The DEAD LADIES SHOW is a series of entertaining and inspiring presentations on women who achieved amazing things against all odds. Every two months, the show hosts three passionate cheerleaders of too-oft forgotten women, inviting its loyal audience into a sexy séance (of sorts) celebrating these impressive icons, their turbulent lives, and deathless legacies.
Our new season is built around outstanding Berlin writers, who share stories of awe-inspiring women who’ve fascinated them and influenced their work. And here comes show number 23… In which we bring you three women who suffered for their passions but left us inspiring legacies and impressive role models – a lady lepidopterist from Norwich, a coffee-brewing Canadian poet with magical concerns, and a pioneering Korean artist and essayist. Presented by your beloved co-host FLORIAN DUIJSENS, German poets BIRGIT KREIPE & MONIKA RINCK, and translator and publisher DEBORAH SMITH. All held together by your other beloved co-host KATY DERBYSHIRE. Come on up to the ACUD Studio for an evening of entertainment, inspiration, and fabulous females.
Presented in a messy mixture of English and German. €5 or €3 reduced entry. Once again generously supported by the Berliner Senat. Doors open 7:30 – come on time to get a good seat and a good drink!
MARGARET FOUNTAINE was a British butterfly-collector who travelled to over sixty countries (fortified by sips of brandy). She discovered, documented and bred specimens for more than fifty years, reportedly dying with a butterfly net in her hand while collecting in Trinidad. She published scientific papers in The Entomologist and became the only female fellow in the Royal Entomological Society in 1898. She also held talks internationally, on subjects such as “the sagacity of caterpillars”. Fountaine met her partner and travelling companion Khalil Neimy in Damascus, where she hired him as a dragoman. In her copious diaries, she wrote of her “wild and fearless life” during which she “enjoyed greatly and suffered much.” There is, of course, a butterfly genus named in her honour.
Canadian writer and translator GWENDOLYN MacEWEN published her first poem at the age of seventeen, and had written her first novel a year later. She taught herself Hebrew, Arabic, ancient and modern Greek and French, and translated from all of them. Despite running a Toronto coffee shop and leading a life cut short by alcohol-related health issues, she published more than twenty books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, children’s fiction and translated drama. MacEwen’s particular interest was in magic, ancient societies and philosophies; she defined poetry as “…the sound you make when you come, and why you live and how you bleed, and the sound you make or don't make when you die.”
NA HYE-SOK was a Korean poet, writer, painter, teacher and journalist. She pioneered feminist writing even as a student, with essays criticizing the archetype of the good wife and mother. She became involved in student politics and literary life, holding her first exhibition of paintings – the first ever exhibition by a Korean woman – in Seoul in 1921. In later essays on motherhood and divorce, she reckoned with her lawyer husband for leaving the child-raising up to her and challenged inequality and the repression of female sexuality. Although Na’s paintings now fetch decent prices, the scandals her life and writing caused in society meant she led a destitute life in her final years and was buried in an unmarked grave. She did get a Google Doodle to mark her 123rd birthday this past April, though.