Dead Ladies Show NYC #17 – Zoom edition!

The seventeenth edition of DLS NYC is upon us! Tuesday, July 21, from 7–8:15 pm on Zoom. This month, please join EMILY KNAPP and ELIZA ROCKEFELLER to learn about a visionary artist and teacher and the revolutionary Mayor of Christopher Street. Presented, respectively, by an art historian-slash-curator and a student of government and philosophy. 

 Free admission, and an ~*important note!*~ If you can, you’re welcome and encouraged to donate what you would have paid for a drink or two to the KGB Bar/Red Room, which has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. They are distributing 30% of all donations directly to employees. Donate here: Literary Landmark KGB Bar NYC Aid

We also ask that you consider donating to the following organization: G.L.I.T.S. Inc, a nonprofit led by trans women of color that works to address “the health and rights crises faced by transgender sex workers.”

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LOÏS MAILOU JONES (19051998) was a visionary artist and teacher who spent much of her 70-year career as an ardent advocate for African-American art. She established the art department at Palmer Memorial Institute and later became a professor at Howard University, where she mentored generations of African-American artists until her retirement in 1977. Her profound range spanned mediums and continents, from her early work designing textiles in New York to her captivating paintings of Paris and Port-au-Prince, not to mention her work as a U.S. cultural ambassador to numerous African countries in the 1970s. 

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MARSHA P. JOHNSON (1945-1992), also known as the “Mayor of Christopher Street”, was an activist, drag queen, performer, and sex worker. Credited as one of the initiators of the Stonewall uprising of 1969, co-founder of the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, and an AIDS activist with ACT UP, she was one of the most prominent figures in the fight for queer liberation.

About your presenters:

INDIRA A. ABISKAROON is an art historian based in New York City. She is currently on leave from her role as Curatorial Assistant, Collections at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

ALMA BRADLEY is a Senior at Hamilton College concentrating in Government and Philosophy. She is spending her summer conducting research on alt-right protest movements and experimenting with fermentation in her spare time. 

Podcast #34: Willa Muir

In Episode 34, we’re once more in Muenster as guests of the Burg Hülshoff Centre for Literature, which happens to be named after a Dead Lady poet, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff! This time around, we’ll get introduced to Willa Muir, a prolific translator who brought Kafka into English for the first time. Born on a small Scottish island, she was eyewitness to some of Europe’s most important moments. She worked in tandem with her husband Edwin, who somehow managed to get all the credit… Presented by our co-founder Katy Derbyshire, also featuring Florian Duijsens, and produced and introduced by producer Susan Stone.

Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript here.

Show notes:

Here’s Willa’s portrait by Nigel McIsaac, held by National Galeries Scotland

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And this is the editorial board of her college journal, with Willa probably at the front, but possibly at the back.

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The racy cover of Willa and Edwin’s very first translation

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And all four of “their” Kafka books

Edwin, Gavin, Willa and cat at home

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Two books of Willa’s own writing

You can hear Willa’s lovely voice talking about Edwin at the London Review of Books’ The Space. And there’s more about Willa Muir’s writing at Scottish PEN’s very well named Dangerous Women Project.

For those now hooked on Kafka translating content, we strongly recommend Michelle Woods’ book Kafka Translated, which also has a lot of material about Willa.

If you understand German and want to listen to a three-minute podcast about our show in Münster, the Lesebürger*innen have exactly what you need!
 
The center’s online audio platform is called DROSTE FM.
 
Their online Droste festival is happening right now, so German-speaking lovers of modern-day takes on dead lady poets can dig right in. And non-German-speaking music-lovers can check out their accompanying Spotify playlists.
 
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Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in July. Don’t forget, we now have a Patreon! Please consider supporting our transcripts project and our ongoing work: www.patreon.com/deadladiesshowpodcast

If you’d prefer to make a one-time donation, here’s the link: paypal.me/dlspodcast

Podcast #33: Dorothy L. Sayers

Episode 33 takes us virtually to Muenster as guests of the Burg Hülshoff Centre for Literature, which happens to be named after a Dead Lady poet, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff! However, we’re here to talk about mystery queen Dorothy L. Sayers.
Dorothy, or DLS, as she preferred to be called, is probably best known for her crime novels featuring posh amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey. But she also gave us an impressive English translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, much loved to this day. Something of a child prodigy, she learned Latin at six and studied at Oxford before women were actually awarded degrees. She made an early living in advertising and later wrote essays on both Christian and feminist subjects, including the fabulously titled “Are Women Human?” All this while publishing sixteen detective novels, plus numerous plays and short stories, and leading what might best be called a turbulent private life.
Dead Ladies Show co-founder Florian Duijsens unravels the complicated plot of her life, as other co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins host & producer Susan Stone to set the stage. 
Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. Find the transcript here.
Show notes:
Here are Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Florian doing his thing, and that chandelier…

A young Dorothy in drag

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Dorothy and Eric the skull
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Some of her most famous ads:
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And some of her less famous books:
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Her enduring character, Lord Peter Wimsey
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Florian recommends two biographies…

Dorothy L. Sayers by Barbara Reynolds and A Careless Rage for Life by David Coomes.

That 1987 BBC series is available on YouTube.
And if you understand German and want to listen to a three-minute podcast about the show, the Lesebürger*innen have exactly what you need!
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Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in June. Don’t forget, we now have a Patreon! Please consider supporting our transcripts project and our ongoing work: www.patreon.com/deadladiesshowpodcast

If you’d prefer to make a one-time donation, here’s the link: paypal.me/dlspodcast

Podcast #32: Rose Mackenberg

Welcome to our 32nd podcast, in which Nicole Saraniero and Dana Lewis (recorded live by Christopher Neil in the Red Room at New York’s KGB Bar in 2019) conjure up enthusiastic ghost-buster Rose Mackenberg. Sometimes called “Harry Houdini’s Girl Detective,” Rose was dedicated to debunking psychics who scammed vulnerable and grieving Americans recovering from the tragedies of World War I and the Spanish Flu of 1918. She started out as a stenographer and private investigator, joining forces with famed magician Houdini to crusade against fraud and psychic swindlers.

Here it comes, produced and presented by Susan Stone:

Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast.

Show notes:

Here are Nicole (left) and Dana (right) on stage:

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Curious about those costumes?

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Publicity material from the time:

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If you want to read more, there’s a compilation of her writing put together by Tony Wolf, Houdini’s “Girl Detective”: The Real-Life Ghost-Busting Adventures of Rose Mackenberg.

Rose also has a belated obituary in the New York Times‘ rather good “Overlooked No More” series, dedicated to women who weren’t written about when they died.

A few excellent pictures of Rose in action are available in the Saturday Evening Post.

And she’s also featured in artist A R Hopwood’s exploration of The Ethics of Deception for London’s Wellcome Collection.

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In these coronavirus times, our venues could use your support. You can donate to ACUD in Berlin via Startnext, and/or to the KGB Bar in NYC via Fundly, and/or your own local cultural stronghold.

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Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in May. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund our work.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Dead Ladies Show NYC #16 – Zoom edition!

The sixteenth edition of DLS NYC is upon us! Tuesday, April 7, from 7–9pm, though we won’t meet in the Red Room this time, given the pandemic; we’re meeting on Zoom. We hear it’s hip to meet online these days! 😉

In April, join EMILY KNAPP, ELIZA ROCKEFELLER, and HALL ROCKEFELLER to learn about a colossal Jewish-American literary figure, a Celtic warrior queen, and a revolutionary prison-reform advocate. Presented, respectively, by a museum director-slash-historian, a classicist passionate about very dead ladies, and a director-slash-arts activist.

Free admission, and an ~*important note!*~ If you can, you’re welcome and encouraged to donate what you would have paid for a drink or two to the KGB Bar/Red Room, which has been affected by NYC’s mandated business closures and has been hit hard financially. They are distributing 30% of all donations directly to employees. Alternatively, you can buy drink tickets to use when the bar reopens (whenever normal life returns, blessed be the day!)—just specify “drink tickets for DLS” in your donation note.

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EMMA LAZARUS, though now most famous for her poem “The New Colossus,” an excerpt of which is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, was both a consequential literary figure and activist for Jewish causes. She spoke out against anti-Semitism and waves of pogroms. In her short 38 years, she produced some of the most recognized and relevant prose of the 20th century.

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BOUDICCA (aka Boudica, Boudicea, or Boadicea) is perhaps one of the least popularized revolt leaders in Roman history. Celtic queen of the Iceni people in the 1st century CE, Boudicca led a deleterious revolt against the Roman Empire—yes, that Roman Empire—in the year 60/61 CE. Her story has been primarily bequeathed to us by two distinctly male and Roman voices (Tacitus and Cassius Dio), neither of whom were present during the revolt. The intense inherent bias of her biographers notwithstanding, she was a fierce warrior, who fought to protect her lands and people from the tight grasp of Roman rule.

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ELIZABETH FRY earned her place on the British £5 note through her revolutionary prison reform advocacy and activism in the early 19th century. She kept extensive and revealing diaries throughout her life, but her best known writing came in the form of an exposé-style book entitled Prisons in Scotland and the North of England. Fry invited members of the British nobility to spend nights with her in prison to reveal the conditions and encourage political action and founded the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate.

About your presenters:

ANNIE POLLAND is the director of the American Jewish Historical Society in New York and co-author of Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration.

CAROLINE KNAPP is a lover of the ancient world, languages, and ice cream. Unlike Boudicca, she has not spearheaded a revolt against an invading foreign army to protect her beloved homeland…yet…

LEIA SQUILLACE is a Virginia-born, Brooklyn-based theatre director, arts activist, criminal justice reform advocate, and baker.

Podcast #31: Alexandra Kollontai

Welcome to episode 31, in which Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire talks about Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai. She was present at the Copenhagen Second Congress of Socialist Women in 1910, where she voted for the introduction of International Women’s Day. Kollontai worked hard to promote women’s interests in the early Soviet Union, often a losing battle. And she had some exciting ideas about love in the new society.

Here it is, introduced and produced by Susan Stone for your enlightenment and enjoyment:

Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. You can find the transcript here.
Show notes:
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Katy’s favourite pic, Kollontai (centre) at the Congress of the Peoples of the East, Baku 1920
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Young Alexandra
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Rabotnitsa, or The Woman Worker, 1923
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Kollontai as a Soviet ambassador
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With medals
For further reading, Katy recommends Cathy Porter’s excellent Alexandra Kollontai, A Biography, which gives a lot of helpful background information. And if you read German, Barbara Kirchner’s edition of Kollontai’s Autobiographie einer sexuell emanzipierten Kommunistin.

 

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in April. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund our work.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Dead Ladies Show NYC #15

As you may know, our fearless DLS NYC leader Molly is having a baby, and handing off her duties to a new set of hosts each month. If you didn’t know: Surprise! Molly is having a baby! But even as new ladies are born, dead ladies continue to inspire and challenge us all, and so DLS continues.

In March, join HELEN O’HARE and MARY KATE SKEHAN to celebrate three women from the past: a legendary Broadway actress, the “mother of forensic science,” and a wildly inventive feminist science fiction writer.

You know the drill: 7–9pm in the Red Room at KGB Bar (85 E 4th Street, at Second Avenue). Doors will open a little after 6:30pm. Come all the way upstairs (two flights) and BYO food if you’re peckish!

Our NYC show is free to attend, ~ * but * ~ we do have a bar minimum to meet: please plan to buy a couple drinks to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB’s RED ROOM.

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ELAINE STRITCH (1925-2014) was an actress and singer known for her work on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in 1946 and continued to appear on stage and screen nearly all her life–most recently as Jack Donaghy’s mother on 30 Rock, a role for which she won an Emmy. Stritch is best known for her unforgettable performances in Stephen Sondheim musicals, particularly Company. She continues to be emulated–and occasionally parodied–in pop culture today, from The Simpsons to Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

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FRANCES GLESSNER LEE (1878-1962) is known as the “mother of forensic science.” She’s most famous for creating the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, 20 true crime scene dioramas recreated in minute detail at dollhouse scale, used to train homicide investigators to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.” Eighteen are still in use today. Lee became the first female police captain in the United States, and also helped to establish the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard. Her work revolutionized the emerging field of homicide investigation.

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JOANNA RUSS (1937-2011) was a writer, academic, and radical socialist feminist. She is the author of works of science fiction, fantasy, and feminist literary criticism, including the polemic How to Supress Women’s Writing, the book-length study of modern feminism What Are We Fighting For?, and the utopian novel The Female Man.

About your presenters:
LAURA PITTENGER is a playwright and director living in Astoria. Her work has been seen at FringeNYC, Athena Theatre, Project Y, The Playwrights’ Center, The Tank, Brooklyn College’s GI60 Festival, The Sheen Center, and more.
DANIELLE DIETERICH is an editor at Penguin Random House, where she acquires thriller, suspense, and commercial women’s fiction.
B. D. MCCLAY is a writer and editor at The Hedgehog Review. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Outline, The Baffler, The Week, Commonweal, and more.

Podcast #30: Emma Goldman

Episode 30! Can you believe it? For a little inspiration in these grim political times, podcast producer & presenter Susan Stone chooses a brand spanking new presentation from Dead Ladies Show co-founder Florian Duijsens. 
Our other dear co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins in on the comfy couch to introduce the fabulous Emma Goldman. This anarchist philosopher, activist, and writer was determined, persistent, and sure in her convictions. Which, duly, got her convicted. Often called Red Emma, she’s surely no true role model, but a heck of a lot of fun to learn about. 
Susan and Katy also talk about the inaugural Emma Goldman Awards that just took place in Vienna, and provide some rather poppy musical inspiration. 
Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. And you can find the transcript here.
Show notes:
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Here’s the Goldman family in the bad old days.

Emma Goldman

Mugshots

Emma in the media

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In Russia with Sasha Berkmann
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And here’s Audré Lorde in that T-shirt on the lake.
You might also like to watch the film about John Reed and Louise Bryant, which features Emma, REDS. But do make sure you set aside three hours and fifteen minutes…
For further reading, there’s Emma’s autobiography Living My Life, available in full online at The Anarchist Library, or abridged from Penguin Classics.
And Florian recommends books by Vivian Gornick, Candace Falk, and Sharon Rudahl.

For revolutionary dancing purposes, there is Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Enjoy!

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in March. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Dead Ladies Show #25

Our new season is built around outstanding Berlin writers who share stories of awe-inspiring women who’ve fascinated them and influenced their work. On February 11, show number 25 – our silver anniversary! – brings you three women who wrote radical things in difficult times: an eroticist, an anti-authoritarian, and an anarchist. Presented by the multi-talented writer and translator SASKIA VOGEL, Vogue model, journalist, teacher, activist, and writer ANNETT GRÖSCHNER, and your beloved co-host FLORIAN DUIJSENS. All held together by your other firm favorite KATY DERBYSHIRE. Come on up to the ACUD Studio for an evening of entertainment, inspiration, and intimate information.

Presented in a messy mixture of English and German. €5 or €3 reduced entry. Once again generously supported by the Berliner Senat. Doors open 7:30pm – come on time to get a good seat and a good drink!

Rut_Hillarp

RUT HILLARP was a Swedish Modernist poet and erotic genius (as her biographer put it). She was also an experimental filmmaker, photographer, teacher, diarist, and novelist. Born in 1914 to a hardware dealer and an evangelist mother, and dying by suicide in 2003, she’s been called a grande dame of the Swedish women’s movement. After a rich life of writing, traveling, dancing, and taking love and sex seriously while teaching languages to high schoolers, she was discovered by a new generation in 1991: her work exhibited at the Stockholm national gallery, asked to design album covers, she even had her poems set to pop music. One of her key themes was the difficulties of sexual relationships in a male-dominated society. Saskia Vogel is her translator into English.

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The writer HELGA M. NOVAK was born in Berlin and grew up in the GDR. In 1961 she moved to Iceland, where she married, had two children, and got divorced. She made cathode-ray tubes, salted herring, and carpets, but also travelled to France, Spain, and the USA. After returning to East Germany to study creative writing, she was stripped of her citizenship for distributing copies of her critical texts and exiled. Always an outsider, she wrote poetry criticizing the East German state from the left, then autobiographical novels and nature poems. Wanting to move back in 2004, Novak was considered an unemployed foreigner and was initially refused a German residence permit. She managed it in the end.

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EMMA GOLDMAN was an anarchist philosopher, activist, and writer. After emigrating from Russia to America at a young age in 1885, she helped plan a (failed) assassination, distributed information on birth control, and campaigned against conscription – until the Americans deported her to revolution-era Russia. Quickly disillusioned by its repression of independent thought, she left the Soviet Union in 1923 and wrote about the experience, as well as a two-volume autobiography. Her writing and lectures covered topics as undying as atheism, free speech, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. And yes, it’s “Red Emma” on that poster/mug/T-shirt saying: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.” It’s not a direct quote, but it’s not wrong either.

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Podcast #29: Zora Neale Hurston

Episode 29 presents a giant of the Harlem Renaissance: writer, anthropologist and zombie finder Zora Neale Hurston!

Zora may be best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, but her love of adventure and willingness to re-write her own biography are sure to delight fans old and new.

Writer and scholar Fatin Abbas tells Zora’s tale from the stage in ACUD, and Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins podcast producer and presenter Susan Stone to put things in motion.

Also available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. And you can find the transcript here.

Show notes:

You can read more about Zora’s remarkable hometown Eatonville here.

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Photograph of Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, & Jessie Fauset, 1927

Enjoy this rare fieldwork footage Zora shot, which a kind Youtuber has paired with recordings of her voice!

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Abache and Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis were among the last group of Africans forcibly transported to the United States aboard the slave ship Clotilde. Zora told Cudjoe’s life story in Barracoon, published only very recently.
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Zora’s photograph of “zombie” Felicia Felix-Mentor

The books Fatin recommends are these: Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd, and Zora’s own Dust Tracks on a Road. You can listen to more of her ethnographic recordings (and her singing!) here, and here’s that Lithub story about her role in the first Black baby doll.

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Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in February. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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