Podcast #44: Irmgard Keun

In this episode of the podcast, DLS co-founder Katy Derbyshire introduces us to daring German writer Irmgard Keun. As an ingenue, Irmgard’s writing debut was much more consequent than her acting debut, and she garnered praise and a film adaptation. Her books explored women’s lives in Weimar-era Berlin with a humor all her own, which of course meant the Nazis banned them. There’s dark wit, wild parties in the face of danger, and fabulous costume changes — oh, and an unreliable narrator. It’s a bit of Babylon Berlin meets Cabaret, perhaps.

Irmgard Keun is also one of the original Dead Ladies (along with Dorothy Parker) that sparked the creation of the Dead Ladies Show in the first place!

Our other DLS co-creator Florian Duijsens joins podcast producer and host Susan Stone for the introducing duties in our last episode of DLSP Season Four!

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


Irmgard looking dashing
Plaque marking where (and which actual year) she was born in Berlin
Young Irmgard
Irmgard basking in her big fur coat
Brigitte Helm in the film version of Gilgi, Eine von uns
and Helm in Metropolis
Stuck in Ostend with Joseph Roth
and free again in Nice
Reports of Irmgard’s death were greatly exaggerated
Irmgard’s rather intense interior in Cologne
Released from hospital!
And at the height of the Keunissance in the film version of After Midnight
Channel this energy next time someone tries to get you to work for free

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon. Thanks for listening!

We’ll be back with a new season and new episode in September.

Dead Ladies Show #1

The Dead Ladies Show not only presents a fabulous excuse to dress up in faux-fox furs and other early 20th-century accoutrements, it is the first in a series of very Berlin events exploring the collision of feminism and fabulousness, glamor and genius.

This inaugural Dead Ladies Show celebrates Irmgard Keun, Dorothy Parker, and Pola Negri. Though long departed from the world’s stage, these artists have never stopped inspiring this evening’s hosts, Katy Derbyshire (translator extraordinaire), Florian Duijsens (SAND, Asymptote), and Daniela Dröscher (author of the novel Pola).

After a night of short bilingual readings and presentations, DJ Johnny Stardust will pay tribute to other spirited jazz, blues, and country women of yore, so be sure to wear your dancing shoes. The cover charge is €4, and there will be a signature ‘Dead Lady’ cocktail in Dorothy Parker’s honor.