The reigning 2013 King of Burlesque Ray Gunn makes an appearance at the 9th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. Photo Derek Jackson.
The reigning 2013 King of Burlesque Ray Gunn makes an appearance at the 9th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. Photo Derek Jackson.

Vancouver stages are informative, telling and just a little bit titillating as we present our picks for the coming week.

[pullquote]“Without Masks gives us opportunities to broaden our understanding of issues of global concern, such as racism today. The Afro-Cuban struggle for recognition and social equity in contemporary Cuba resonate with challenges faced by communities all over the world, including here.” – Nuno Porto, Curatorial Liaison[/pullquote]For the first time in North America, the upcoming Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art (May 2-Nov 2) at the Museum of Anthropology opens a window into the lives and struggles of Cubans of African descent.  The exhibition has assembled 31 Cuban contemporary artists devoted to providing an insight into contemporary Afro-Cuban cultural and religious traditions and in providing a dialogue on the complex racial issues affecting the country today.

As one of the world’s most walk-able cities, Vancouver is the prefect place for exploring on foot.  Closing out its 40th anniversary season, Vancouver New Music are presenting two free Soundwalks (Apr 27 & May 4) led by members of the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective. Designed by local sound artists with the goal of promoting active listening, participants will spend each afternoon identifying interesting sounds, patterns and rhythms in outdoor settings.

Vancouver once again will be twirling its tassels as the 9th Vancouver International Burlesque Festival (May 1-3) gets underway.  Attracting performers from all over the world, the three Festival evenings will feature a different lineup of local and international burlesque talent, peppered with live music and variety artists.  One of the special guests this year is Kitten Natividad, holder of Miss Nude Universe titles from both 1973 and 1974 and international cult status as the star of Russ Meyer’s 1979 film Beneath The Valley Of The Ultra-Vixens.  And proving that burlesque has indeed evolved, the weekend showcase also features the reigning “King of Burlesque”, Ray Gunn.