Dead Ladies Show #8

Autumn’s arrival brings a fresh abundance of dead ladies to ACUD’s Studio. Join us at 8pm on Tuesday, 20 September for the eighth Dead Ladies Show – this time featuring no fewer than four fascinating women of yesteryear: a pair of American abolitionists, an English avant-garde poet, and a Franco-German photographer. All enthusiastically introduced in German and English by book blogger Sandra Höhne, translator Frances T. Provine, and co-host Katy Derbyshire, with Florian Duijsens at the hosting helm.

Come find out all kinds of things you never realized you wanted, nay, needed to know. Hang out with other dead-lady fans, enjoy the special cocktail available from the bar, show off your favourite headgear, and generally have a rollicking good time while remembering some pretty impressive dames.

We look forward to seeing you there and (in a newsletter-only exclusive) urge you to also pencil in our next edition for 22 November!

Sarah & Angelina Grimké were sisters who rebelled against their slaveholder father in South Carolina. The first female public speakers in the United States during the 1830s, they lectured and wrote against slavery and racial prejudice. In response to the criticism this provoked, the sisters became active feminists. In later life they taught at a school within a utopian community in New Jersey, passing on their principles and knowledge. “All I ask of our brethren,” Sarah Grimké wrote in 1838, “is that they will take their feet from off our necks and permit us to stand upright on that ground which God destined us to occupy.” They also both rather rocked the lace-trimmed day cap.

Edith Sitwell is known as an eccentric genius. Born to uncaring aristocratic parents who would have preferred a boy, she escaped to London and poetry during WWI. She published twenty collections of poems during her lifetime and fostered many other writers and artists, even knitting socks for Alec Guinness. Six foot tall in her own stockinged feet, Sitwell was an imposing figure with a style all her own, including some truly remarkable hats. She was fiercely criticized for her work – a series of poems set to music and recited through a megaphone from behind a mask causing particular ire – but gave as good as she got. With a penchant for gay men and VD sufferers, she may not have had a happy life – but it was certainly not uneventful.

Gisèle Freund took her earliest photos on the streets of Frankfurt as a student of sociology, snapping both Nazis and communists before emigrating to Paris in 1933. Having befriended Walter Benjamin at the Bibliothèque Nationale, she moved into portrait photography, capturing a tangible essence of each of her celebrated subjects. From Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach, to James Joyce, Sartre, and de Beauvoir, she sought out the greats of her time and place, and shot them in relaxed situations on brand-new colour film. In Britain, Latin America, then postwar Paris, she went on working and was heaped with accolades. Freund died in Paris at the age of 91. She was not known for her millinery.