—came to the Chan Centre in 2012, and she invited audience members on-stage to dance with her. I never ran so fast in my life to be up there! Years later my love of Kidjo’s music would flow into the creation of one of my favourite burlesque numbers, where I dance as Storm from the X-Men.

      The second answer is Linkin Park + Incubus, also 2012, Rogers Arena. Rock music is also one of my greatest loves, but as a kid back home admitting that you listen to any alternative music—least of all Linkin Park—left you prone to ridicule. To be in my first big stadium concert, stomping and singing along with thousands of people to my all-time favorite band, was absolutely like achieving Nirvana. To this day I am so glad that I got to see them before Chester Bennington’s passing.

      Top three records

      Linkin Park A Thousand Suns  To no-one’s surprise here: Linkin Park, A Thousand Suns. It’s where I think they shined the most with their dedication to changing their sound, telling new stories, and their messages of revolution, rage, and hope were the most deftly spun. And the final track, “The Messenger”—a simple song with just a guitar melody and Chester’s iconic vocals—remains my life’s mantra.

      Beyoncé Renaissance  I love how as time goes on, Beyoncé’s music gets more and more self-assured in celebrating not just her Blackness but the myriad of influences in her life, and paying tribute to them through her albums—such as her Uncle Jonny and his love of fashion and House music. Plus, it’s a certified BOP­—no skips, but plenty of favorites!

      Paul Simon + Ladysmith Black Mambazo Graceland  Besides it being the introduction to my love of African singing, this is one of those albums that instantly takes me back to dancing with my mom in the living room, or staying in the car on a grocery run so that we could finish listening to the song together first. It’s warm and nostalgic in a way that I cannot articulate, and it is an instant soother whenever I’m feeling low.

      All-time favourite video

      Stromae “Papaoutai”  As a dancer it is one of the most arresting visual experiences I’ve ever witnessed. It’s bright and colorful, it’s technically proficent, and heart-thumping in both the excitement of watching the sheer physicality of everyone involved, and for the emotional narrative it depicts.  I use this song and video in my classes all the time, and I will offer no more spoilers for anyone else who wants to watch it themselves.

      What’s in your fridge?

      Three bars of Zotter chocolate. I grew up HATING chocolate as a kid, so I never really gravitated to it as an adult.  The one exception is when the Vancouver Christmas Market rolls into town, and I grab one or two bars of Zotter chocolate which I tend to hoard for months on end, to savor when I feel called to. Currently there is one bar of milk chocolate with a mulled wine flavoured filling [half-eaten], one with a raspberries and champagne filling, and one with rose petals infused.

      Biscoff Speculoos Cookie Butter. A holdover from my Dutch ancestry!  If you’ve never had a speculoos cookie, think of a thinner, drier, spiced cookie—like gingerbread but infinitely better. Now imagine it finely blended into a cookie butter you can have whenever you want. I will scoopout giant spoonfuls to put on top of brownies, eat with pretzels, or just to eat straight off the spoon while answering emails. If I ever find a jar of the “crunchy” speculoos spread like what I had as a kid, though?- I *WILL* eat the entire thing in an hour.

      A mini rum cake from the Bahamas. In January I got to go back home for the first time in 6 years to visit my family and loved ones!  So naturally I brought back whatever I could to remind me of all the tasty things I have missed out on. This cake is soaked in Ole Nassau Amaretto rum, and is currently being saved for a special occasion—like say, the completion of a certain burlesque festival? *wink*

      The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival runs from March 29-April 2. For tickets to all events, including the fest's lecture series, workshops, and brand-new virtual showcase, go here