Podcast #34: Willa Muir

In Episode 34, we’re once more in Muenster as guests of the Burg Hülshoff Centre for Literature, which happens to be named after a Dead Lady poet, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff! This time around, we’ll get introduced to Willa Muir, a prolific translator who brought Kafka into English for the first time. Born on a small Scottish island, she was eyewitness to some of Europe’s most important moments. She worked in tandem with her husband Edwin, who somehow managed to get all the credit… Presented by our co-founder Katy Derbyshire, also featuring Florian Duijsens, and produced and introduced by producer Susan Stone.

Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. You can download the transcript here.

Show notes:

Here’s Willa’s portrait by Nigel McIsaac, held by National Galeries Scotland

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And this is the editorial board of her college journal, with Willa probably at the front, but possibly at the back.

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The racy cover of Willa and Edwin’s very first translation

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And all four of “their” Kafka books

Edwin, Gavin, Willa and cat at home

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Two books of Willa’s own writing

You can hear Willa’s lovely voice talking about Edwin at the London Review of Books’ The Space. And there’s more about Willa Muir’s writing at Scottish PEN’s very well named Dangerous Women Project.

For those now hooked on Kafka translating content, we strongly recommend Michelle Woods’ book Kafka Translated, which also has a lot of material about Willa.

If you understand German and want to listen to a three-minute podcast about our show in Münster, the Lesebürger*innen have exactly what you need!
 
The center’s online audio platform is called DROSTE FM.
 
Their online Droste festival is happening right now, so German-speaking lovers of modern-day takes on dead lady poets can dig right in. And non-German-speaking music-lovers can check out their accompanying Spotify playlists.
 
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Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in July. Don’t forget, we now have a Patreon! Please consider supporting our transcripts project and our ongoing work: www.patreon.com/deadladiesshowpodcast

If you’d prefer to make a one-time donation, here’s the link: paypal.me/dlspodcast

Podcast #33: Dorothy L. Sayers

Episode 33 takes us virtually to Muenster as guests of the Burg Hülshoff Centre for Literature, which happens to be named after a Dead Lady poet, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff! However, we’re here to talk about mystery queen Dorothy L. Sayers.
Dorothy, or DLS, as she preferred to be called, is probably best known for her crime novels featuring posh amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey. But she also gave us an impressive English translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, much loved to this day. Something of a child prodigy, she learned Latin at six and studied at Oxford before women were actually awarded degrees. She made an early living in advertising and later wrote essays on both Christian and feminist subjects, including the fabulously titled “Are Women Human?” All this while publishing sixteen detective novels, plus numerous plays and short stories, and leading what might best be called a turbulent private life.
Dead Ladies Show co-founder Florian Duijsens unravels the complicated plot of her life, as other co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins host & producer Susan Stone to set the stage. 
Show notes:
Here are Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Florian doing his thing, and that chandelier…

A young Dorothy in drag

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Dorothy and Eric the skull
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Some of her most famous ads:
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And some of her less famous books:
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Her enduring character, Lord Peter Wimsey
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Florian recommends two biographies…

Dorothy L. Sayers by Barbara Reynolds and A Careless Rage for Life by David Coomes.

That 1987 BBC series is available on YouTube.
And if you understand German and want to listen to a three-minute podcast about the show, the Lesebürger*innen have exactly what you need!
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Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in June. Don’t forget, we now have a Patreon! Please consider supporting our transcripts project and our ongoing work: www.patreon.com/deadladiesshowpodcast

If you’d prefer to make a one-time donation, here’s the link: paypal.me/dlspodcast

Podcast #32: Rose Mackenberg

Welcome to our 32nd podcast, in which Nicole Saraniero and Dana Lewis (recorded live by Christopher Neil in the Red Room at New York’s KGB Bar in 2019) conjure up enthusiastic ghost-buster Rose Mackenberg. Sometimes called “Harry Houdini’s Girl Detective,” Rose was dedicated to debunking psychics who scammed vulnerable and grieving Americans recovering from the tragedies of World War I and the Spanish Flu of 1918. She started out as a stenographer and private investigator, joining forces with famed magician Houdini to crusade against fraud and psychic swindlers.

Here it comes, produced and presented by Susan Stone:

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

Show notes:

Here are Nicole (left) and Dana (right) on stage:

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Curious about those costumes?

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Publicity material from the time:

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If you want to read more, there’s a compilation of her writing put together by Tony Wolf, Houdini’s “Girl Detective”: The Real-Life Ghost-Busting Adventures of Rose Mackenberg.

Rose also has a belated obituary in the New York Times‘ rather good “Overlooked No More” series, dedicated to women who weren’t written about when they died.

A few excellent pictures of Rose in action are available in the Saturday Evening Post.

And she’s also featured in artist A R Hopwood’s exploration of The Ethics of Deception for London’s Wellcome Collection.

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In these coronavirus times, our venues could use your support. You can donate to ACUD in Berlin via Startnext, and/or to the KGB Bar in NYC via Fundly, and/or your own local cultural stronghold.

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in May. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Podcast #31: Alexandra Kollontai

Welcome to episode 31, in which Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire talks about Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai. She was present at the Copenhagen Second Congress of Socialist Women in 1910, where she voted for the introduction of International Women’s Day. Kollontai worked hard to promote women’s interests in the early Soviet Union, often a losing battle. And she had some exciting ideas about love in the new society.

Here it is, introduced and produced by Susan Stone for your enlightenment and enjoyment:

Show notes:
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Katy’s favourite pic, Kollontai (centre) at the Congress of the Peoples of the East, Baku 1920
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Young Alexandra
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Rabotnitsa, or The Woman Worker, 1923
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Kollontai as a Soviet ambassador
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With medals
For further reading, Katy recommends Cathy Porter’s excellent Alexandra Kollontai, A Biography, which gives a lot of helpful background information. And if you read German, Barbara Kirchner’s edition of Kollontai’s Autobiographie einer sexuell emanzipierten Kommunistin.

 

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in April. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Podcast #30: Emma Goldman

Episode 30! Can you believe it? For a little inspiration in these grim political times, podcast producer & presenter Susan Stone chooses a brand spanking new presentation from Dead Ladies Show co-founder Florian Duijsens. 
Our other dear co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins in on the comfy couch to introduce the fabulous Emma Goldman. This anarchist philosopher, activist, and writer was determined, persistent, and sure in her convictions. Which, duly, got her convicted. Often called Red Emma, she’s surely no true role model, but a heck of a lot of fun to learn about. 
Susan and Katy also talk about the inaugural Emma Goldman Awards that just took place in Vienna, and provide some rather poppy musical inspiration. 
Also available on Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. And you can find the transcript here.
Show notes:
Emma_Goldman's_family
Here’s the Goldman family in the bad old days.

Emma Goldman

Mugshots

Emma in the media

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In Russia with Sasha Berkmann
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And here’s Audré Lorde in that T-shirt on the lake.
You might also like to watch the film about John Reed and Louise Bryant, which features Emma, REDS. But do make sure you set aside three hours and fifteen minutes…
For further reading, there’s Emma’s autobiography Living My Life, available in full online at The Anarchist Library, or abridged from Penguin Classics.
And Florian recommends books by Vivian Gornick, Candace Falk, and Sharon Rudahl.

For revolutionary dancing purposes, there is Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Enjoy!

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in March. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Podcast #29: Zora Neale Hurston

Episode 29 presents a giant of the Harlem Renaissance: writer, anthropologist and zombie finder Zora Neale Hurston!

Zora may be best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, but her love of adventure and willingness to re-write her own biography are sure to delight fans old and new.

Writer and scholar Fatin Abbas tells Zora’s tale from the stage in ACUD, and Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins podcast producer and presenter Susan Stone to put things in motion.

Also available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. And you can find the transcript here.

Show notes:

You can read more about Zora’s remarkable hometown Eatonville here.

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Photograph of Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, & Jessie Fauset, 1927

Enjoy this rare fieldwork footage Zora shot, which a kind Youtuber has paired with recordings of her voice!

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Abache and Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis were among the last group of Africans forcibly transported to the United States aboard the slave ship Clotilde. Zora told Cudjoe’s life story in Barracoon, published only very recently.
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Zora’s photograph of “zombie” Felicia Felix-Mentor

The books Fatin recommends are these: Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd, and Zora’s own Dust Tracks on a Road. You can listen to more of her ethnographic recordings (and her singing!) here, and here’s that Lithub story about her role in the first Black baby doll.

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in February. And here’s a link to our Patreon, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Support for the Dead Ladies Show podcast comes from the Berliner Senat.

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Podcast #28: Fanny Cradock

Episode 28 is a special one, available in English and also in German!

Our talented bilingual presenter is Mary Scherpe, the woman behind Stil in Berlin and co-founder of the Feminist Food Club. Working in that intersection of food and style, Mary’s almost predestined to tell us all about Britain’s extravagant television chef Fanny Cradock, whose life was not quite what you might expect… Recorded live as part of ACUD‘s Backyard Summer.

Plus, producer Susan Stone invites Florian Duijsens and Katy Derbyshire into her very own kitchen to pop some corks and talk turkey, game, raisins, and other festive foodie fun.

Here’s the English version:

Und hier gibt es die Folge auf deutsch:

Also available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. You can find our transcript of the English version here.

Show notes

Here’s Fanny with her (most) beloved husband Johnny.

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And here she is putting on the style earlier in life.

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In the BBC studio.

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A medley of dishes, original and recreated…

The BBC’s archive offers a wealth of Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas episodes for viewers in the UK. Or you could check out the 2006 movie Fear of Fanny, which exposed a new side to the celebrity chef.

But whatever you do, you probably have to watch the eye-rolling incident…

If you have more time on your hands, there’s the bizarre British Gas ad.

Mary recommends Fanny’s autobiography, Something’s Burning, and also Clive Ellis’s Fabulous Fanny. And we’re rather taken with the blog Keep Calm and Fanny On, recreating Fanny’s non-meaty recipes like the blue chestnut cream one above. 

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in January. And here’s a link to our Patreon page, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Podcast #27: Margaret Fountaine

On Episode 27, we meet a Dead Lady Lepidopterist! Dead Ladies Show co-founder Florian Duijsens introduces us to Margaret Fountaine, an English explorer and naturalist who collected butterflies and loved love. Her exciting scientific life and world travels were well-known, but her romantic adventures were only revealed when Margaret’s copious diaries were read in 1978, 100 years after she first started them at age 15.

Florian’s talk was recorded live at ACUD (shoutout to sound engineer Hyui Ines Rmi) just two months ago in Berlin. For the podcast, our other Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins podcast producer & presenter Susan Stone to revel in Margaret’s lovely and at times heart-breaking tale.

Also available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. You can download a transcript here.

Show notes:

diaries

These are the diaries that emerged in 1978.

And here’s some portraits of Margaret herself from the diaries.

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Septimus Hewson, the cowlicked singer from Limerick

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The kind of bike the Fountaine sisters rode 600km through Europe

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Khalil as he appears in the diary

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Some of Margaret’s beautiful art

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The euploea phaenareta margaretae, named after Margaret

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The ceratinia ninonia neimyi, which she named after Khalil

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Margaret late in life

Margaret’s guerillaed blue plaque

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in January. And here’s a link to our Patreon page, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

 

Podcast #26: Doreen Valiente & Martha Maxwell

Episode 26 brings you spooky Dead Lady tales all the way from NYC! First, Claire Carroll introduces us to England’s Doreen Valiente, known as the mother of modern witchcraft. In the UK and beyond, she was key in the spread of modern day Wicca, now a world-wide religion. Doreen also had more than a few secrets under her cape.
Then, it’s time for a live lady taxidermist talking about a Dead Lady taxidermist! Divya Anantharaman of Gotham Taxidermy brings us the story of American naturalist and taxidermy pioneer Martha Maxwell.

The talks were recorded live at two separate editions of NYC DLS, which is hosted and curated by Molly O’Laughlin Kemper, with support from Nicolas Kemper and Christopher Neil and Lori Schwarz, general manager of the KGB Bar’s Red Room, where the event is held. Join the NYC newsletter to stay updated on the next ones!

Dead Ladies Show co-founder Katy Derbyshire joins podcast producer & presenter Susan Stone to chat about these spooky wonderful dames and more.

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

Show notes:

Now for some pictures!

DoreenWithToolsofTrade
Image: © Doreen Valiente Foundation

Here’s Doreen with some of the tools of her trade.

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Image: © Doreen Valiente Foundation

And here are some of her ceremonial artifacts shown as they would be on an altar.

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Image: © Doreen Valiente Foundation

Ritual books owned by Doreen Valiente, including Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows at the back

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The Blue Plaque marking the last home Doreen lived in. It’s the only historic plaque on a public housing building in the UK.

…onto the taxidermy portion of our show…

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Image: © Molly O’Laughlin

Presenter Divya Anantharaman artfully combines Rihanna lyrics with taxidermy to illustrate Martha Maxwell’s burning desire for knowledge.

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Lion of Gripsholm. Copyright: Kungl. Hovstaterna/The Royal Court, Sweden

Taxidermy hasn’t always been done skillfully. The Lion of Gripsholm is an infamous example of what happens when someone who has never seen the animal alive is tasked with recreating it from its skin alone.

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Image: © Museum of Natural History, Berlin

And, get a load of these ocelots! Can you *spot* the difference? Again, one was prepared by someone with little to no knowledge of the actual animal. 

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Martha Maxwell sensibly attired in her hunting outfit.

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Maxwell’s display at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition was the first of its kind.

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in November. And here’s a link to our Patreon page, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.

Podcast #25: LaVern Baker

Episode 24 was recorded especially in Berlin, with our co-founder Katy Derbyshire telling us about the blues and R&B singer LaVern Baker.  Recorded live at Restaurant März, and produced and presented by Susan Stone in September 2019.

Also available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple PodcastsRadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast. You can download a transcript here.

Show notes & pics:

Club de Lisa

Chicago’s Club DeLisa, 1942

Soul on Fire

That first hit

Tweedlee

The Tweedlee Dee Girl herself

Height of fame

Height of fame

LB7

Red lipstick

Furs

Pretty in mink

Philippines

Marines on shore leave, Philippines

LB9

Later in life

LB3

Katy’s favourite pic.

 

You can read more about LaVern Baker in Chip Deffaa’s book Blue Rhythms. Six Lives in Rhythm and Blues.

Head over to Spotify for our special playlist…

Or look up all those different “Saved” covers on YouTube… Skip Phil Collins to 1:32 to watch LaVern do it in colour just after being rediscovered in 1986, plus a great little interview at the end. And a longer interview is hereBut whatever you do, don’t listen to “Think Twice, Version X” at work.

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

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode in October. And here’s a link to our Patreon page, in case you’d like to help fund transcripts.