Podcast #60: Emmy Noether

For our 60th episode, we bring back the presenter who appeared in our very first podcast episode, writer and translator Karen Margolis. Drawing from her own history in higher mathematics, Karen ably tells the tale of Germany’s Emmy Noether, who developed key theorems in theoretical physics and made important contributions to abstract algebra. Excluded from academic positions in Germany as a woman, she worked unpaid and under other lecturers’ names. Once she was finally allowed to teach in 1919, she had only 14 years until the Nazis banned her from universities, as a Jew. In American exile, she taught at the women’s college Bryn Mawr and occasionally at Princeton, though she felt she was not welcome at “the men’s university, where nothing female is admitted.”  Nowadays, everything from fellowships to a crater on the moon has honored Emmy, so it was clearly our turn to do so. 

DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins producer/host Susan Stone to introduce things. 

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast.

Show notes:

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Podcast 59: Delia Derbyshire

In this episode, we’re going to hear about a woman sometimes called a sculptress of sound —  “the unsung heroine of British electronic music” —  Delia Derbyshire, ably presented by our very own DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire.  

A working-class girl from Coventry, England, Delia studied music and mathematics, and went on to work at the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop. If you’re a SciFi fan, you’ve probably heard one of her best known works — the otherworldly theme tune to the TV show Doctor Who. A true pioneer of pre-synthesizer electronic sounds, Delia created music for more than 200 projects, but remained anonymous due to the BBC’s bureaucratic structures. She also set up studios making electronic music for soundtracks, festivals and theatre productions, until she left the public eye in 1975. 

DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens joins producer Susan to set things up. 

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript, created by Rachel Pronger, here.

Show notes:

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Podcast 58: Berenice Abbott

Welcome to our first podcast of 2023! In this episode, we zoom in on photographer Berenice Abbott. This American artist has a bit of a six-degrees-of separation going on with a number of our previous Dead Ladies, including Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven and Emma Goldman. As told by DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens, Berenice’s story includes stints in Paris and Berlin, falling in love with eligible ladies, and learning photography from Man Ray. She took portraits of various greats, and when she returned to New York she switched to documenting the changing city, resulting in what’s called the “the greatest collection of photographs of New York City ever made.” Later in life she also excelled at scientific photography, taking with her studies of light and motion contributing to the understanding of physical laws and properties of solids and liquids, as she also made innovations in camera technology.

DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins producer Susan Stone to introduce our episode.

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript, created by Rachel Pronger, here.

Show notes:

Read more: Podcast 58: Berenice Abbott
Penicillin mold (1946), as seen in NYPL’s wonderful Treasures exhibition
Portrait of Berenice by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Berenice and Leonora Carrington, various men
Berenice’s newly sophisticated haircut
Man Ray’s Berenice or Baroness?
The only extant photograph of Berenice’s sculpture work
Thelma Wood
Man Ray’s portrait of Proust
Self-portrait with new camera

You cab see Berenice’s image of a Central Park Hooverville here, and read more about her MoMA mural here.

Elizabeth McCausland (aka Butchy) looking adoringly at Gertrude Stein
Glorious Penn Station
The NYPL has all of their Changing New York images up for your perusal, and you read McCausland’s original captions in Sarah M. Miller’s Documentary in Dispute.
Photographer Douglas Levere went back to the exact sites of Berenice’s pictures decades later, showing how much New York had changed again.

You can watch the full PBS doc The Quantum Universe at Archive.org and learn more about Berenice’s inventions like the Supersight camera here.

Bubbles!
Berenice’s final portrait
Do watch Martha Wheelock & Kay Weaver’s Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century!
Muriel Rukeyser’s eye, for more on their collaboration, read Rowena Kennedy-Epstein’s Unfinished Spirit
Muriel Rukeyser’s Twentieth Century
.

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

Podcast 58: Ruth Asawa

It’s our final podcast of 2022!

DLS co-founders Florian Duijsens and Katy Derbyshire join producer Susan Stone to toast the holiday season, chat about this year’s good news in Dead Ladies, and to introduce our featured Dead Lady, artist Ruth Asawa. 

Born to Japanese parents on a farm in California, Ruth Asawa first developed her artistic tendencies tracing shapes in the dirt. When her family was interned during World War II by the US government (along with thousands of US citizens with Japanese heritage, following the bombing of US military base Pearl Harbor by the Japanese) her life was put on hold, but she made opportunity where she could find it. When she was prevented from becoming a teacher by anti-Japanese prejudice and laws, she studied art and became a sculptor, often weaving cheap found material and wire. Her public artworks and her art education advocacy made her chosen home city, San Francisco, a more beautiful place, and her sculptures are now auctioned for millions, and exhibited around the world. 

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript, created by Rachel Pronger, here.

Show notes:

Continue reading “Podcast 58: Ruth Asawa”

Podcast 57: Angela Carter

To kick off Season 6 of our podcast, writer Leon Craig brings us the story of award-winning English author Angela Carter. Known for her feminist, gothic, and erotic sensibilities and for re-inventing folk and fairy tales with her now seminal collection The Bloody Chamber, Carter’s life had quite a few plot twists of its own. In her 51 years she wrote nine novels, five short story collections, several children’s books, and countless essays and articles. She also collected quite a few lovers after awakening from a stifling marriage, harvesting them first from her social circle and friends’ husbands, then later more randomly during her two years living in Japan. Shortly after her death from cancer, Angela Carter received a strong wave of recognition, and her writing is now taught to generations of British school kids.

Our presenter Leon Craig has received more than a few comparisons to Carter for her own debut story collection, Parallel Hells, which is now out in paperback from Sceptre Books. At the White Review, you can read that collection’s “Lick the Dust,” which was selected for Best British Short Stories 2022 . Leon can be found at www.leoncraigwriter.com and on Twitter @Leon_c_c.

This episode, DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins producer/host Susan Stone to introduce the episode and talk more about writers Carter and Craig.

Also available on SpotifyApple PodcastsRadioPublicPocket CastsStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.

Show notes:

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Podcast 56: Mae West

Courtesy of our pals at DLS NYC, we meet the first meta sex symbol: Mae West. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Mae was brazen, buxom, bawdy, sensational, and sexy. She was known for her husky voice, risqué performances, and double entendres that slipped past the film censors. With over 70 years in show business on both stage and screen, she scandalized the world of entertainment in a time when women were expected to sit on the sidelines. But, as Mae West would tell you, “goodness had nothing to do with it.”

DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens joins producer Susan Stone to introduce our featured Dead Lady.

Artist, lecturer, researcher, and self-described ‘professional eccentric’ JR Pepper tells Mae’s story; you can find out more about JR here.

DLS NYC is curated and hosted by Molly O’Laughlin Kemper, and was recorded by Jennifer Nulsen, all under the auspices of the KGB Bar’s Lori Schwarz.

If you’re in the NY area, why not sign up for their newsletter so you can find out when the next show will be? Find it here.

You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.

Show notes:

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Podcast 55: Virginia Andrews

This episode was recorded at the second-ever PodFest Berlin, a local two-day event full of workshops, networking, free ice cream, and live tapings from podcasts in various languages, including one from us. 

Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire and podcast producer/host Susan Stone were there for a mini DLS, and took turns hosting and presenting bilingually in German and English in front of a small but perfectly formed audience. 

In this episode, we hear Susan tell the story of Virginia Andrews. Better known as V.C. Andrews, this blockbusting American author probably launched the sexual curiosities of generations of teens and pre-teens — for better or worse. Her psychological horror/romance books, starting with 1979’s bestselling Flowers in the Attic, were banned in school districts and libraries, but earned millions internationally. The tale of children held captive by an evil grandmother was sadly somewhat mirrored in Virginia’s own reclusive, highly controlled life. 

Though she was disabled by a medical condition from her teen years on, Virginia supported her family through her artwork and writing. After her death, a prolific ghostwriter was appointed to continue books under her name, but her legacy really endures on the strength of her original seven bestsellers, which merged classic fairy tale themes with contemporary issues of trauma and abuse.  

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

You can download the transcript, created by Susan Stone, here.

Show notes:

Continue reading “Podcast 55: Virginia Andrews”

Podcast 54: Memphis Minnie

In this Episode, we drop in on our New York-based sister spinoff show, DLS NYC, which returned to the KGB Bar’s Red Room after a long hiatus. DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens happened to be visiting from Berlin, and took to the stage to introduce the fabulous Memphis Minnie. 

Tobacco-chewing blues singer MEMPHIS MINNIE (1897–1973) ran away from home at the age of 13 and made a living off music from then on, from street performances supplemented by prostitution to hundreds of now classic recordings. It was said she never put her guitar down until she could no longer hold it in her hands, and she was known to use it as a weapon when required. Her songs were about the joys and hardships of everyday black life; according to the poet Langston Hughes, she played “music with so much in it folks remember, that sometimes it makes them holler out loud.” Largely forgotten for many years while white men covered her songs, she is now celebrated for her huge contribution to blues music and what came after. 

Embed from Getty Images

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

You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.

Show notes:

Continue reading “Podcast 54: Memphis Minnie”

Podcast #53: Eva Crane

In this buzz-worthy episode, DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire (and translator) brings us the story of leading bee scientist Eva Crane. Born to humble beginnings, Eva obtained a PhD in nuclear physics but quickly shifted her attention from atoms to apiculture. She travelled the world to document all things bees, and was particularly interested in the relationship between bees and humans, including the long history of human honey cultivation.

Amateur bee enthusiast (and producer/host) Susan Stone is joined by other DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens for the introducing honors.

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

You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.

Show notes:

Read more: Podcast #53: Eva Crane
The Crane family vehicle, with Eva chilling in the back
Eva smiling mischievously at the front right
A shiny Morris 8
Apicultural delights from the 1940s (for Susan and all other bee enthusiasts)
Eva’s HQ in Hull, note the blue plaque!
Bee World! Find more on this publication’s history at IBRA’s website
Eva in a special Georgian beekeeping hat! Check out many more pictures of here travels at the Eva Crane Trust.
The Crane sisters (in the middle) dressed to the nines
Eva, aged 74, casually abseiling for science

Katy recommends these two books if you want to learn more about Eva Crane: Eva Crane: Bee Scientist, edited by her colleagues, Penelope Walker and Richard Jones, and of course, Crane’s own Making a Bee-line. The Eva Crane Trust’s site is also indispensable for information about Crane and bees.

As promised, here’s one of Susan’s videos of some Bee-rliner bees.

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon. Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode next month.

Podcast #52: Katherine Mansfield

In this episode we’ll be hearing from the multi-talented Hinemoana Baker. Hinemoana hails from New Zealand, she is a writer and musician of Māori and Pākehā heritage; here, she presents her reflections on the life of another New Zealand writer — Katherine Mansfield. Mansfield was a very influential modernist writer, who left New Zealand for Europe at the age of 19, and hung out with Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and the Bloomsbury Group gang, including her “wife,” writer Ida Baker. Mansfield is called by some the Godmother of the Short Story in the English language, and she wrote a great many in her tragically short life. 

DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins producer/host Susan Stone to introduce an episode full of personal reflections, music, and poetry.  

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

You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.

Continue reading “Podcast #52: Katherine Mansfield”