I just popped my head up to say that today marks 40 years, more or less, since radical Weimar performer Valeska Gert died. I say “more or less” because her body wasn’t actually found until 18 March 1978, in her house on the North Sea island of Sylt, but it is thought that she had died two days earlier. The woman who pre-empted the rise of performance art by decades also foresaw her own death; from her 1968 autobiography Ich bin eine Hexe (I am a witch):
Only the kitty will be with me. When I’m dead, I can’t feed him anymore. He’s hungry. In desperation he nibbles at me. I stink. Kitty’s a gourmet, he doesn’t like me anymore. He meows loudly with hunger until the neighbours notice and break down the door.
Which is exactly what happened. On that macabre note I will leave you with some brief footage of Gert at her anarchic best and a promise to return soon with some more Weimar realness.
Dress-down Friday: Valeska Gert
The second reel
The rose and the bomb
People on Sunday
Fragments in Motion
Places: Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Strange Flowers guide to London, part one
Strange Flowers guide to Berlin, part one and part four
The grotesque burlesque of Valeska Gert