Show number 18 brings you another three pioneering movers and shakers, women who forged paths, saved lives, and changed history: a ground-breaking scientist, a feminist activist, and a film icon. Brought to you by professor and migrant mothering expert Agata Lisiak, award-winning language-juggling poet Uljana Wolf, and regular Florian Duijsens. All held together, of course, by your beloved co-host Katy Derbyshire. Raise a glass of something cool with us – as we celebrate three women who altered the way we see the world in the ACUD Studio on Tuesday, 11 September at 8 pm.
Presented in a messy mixture of English and German. €5 or €3 reduced entry. Still generously supported by the Berliner Senat. Doors open 7:30 pm – come on time to get a good seat and a good drink!
MARIE SKŁODOWSKA CURIE is the only woman to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences: physics and chemistry. She started her training at a clandestine university in her native Poland before moving to Paris. For her marriage to Pierre Curie, she wore a dark blue outfit that she later used in their laboratory, a converted shed. Exposed to the elements – both cold weather and uranium – she carried out pioneering research on radioactivity. In fact, she literally invented the word, and also discovered polonium and radium. Her mobile X-ray units were used to treat over a million soldiers in WWI. Her death was probably caused by long-term exposure to radiation. Despite her achievements, Marie Curie was unpopular in France, and she turned down a Legion of Honour award. Still, Paris more recently named a Metro station and a research centre after her, put her on a banknote, and turned her former lab into a museum.
BERTHA PAPPENHEIM was an Austrian-Jewish feminist who founded the Jüdischer Frauenbund in Germany and set up many charitable institutions for Jewish women and children, providing “protection for those needing protection and education for those needing education.” While being treated for “hysteria” as a young woman, she invented free association (and was immortalized as Freud’s “Anna O.”); her doctor made her worse rather than better and she later refused psychoanalytic treatment for anyone in her care. She worked against trafficking of women, speaking out about Jewish women’s position: “Under Jewish law a woman is not an individual, not a personality; she is only judged and assessed as a sexual being.” In 1934 she brought a group of orphanage children safely from Germany to the UK. Bertha Pappenheim wrote poetry, plays, novellas, and translations, including of Mary Wollstonecraft.
ANNA MAY WONG is considered the first Chinese-American Hollywood star. Born and raised in California, she began acting at 14, then left high school to go into silent movies. Soon tiring of all the interesting Asian parts going to white actors, while she played stereotyped roles – “Lotus Flower”, “Honky-Tonk Girl”, “Tiger Lily”, “Mongolian Slave”, “A Flower of the Orient”, etc. – Anna May left for Europe in 1928. Greeted as a star in Berlin, she at least got to play women who didn’t die as part of the plot. She made friends with Marlene Dietrich (and Leni Riefenstahl) and gave a revealing interview to Walter Benjamin. After her triumphant return to the States, Anna May Wong finally got leading Hollywood roles – but by far not all the ones she wanted, with racism continuing to affect her career and her private life. Kino Arsenal recently screened a retrospective, and prizes in her name are awarded for excellence in film and in fashion design.