Dead Ladies Show NYC #8

You are cordially invited to the eighth DLS NYC, now on a new day and in a slightly different location!!!!!!!!!!

Please join us in the RED ROOM at the KGB Bar on MONDAY, June 3, from 7–9pm.

The Red Room is one floor up from our previous location; it is bigger, for your viewing pleasure! More space for you and your friends! Monday is two days before our usual day of Wednesday!

You knew this day was coming—I’ll be taking the stage with a presentation of my own, in addition to hosting! In addition to *ahem* myself, I am very pleased to be joined by numbers gal extraordinaire LIZ KRANE and artistic architect DARBY KLINE. We will respectively be presenting a civil rights pioneer, the original Tony (just in time for the Tony Awards), and a transformative textile artist.

Free admission: please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB’s RED ROOM.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

FRANCES ELLEN WATKINS HARPER (1825–1911) was one of the most prominent African-American intellectuals of the nineteenth century, writing poetry and speaking publicly against slavery alongside such famous names as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Frederick Douglass. After abolition, her commitment to equal rights, rather than prioritizing women’s rights (read: middle-class white women’s rights), put her at odds with Stanton and Anthony. Her view: “We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul.”

Antoinette Perry

ANTOINETTE PERRY (1888–1946) was a stage actress, director, and producer; an activist and wartime leader; and the namesake of The Tony Awards. Called to the theatre, she rejected societal expectations and brushed aside health setbacks to become the first successful female director in the industry and devote her life to the theatre’s community and future. She served as the president of the National Experimental Theatre, financed the work of new playwrights, operated the Stage Door Canteen, and founded the Theatre Wing of Allied Relief, which survives to this day as the American Theatre Wing.

Anni Albers

ANNI ALBERS (1899–1994) quietly transformed the ancient and ubiquitous craft of weaving into a category of fine art. Informed by her studies at The Bauhaus School and her travels throughout Mexico and South America, Anni experimented on the loom using raw materials and a profound structural understanding of textiles as her guide. In 1949, she became the first textile artist to have a solo show at MoMA. Her expertise in theory and history led Anni to link thinking and making in her teaching, drawing, and writing.

About your presenters:

MOLLY O’LAUGHLIN KEMPER is a writer, translator, and editor. She hosts a little thing called the DEAD LADIES SHOW each month in New York City—maybe you’ve heard of it?

LIZ KRANE works with Galbraith + Company as a production accountant for Broadway and touring shows. Much like her Dead Lady, Antoinette Perry, she finds relaxation in numbers.

DARBY KLINE is an architect who experiments through textiles. She seeks inspiration from courageous women past and present, especially those who use their design education in non-traditional ways.

Dead Ladies Show NYC #7

Lucky number seven! Also, a tale of two Flor(e/y)nces (and a Muriel). Please join us at the KGB Bar (on Labor Day, how appropriate) for the DLS NYC on Wednesday, May 1, from 7-9pm PER USUAL!

I am excited to welcome to the stage Victoria-sponge enthusiast KRISTINA MCCLENDON, well-meaning library absconder SHEILA ENRIGHT, and historical-conversational igniter DEBORAH STREAHLE to present—respectively—a radical Victorian reporter, a literary Dame (and we do mean Dame), and a powerful black feminist lawyer in pink sunglasses. All to be gently nudged along by your host, MOLLY O’LAUGHLIN KEMPER.

Free admission; please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

Florence Dixie

Lady FLORENCE DIXIE (1855–1905) was a radical Victorian writer, adventurer, activist, and feminist. As the first female war correspondent to be appointed by a British newspaper, Dixie covered the ongoing conflict during the first Boer War. A prolific writer, she published books, articles, and essays describing her travels across South America and South Africa, adventure stories for children, and several works reflecting her commitment to women’s emancipation and other political causes.

Muriel Spark

Dame MURIEL SPARK was a poet, novelist, editor, and biographer. Born in Scotland in 1918, she moved to Africa at 19, only to flee the continent and her abusive marriage during WWII. Returning to England, she joined the intelligence service, and after the war became a secretary, trade writer, and literary editor, ultimately publishing her first book at the age of 39 after her conversion to Catholicism. Spark went on to write more than 20 novels, as well as poems, plays, biographies, essays, and a memoir – and is considered one of the most ingenious writers of the twentieth century.

Florynce Kennedy

Black feminist radical FLORYNCE KENNEDY (1916–2000) was known for her flamboyant activism, media savvy, and strategic lawyering on behalf of oppressed people. A leader in the Black Power movement and an influential second wave feminist, Kennedy’s witty and incisive critiques of the establishment cemented her reputation as “[t]he biggest, loudest and, indisputably, the rudest mouth on the battleground,” according to People magazine in 1974. Kennedy founded cross-movement coalitions, organized intersectional protests, and fought for justice in court on behalf of the Black Panthers and women’s reproductive autonomy—all while wearing her distinctive cowboy hat, pink sunglasses, and false eyelashes.

About your presenters:

KRISTINA MCCLENDON holds an MA in Victorian Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London and currently works at NYU. She has a room of her own in New York’s only nobly-named borough (Queens) and can usually be found perfecting her Victoria sponge.

SHEILA ENRIGHT is a writer/editor at Carnegie Corporation of New York. When not neglecting to return her library books, she can usually be found thrifting in the nearest Goodwill.

DEBORAH STREAHLE is currently a PhD student at Yale University where she studies the history of health care and alternative medicine in the U.S. Her goal is to spark conversations about neglected histories. One of her favorite Flo quotes is, “We’ve got to stop sucking and begin to bite.”

Dead Ladies Show NYC #6

Please join me for the sixth edition of the DLS NYC (whaaaatt?!? time flies when you’re giving new life to dead ladies!), on Wednesday, 10 April, from 7:00–9:00pm at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street).

This Show brings us a gender-bending actor, a controversial thinker, and a multitalented inventor. Presented by feminist PhD candidate DANIELLE DREES, fearless educator MONICA LEIER, and forward-thinking obituarist AMY PADNANI. Facilitated per usual by your friendly host, MOLLY O’LAUGHLIN KEMPER.

Free admission; please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

Mary Frith

MARY FRITH / MOLL CUTPURSE (circa 1584–1659) is quite possibly the only woman to appear onstage in Shakespeare’s day. She broke the law by dressing as a man and performing in a public theatre when only men were allowed to be actors—and she was, in turn, immortalized in a play, a pulp fiction biography, and hundreds of years of research on gender, sexuality, and why women want to wear pants. In a time when few women had public voices and terms like “genderqueer” were still 400 years in the future, Frith thoroughly confused her contemporaries and loosened up gender a little for the rest of us.

Hannah Arendt

HANNAH ARENDT (1906–1975) was one of the greatest thinkers of her time…OR EVER. Though she studied philosophy, she rejected the title of philosopher and instead described herself as a political theorist, if even that. This nasty woman is best known for her coverage of the Nuremberg Trials and her controversial writing and teaching about concepts including power, violence, evil, and political action.

Bessie Blount Griffin

BESSIE BLOUNT GRIFFIN (1914–2009) was a nurse, wartime inventor and forensic handwriting analyst best known for inventing an early version of the feeding tube. It all started with one remarkable skill she took on as an act of defiance when she was 7: She taught herself to write with her teeth and her toes.

About your presenters:

DANIELLE DREES is a PhD candidate at Columbia University, where she studies performance, feminism, and labor, and a proud member of GWC-UAW 2110, a union for graduate workers.

MONICA LEIER is an educator in Brooklyn and incorporates Arendt’s teachings into her 5th grade History classes.

AMY PADNANI is an obituaries editor at the New York Times and the creator of the “Overlooked” series, which tells the stories of remarkable women (like Bessie) whose death was never noted by the newspaper.

 

Dead Ladies Show NYC #5

We’re kicking off WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH in style with the DEAD LADIES SHOW!

This, our fifth go-round, will occur on Wednesday, 6 March, from 7:00-9:00pm at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street).

This time around, we’ll learn about the accomplishments of a Chinese revolutionary, one of the first attorneys of color in the USA, and the first woman of color in Congress. Presented by a dream team of three fifth-grade teachers who are ready to school the patriarchy: MELANIE SABROWSKE, HIAB DEBESSAI, and CLAIRE O’LAUGHLIN. As usual, there will also be a smattering of bad jokes told by your host, MOLLY O’LAUGHLIN KEMPER.

Free admission; please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

Qiu Jin

QIU JIN (1875-1907) was a Chinese feminist, writer, and revolutionary. Throughout her short life, Qiu Jin fought relentlessly for the rights of women, daring to defy her country’s strict patriarchal norms.

Eunice Hunton Carter

EUNICE HUNTON CARTER (1899-1970) was an American lawyer and United Nations committee member. One of the first attorneys of color in the United States, Carter built the case for and developed the strategy to successfully convict infamous mafia kingpin “Lucky” Luciano.

Shirley Chisholm

SHIRLEY CHISHOLM (1924–2005) was an educator, politician and author. A lifelong advocate for the rights of women, children and people of color, she was the first woman of color in Congress—holding her seat as representative from the 12th district of New York for seven terms. She was also the first person of color to run for president of the United States from either of the two major political parties, and the first woman to run as a Democrat.

Last but not least, a quick word about your presenters:

MELANIE SABROWSKE is a middle-school teacher from Voluntown, Connecticut.

HIAB DEBESSAI is an Eritrean-American middle-school teacher, born and raised in Haslett, Michigan.

CLAIRE O’LAUGHLIN is also an educator in Brooklyn and aspires to be like Chisholm in other ways, too, particularly “unbought and unbossed.”

 

Dead Ladies Show NYC #4

What better way to celebrate GALentine’s Day than by celebrating some fascinating, deceased dames!?

The fourth edition of the DEAD LADIES SHOW in NYC draws nigh: it will take place on Wednesday, 13 February, as usual from 7:00-9:00pm at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street).

Free admission; please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

Ida M Tarbell

IDA M. TARBELL, a pioneering investigative journalist, biographer, magazine editor, and lecturer, rose to fame in the early 20th century through her meticulous reporting and fearless pursuit of the truth. She took on John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company – at the time the largest oil refinery in the world – and exposed it as an illegal monopoly, leading to its dissolution. Throughout her lifetime, she authored twenty books, lectured in forty-eight states, and served on two Presidential committees. Perplexingly, this groundbreaking woman was also an outspoken anti-suffragette.

Martha Graham

MARTHA GRAHAM is arguably the single most important figure in American modern dance. Born in 1894, she pioneered a movement style, based on the principle of contraction and release, that is regarded as the first codified modern dance technique. She choreographed a total of 181 dances, collaborating with the likes of composer Aaron Copland and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, addressing social, political, and psychological themes, and consistently portraying powerful women, both mythical and historical. The first dancer to perform at the White House and travel as a cultural ambassador, her influence is evident in cultural icons as wide-ranging as Merce Cunningham and Madonna.

Doreen Valiente

Long before Instagram hyped witchcraft as aesthetic and feminist, DOREEN VALIENTE (1922-99) paved the way. Lauded as the Mother of Modern Witchcraft, she invigorated the Wiccan ‘revival’ in 1950s England and worked to make the defining texts of the religion more sacred and beautiful. Many key spells of Gardnerian Wicca benefit from her serious revisions. She joined and created several covens and became a witch historian in order to better understand and dispell misconceptions about Wicca. Doreen was a complicated and often contradictory woman whose struggles underpin much of the problems facing Wicca today.

Last but not least, a quick word about your presenters:

JENNIE YOUNG CARR is a merchandise planner (aka Excel geek) and amateur history buff.

NINA STOLLER-LINDSEY is an arts-focused writer and content strategist. She’s written about high art, popular culture, and everything in between for Quartz, The Atlantic, Forbes, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Thrillist, Refinery29, and Mic. A former modern dancer-choreographer, she’s interested in bringing the arts to more diverse audiences and currently runs social media for TodayTix, a global ticketing platform connecting people to live performances around the world.
CLAIRE CARROLL is a writer and marketer from the Hudson Valley. As practicing herbalist and magical realist, she cares deeply about the texts and myths that underpin faith.

Dead Ladies Show NYC #3

I am very pleased to present the third edition of the DEAD LADIES SHOW in NYC, coming at you on Wednesday, 2 January, from 7:00-9:00pm at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street).

We’ll be kicking off the New Year in style, with presentations about a radical suffragist, a forward-thinking sculptor, and a former sex worker turned activist. Presented by socialist feminist biologist ALEXANDRA WALLING, female-artist-focused critic HALL W. ROCKEFELLER, and editor extraordinaire BRIA SANDFORD, with the occasional interjection by your host, MOLLY O’LAUGHLIN. Join us as we greet 2019 with a dose of Dead Ladies—good for the body and soul.

Free admission; please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

Sylvia Pankhurst

SYLVIA PANKHURST was an artist, suffragette, communist, anti-fascist, pacifist, newspaper editor, and tireless crusader for justice. A co-founder of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, she soon abandoned the bourgeois organization to focus on poor, working women and advocate for pacifism during WWI; after the war, she became a communist and avowed anti-fascist. In 1944, Pankhurst helped found Ethiopia’s first teaching hospital, and she later moved to the country as a guest of the Emperor. When she died in 1960, she was given a state funeral and burial in Addis Ababa’s Holy Trinity church—the only foreigner ever awarded such an honor.

Eva Hesse

Artist EVA HESSE survived the Holocaust, but succumbed to brain cancer thirty-one years later, which is the textbook definition of unfair. Despite this, she made more of her thirty-four years on Earth than most people make of lifetimes double that length. She changed the way art is made forever (how many people can say that?), pioneering the movement that would become known as post-minimalism. She made simple sculptures whose structures belied the chaos within, captivating the art world by the time she was in her late twenties. Eva Hesse may be the most important sculptor of the 20th century. (No, this writer does not consider Duchamp a sculptor, and yes, she did consider Rodin for this distinction.)

Andrea Dworkin

Radical feminist ANDREA DWORKIN is somewhat inaccurately famous for claiming, “all sex is rape,” but the arguments she actually made in the 1970s-1990s were no less controversial. When she crusaded against male dominance and domestic violence in the 1970s through 1990s, conservatives mocked her for being anti-man. When she campaigned unsuccessfully against pornography, liberals vilified her as puritanical and prudish. Yet Dworkin would not be silenced. Drawing on her personal experience as a sex worker and as a survivor of rape, she made it her business to speak, even to shout, on behalf of all abused women in a way that still echoes today.

Last but not least, a quick word about your presenters:

ALEXANDRA WALLING is a PhD student in Comparative Biology, where she studies microbial evolution. When she is not pursuing her studies, she organizes with the Socialist Feminist Working Group of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America.

HALL W. ROCKEFELLER is an art historian and critic. She is the founder of less than half, a website that covers female artists in New York City, including exhibition reviews and interviews with practicing female artists. Visit lessthanhalf.org to subscribe to the newsletter.
BRIA SANDFORD is an editor at Penguin Random House.

Dead Ladies Show NYC #2

It is with great pleasure we invite you to the sophomore outing of the DEAD LADIES SHOW in NYC, back by popular demand! Please join us at the KGB Bar on Wednesday, 7 November, from 7:00-9:00pm.

The very special second NYC edition brings you not just your usual three ladies, but an extra bonus LIVING lady as well—we are thrilled to welcome AMY PADNANI to the stage to talk about her superlative NYT series, “Overlooked,” the reading of which has been described by some as akin to attending the Dead Ladies Show, except in the comfort of your own home and far better established.

The incredible women being posthumously presented include a suffragist hiker, a queer star of the Harlem Renaissance, and the first woman to run for U.S. President. The perfect dénouement from Election Day, if you ask us. (Everybody vote!) Presented by editorial guru HELEN RICHARD, rare researcher LIA BOYLE, and your host, MOLLY O’LAUGHLIN. Join us as we raise a glass to these glass-ceiling-shatterers.

Free admission; please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

(N.B.: once up the outside stairs of the building, enter and climb one more flight of stairs, then take a hard right and enter the bar. We are not in the Red Room, which is yet another flight up! We do not need to hike more elevation! We are not all Fanny Bullock Workman!)

Fanny Bullock Workman

An American hiker, cyclist, explorer, geographer, adventurer, and author born in 1859, FANNY BULLOCK WORKMAN was one of the first female professional mountaineers. She and her husband cycled thousands of miles across Europe, Algeria, and India, and were the first Americans to explore the Himalayas in depth. Workman set several women’s altitude records, published eight travel books, insisted on a new precedent for accurate scientific record-keeping, and championed women’s rights and women’s suffrage every step of the way.

Gladys Bentley

GLADYS BENTLEY was a blues singer, pianist and entertainer in the Harlem Renaissance. A Black lesbian, she started her career as a crossdressing pianist and singer at a gay speakeasy called Harry Hansberry’s Clam House, and she was so popular that the club was soon renamed after her. Her combination of musical talent with a raunchy sense of humor and flamboyant queerness wowed audiences of all races and classes. Langston Hughes called her “an amazing exhibition of musical energy…a perfect piece of African sculpture, animated by her own rhythm.”

Victoria Woodhull

Once called “Mrs. Satan,” VICTORIA CLAFLIN WOODHULL was the first woman to run for president—announcing her bid in 1870, 50 years before women had the right to vote. Disowned by the suffragettes for her radical ideas—that women should be able to choose whom they love, that marital rape should be illegal, and that birth control should be widely available—she was far ahead of her time. Among many other achievements, she was the first woman to address a congressional committee and one of the first female brokers on Wall Street.

Helen Richard is an associate editor at G. P. Putnam’s Sons and a moderately aspirational female mountaineer.

Molly O’Laughlin is a writer and translator who recently moved back to NYC from Berlin, Germany.

Lia Boyle studies rare genetic disorders and directs plays in her spare time.

Dead Ladies Show NYC #1

Many of you have heard the good news—one of Berlin’s favorite institutions, the Dead Ladies Show, is coming to NYC! Molly O’Laughlin will be hosting an intimate, informative evening in which we learn about the lives of three deceased, fabulous women from three living—but equally fabulous—presenters. Join us at the KGB Bar on Wednesday, September 5, from 7–9pm.

The time is ripe—dead ladies are all around us, including in the New York Times’s “Overlooked,” a collection of belated obituaries for those non-white men whose contributions to society over the centuries have gone…overlooked. This will be like that, except live, with slideshows (and social drinking).

Bring friends! Bring acquaintances! Bring strangers! No admission this time (yay, first round!); please buy a drink or two to ensure the future of DLS NYC at KGB.

P.S. Got a dead lady you’d like to present in the future? Get in touch! Three rules: 1. Ladies must have been dead at least a year. 2. Ladies must have identified as ladies in their lifetimes. 3. No fascists.

Dorothy Day

DOROTHY DAY was a journalist, social activist, and political radical in New York in the 20th century. During the Great Depression, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist and social justice movement comprised of direct aid for the poor and nonviolent political action on their behalf. The Catholic Worker Movement continues to be active throughout the world. Day is a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Rosalind Franklin

ROSALIND FRANKLIN’s research helped elucidate the structure of DNA, the molecule that determines the growth, development and reproduction of all living things. She was a chemist and an expert in X-ray crystallography, a technique that generates atomic level structures. Her results were essential in Watson & Crick’s final model of DNA, but the data was shared without her consent, even without her knowledge. Franklin turned her attention to studying viruses, visualizing the first viral atomic structures and studying the structure of polio. At age 38, she passed away from ovarian cancer, possibly due to her prolonged research with X-rays. During her lifetime, fellow scientists recognized her valuable work on coal structures and viruses. However, her essential work on DNA was only recently recognized. Now, she’s received many posthumous honors, including having a medical school and an asteroid named after her.

Ann Lowe

ANN LOWE dressed pirate queens, American royalty and silver screen starlets during her career that spanned over 50 years. Born in the south, to a long line of dressmakers, she took over the family business at the age of 16 by designing a gown for the Governor of Alabama’s wife. She worked her way from Alabama to a studio on Madison Avenue. Her work is featured in museums around the country, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Through the course of ELIZEBETH SMITH FRIEDMAN’s life, she went from Quaker schoolteacher in Indiana to master cryptanalyst whose work laid the foundations for the NSA. She went up against Shakespeare conspiracy theorists, rumrunners, and even J. Edgar Hoover. Her work in World War II helped prevent the Nazis from taking over South America, but nearly all of it was a national secret until after her death.

Your presenters:
Mary Kate Skehan has worked in publishing for five years and currently works in marketing at Penguin.

Chioma Madubata will earn her MD/PhD from Columbia in 2019. She studied cancer biology during her PhD. She got her start with dead ladies early, having attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland.

Candace Munroe’s career in fashion has taken her to Gilt, Bloomingdale’s, and Eileen Fisher. Having earned a master’s in business from NYU Stern, she now works at Tommy Hilfiger.

Molly O’Laughlin is a writer and translator who recently moved back to NYC from Berlin, Germany.