Dead Ladies Show #18

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!

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Marie Curie in her laboratory
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

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.

Annamaywongnew
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.

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Pics from Show #17

A few highlights from our June show, including Isabel Cole and Binnur Çavuşlu, Bettina von Arnim, Halide Edip Adıvar, Anne Lister, and some of our gorgeous guests from the audience. Thanks to Rosalie Delaney for the photos.

Podcast #11: Lotte Reiniger

A lovely new podcast, produced in July 2018 by Susan Stone, and presented by Katy Derbyshire and Florian Duijsens.

Our podcast producer Susan Stone tells the story of Lotte Reiniger, a true pioneer of animation (and psaligraphy!). At the end, Dead Ladies Show co-founders/hosts Katy and Florian chat with Susan about exciting developments and podcasts.

Also available on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Acast.

Show notes:

Here’s Lotte, cutting up a storm.

Lotte_Reiniger_1922

Her first animated work was called Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens [The ornament of the heart in love] (1919).

ornament

This is the Tricktisch she developed, and that’s Carl there at the top, working the camera.

Lotte_Reiniger,_Carl_Koch,_Walter_Türck,_Alexander_Kardan

Lotte reveals the Marquise’s secret.

These are some highlights from The Adventures of Prince Ahmed (1926), replete with flying horse, evil magician, and beautiful helpless harem girls.

Lotte in her studio in the Abbey Arts Centre, London, still cutting up a storm.

Lotte_Reiniger_Atelier_Abbey_Arts_Centre

Lotte remade her German fairytale series for British and US audiences, including the gorgeous Thumbelina below in 1955. She stopped animating in the 1960s after Carl’s death, but returned to her work in 1975, creating three more films before her death.

If you want to know more about Lotte, start with Lotte Reiniger: Pioneer of Film Animation by Whitney Grace, check out that Google doodle, and you can buy a DVD copy of The Adventures of Prince Ahmed here. As for her admirers, check out the trailer for Michel Ocelot’s Tales of the Night, and definitely watch Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe, a gorgeous TV show that paid tribute Lotte in their episode “The Answer”.

Steven_Universe_-_The_Answer

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

Thanks for listening! Check back in September for our next episode.

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Podcast #10: Mary Kingsley & Halide Edip Adivar

A lovely new podcast, produced and presented in June 2018 by Susan Stone.

Our co-host Florian Duijsens gives us the low-down on intrepid Victorian explorer and ichthyologist Mary Kingsley. Plus special guest Binnur Çavuşlu on Turkish writer and activist Halide Edip Adivar.

Also available on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Acast.

Show notes:

Here’s where we recorded the show…

Piano

And here’s Mary Kingsley looking lovely and comfortable.

 

One of Mary’s fish

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Gratuitous Victorian hippo content

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To find out more, you might like to start with Mary Kingsley’s little book about hippos, A Hippo Banquet, and then move on to Dea Birkett’s biography, Mary Kingsley, Imperial Adventuress, or the book One Dry Season by Caroline Alexander. 

Now here are a couple of images of Halide Edip Adivar, including the surviving bust.

 

You can read more about Halide in German, written and illustrated by Binnur herself, at Renk magazine. Part one of Binnur’s series on Turkish heroines is also available in English – hooray!

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

Thanks for listening! Check back in July for our next episode.

Dead Ladies Show #17

For our 17th show, we have three impressive women writers to tell you about, all of whom did something else on the side: a Berlin salonnière, a political activist, and a fanatical journal-keeper and traveller. Brought to you by award-winning writer and translator Isabel Cole, globetrotting journalist Binnur Cavuslu, and regular Katy Derbyshire. All held together, of course, by your beloved co-host Florian. Expect surprises, shocks, inspiration, dedication, and perspiration – as we celebrate three women who lived totally different but equally impressive lives at the ACUD Studio on Monday, 11 June at 8 pm.

Presented in a messy mixture of English and German. €5, or €3 reduced entry. Now generously supported by the Berliner Senat. Doors open 7:30 pm – come on time to get a good seat and a good drink!

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447px-Bettina-von-arnim-grimm
BETTINA VON ARNIM was a countess with a famous brother and a famous husband, but let’s not hold that against her. She fought the tyranny of conventions from an early age, falling out with Goethe and later writing a book of their fake “correspondence.” She composed songs, published dissident writing and also genuine correspondence, and hosted all the Romantic dudes at her salon. Presumably after her seven children went to bed. Bettina used to have her face on a banknote and once had a short-lived settlement in Texas named after her. Now there’s an ambition.

halide-edip-adivar

HALIDE EDIP ADIVAR was a novelist, women’s rights campaigner, and activist alongside Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Her novels broke boundaries in Turkish literature, presenting a new type of woman with a mind of her own. She helped set up Turkey’s first feminist organization and gain women the right to divorce – and then she went ahead and left her first husband while she was at it. After a falling-out with the nationalists, she taught at universities in New York, Delhi, and Istanbul. Halide rather outdoes Bettina in death, what with having a crater on Venus in her name.

Portrait-of-Anne-Lister

ANNE LISTER was a philandering lesbian and writer of 24 volumes of diaries in pre-Victorian Yorkshire. She wooed and bedded various upper-class ladies in search of true love, or at least a wife who could keep her in comfort. She went against sartorial convention, too, wearing only black except when in the presence of royalty. Anne was a very adventurous traveller, fond of climbing mountains and attending balls in out-of-the-way places. Her travels took her all the way across Europe and along the frozen Volga to Tbilisi – in a carriage with a broken window. She has a mountain pass in the Pyrenees named after her, which is better than nothing.

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Podcast #9: Käthe Paulus

Our latest podcast, produced and presented in May 2018 by Susan Stone.

Listen to the now-familiar tones of co-host Katy Derbyshire telling you all about a dead Berliner, Germany’s first lady balloonist and parachutist Kaethe Paulus. Plus our other host, Florian Duijsens, with some bodacious book tips.

Also available on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, and other podcast purveyors.

Show notes:

Here’s Kaethe Paulus doing her audacious thing.

KP

Here’s one of the streets named after her, out near Berlin’s one-day future airport.

Street

And here’s Kaethe’s baby-daddy, balloonist and lady’s man Hermann Lattemann. For sideburn fans.

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And here’s Kaethe with one of her more outlandish flying contraptions.

Bat

Plus a couple of links to Florian’s book recommendations: Here’s the interview he mentions about the reissue of Elsa Lanchester, Herself, which also led him to reading the memoirs of Tallulah Bankhead, Ann Miller’s Miller’s High Life, and Shelley Winters. The excerpt is from the latter’s second memoir, Shelley II.

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

Thanks for listening! Check back in June for our next episode.

Podcast #8: Theda Bara

Our latest podcast, produced and presented in April 2018 by Susan Stone.

This time it’s Berlin/Dublin journalist Alix Berber on the original Hollywood vamp Theda Bara. Plus a new short feature highlighting a lovely live lady, singer Pauline Black.

Also available on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, and other podcast purveyors.

Show notes:

Here’s Alix at the show, with Theda Bara in the background.

DLS13 (3 of 8)

A selection of Theda-themed merchandise and posters from back in the day.

 

Theda in that bra.

Bara bra

Watch the surviving Cleopatra material.

Read a less than complimentary NYT review.

And admire the costumes she passed on to a neighbour’s daughter.

Plus some Pauline Black stuff… Follow Pauline on Facebook… Read her autobiography, Black by Design… Watch The Selecter in 1979And in 2017… 

And here’s a photo of Susan’s and Katy’s shoes to finish off.

Shoes

We’ve used music by Lorin Sklamberger and Los Sundayers in this show. Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! Check back in May for our next episode.

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Podcast #7: The Grimké Sisters & Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Our latest podcast, produced and presented in March 2018 by Susan Stone.

Here we have Berlin-based translator Frances Thoms Provine sharing the story of the American abolitionist sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimké.

Also available on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, and other podcast purveyors.

Show notes:

Here’s Frances at the show.

Frances

And here are the sisters themselves, Angelina on the left and Sarah on the right.

Frances was partly inspired to talk about the sisters by her mom, Nancy Lunsford, a visual artist and songwriter. Nancy very kindly shared her very own Grimké song with us, “Crazy Angelina” – listen to it right here!

You can read the Grimké sisters’ essays and letters, published as On Slavery and Abolitionism. Frances also recommends Gerda Lerner’s biography, The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina.

Plus, Susan debuts a new segment, Woman of the Hour, where we hear about a Dead Lady who’s been getting some fresh attention. This one features Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

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Enjoy!

Dead Ladies Show #16

Spring is upon us, so we’re celebrating renewal with a killer combination of dead dames. And this time, we reckon you’ve probably heard of at least one of them! We bring you a Berlin-born film director and animator, a translator of Dante who wrote a spot of classy crime fiction on the side, and a fairly famous Mexican artist, presented by journalist and podcast producer Susan Stone, your regular co-host Florian Duijsens, and storytelling shero Dorothea Martin. All kept on the rails by your other beloved co-host, Katy Derbyshire. Think fairytale outfits and a whole lot of skulls and flowers, as we raise a glass of something to three thrilling women at the ACUD STUDIO on 24 April, 8pm.

Presented in a messy mixture of English and German. €5 or €3 reduced entry. Now generously supported by the Berliner Senat. Doors open 7:30 pm – come on time to get a good seat!

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Lotte-Reiniger

LOTTE REINIGER was born in Charlottenburg in 1899 and went on to combine her two youthful passions, silhouette puppetry and cinema, making the world’s oldest surviving animated feature film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). A whizz with the scissors, she made more than 45 films using her animated cutouts and special camera technique, most on fairytale themes. In 1933, she and her husband left the Germany of Bertolt Brecht, Max Reinhardt, and Fritz Lang and spent eleven years trying to get permanent residency in London, Paris, and Rome, before reluctantly returning to Berlin to care for Reiniger’s elderly mother. She won major awards for her life’s work, and also has her own star on the pavement at Potsdamer Platz.

Skull

DOROTHY L. SAYERS 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.

Frida_Kahlo,_by_Guillermo_Kahlo

Does FRIDA KAHLO need an introduction? Probably every feminist’s favourite 20th-century folk-art-inspired Mexican Communist painter, she found a visual language for the pain of her physical and mental existence, using her art to raise questions about identity that don’t feel dated today. Her very face has become iconic – Fridamaniacs can buy Frida Kahlo socks, shoes, nail varnish, cookbooks, tarot cards, aprons, tequila, and anything and everything in between. In June, London’s V&A Museum will be showing her personal artifacts and clothing for the first time outside of Mexico. But who was she?

 

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Podcast #6: Constance Markievicz

Our latest podcast, produced and presented in February 2018 by Susan Stone.

This time it’s your beloved co-host Katy Derbyshire again, telling you a lot of things you need to know about the Irish revolutionary Constance Markievicz and how she went from debutante to celebrated freedom fighter.

Also available on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, and other podcast purveyors.

Show notes:

Here’s Constance as Katy first came across her, in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green.

Constat

And here she is all dressed up for the Easter Rising. Note the hat.

Congun

More militant millinery.

Hat

Watch silent footage of Con from British Pathé here and here.

For further reading, we recommend Anne Haverty’s excellent Constance Markievicz – Irish Revolutionary.

Many thanks to Deirdre McMahon for all her help.

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon. Thanks for listening – come back in March for a new podcast!

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