Dead Ladies NYC #22

At this, our twenty-second show (Wednesday, March 29, 7–9pm at the Red Room at KGB Bar), be regaled with the tales of an inventive storyteller and librarian who has had a long-reaching impact on children’s literature; a stylish designer who gives new meaning to the phrase eco-conscious; and a supposed femme fatale who was one of the most maligned women of the 21st century. Presented by three women with a deep love for literature, with a smattering of commentary by your devoted hosts.

In bittersweet news, this will be our last show at the Red Room for the time being before we move to a super-special new venue in May—details to come!


PURA BELPRÉ (1899–1982) was a New York City librarian from 1921 through 1944, during which she ran storytimes and performed puppet shows for children, sharing the folktales she’d grown up with in Puerto Rico. She was an early proponent of diversity and representation in children’s literature, as well as an author of numerous short stories, picture books, essays, and a novel. Today the American Library Association gives the annual Pura Belpré Awards for children’s and young adult literature.

ELIZABETH HAWES (1903–1971) was a gifted American designer, a prolific author, and a vocal labor activist. Over a career spanning five decades, she fought to bring high-quality garments to the masses and championed timeless style over passing trends. Although largely forgotten by the public, Hawes is beloved by fashion historians — in part for her role as an outspoken critic of the garment trade. Several shows are now giving Hawes her due, including Elizabeth Hawes: Along Her Own Lines, the first exhibition centered on her radical re-conceptions of the fashion industry, on view at the Museum at FIT through March 26.

MATA HARI (1876–1917) was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and spy who duped both Germany and France through her liaisons and allegedly brought down 50,000 soldiers during World War I. Although her innocence is contested, her life is a story of great risk and ambition including traveling far and wide, bearing children, forging relationships with high ranking officials, learning several languages, performing Asian dances, and trading secrets as well as gossip on invisible ink! How old was she when this occurred? Did she make it out alive? What happened to her husband and children? You will find out more at The Dead Ladies Show!


Your presenters:

KRISTA AHLBERG is a copyeditor and writer living in Brooklyn. She had an actual bookstore inside her house until she was six, so her fate as a book lover was sealed from an early age.

ANNALISE GALL works for the New York Public Library and is studying textile conservation at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

SYEDA ZAIDI is a Brooklyn resident who loves a good old world scandal, apart from more innocent activities like listening to Latin music, going dancing, and baking for friends. By profession, she is an 11th-grade teacher. She wakes up everyday aiming to teach English and History, but comes home expanding her vocabulary of teen boy slang! Oh, ambition!