Season 5 Episode 02: Debbie Zimmerman - Film with Feminism

Season 5 Episode 02: Debbie Zimmerman - Film with Feminism

“I couldn’t do film without feminism. And, I don’t think I want to do the feminism without the film.”

The world needs much more of Debbie Zimmerman, the long-time Executive Director of Women Make Movies. Since 1983, Debbie has been the leading force in taking Women Make Movies from a grassroots production organization to the world’s largest distribution outlet for films by and about women. Now, at 62, Debbie is as fierce, powerful, and determined as ever to make sure that the independent film sector includes and honors the diverse stories produced by women media makers from around the world. A ‘baby feminist’ since high school, a lover of travel and adventure forever, a globally-recognized expert on women in independent film, Debbie observes that she got ‘the trifecta’ of life and career: work that is feminist, culture-changing and entrepreneurial.  She also recognizes – in this podcast and always – the amazing women mentors that supported her along the way. Listen to Debbie’s inspiring story and don’t stop there! Check out Women Make Movies website and catalogue (www.wmm.org), support feminist film organizations, and watch independent feminist film. You’ll be glad you did! 

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Season 5 Episode 01: Sandra Guzman - At the Feet of Her Elders

Season 5 Episode 01: Sandra Guzman - At the Feet of Her Elders

“I am 54. I don’t know what that means anymore. In my 20s and 30, when I thought about what 50 would feel like, I thought it was going to be old and cranky. And I’m coming together really nicely in my 50s. It feels wonderful to set boundaries, to know that I prefer banana pancakes.”


On the other side of 50, journalist, author and filmmaker Sandra Guzman still listens to her elders. Most notably, she spent two days listening to Nobel Laureate and literary giant Toni Morrison when she interviewed her for the wonderful documentary, the Pieces I Am. (Imagine the joys of sitting with Morrison for two days asking questions to elicit the story of her life? And then, your heightened sorrow at her passing this August?) Sandra listens to learn, share and, in her words, “amplify the voices and stories of marginalized people and communities.” She was the Editor-in-Chief of Latina, the country’s largest magazine for Latinx women; won an Emmy for her public affairs work at Telemundo, just one of the television stations she worked with over the years; was a reporter at El Diario/La Prensa and the New York Post; and is the author of The Latina’s Bible, a feminist go-to-guide for two generations of Latinx womenSandra is a powerful and captivating storyteller evolving into an elder in her own right. We hope you enjoy sitting at her metaphoric feet as much as we did! (And to learn much more about Sandra and her work, visit her website at http://www.sandraguzman.com/films/


Note to our listeners: For this episode, we used music from Nina Simone (one of Toni Morrison’s favorites), Princess Nokia’s Bruja (In honor of Puerto Rican grandma ‘brujas’), and Margaret Garner (Toni Morrison’s opera to commemorate Garner, a runaway slave and the inspiration for Beloved). 

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Season 4 Episode 10: Mother’s More Than a Day

 Season 4 Episode 10: Mother’s More Than a Day

Two of my heroes are mother and my grandmother…My mother taught me to be a woman. She was the strongest person I’ve ever met. And someday I’ll be the woman she wants me to be” - Tracy Hyter-Suffern

It’s complicated. Mothers. They’re sometimes cast as heroes and role models, often as victims or villains. In almost 40 conversations with other old bitches, mothers emerge as essential to the fabric of so many parts of our histories, our present and our futures. Drawing from those conversations, we’ve pulled together a few clips to share with you, from Inca Alexandrina Mohamed or Joy Kane talking about their mother’s dreams for them or Maya Wiley talking about her fears for her teenage daughters. So, on this Mother’s Day, take a minute to listen to this episode of Two Old Bitches with a mother, a daughter or someone else who you can talk to about the place of mothers in our lives. And, consider supporting the mothers and families who have been separated at the border. Check out https://www.familiesbelongtogether.org and the “Until Every Family Is Reunited” campaign.

This episode features: Dodo Berk (Season 1, Ep. 10), Elaine Finsilver (Season 1, Ep.06), Tracy Hyter-Suffern (Season 4, Ep. 8), Renata Joy (Season 4, Ep. 5), Joy Kane (Season 3, Ep. 10), Inca Alexandria Mohamed (Season 2, Ep. 9), Hendrica Okondo (Season 3, Ep. 8), Diane Scanlon (Season 2, Ep. 10), Hrag Vartanian (Season 4, Ep. 9) and Maya Wiley (Season 3, Ep. 7). We thank them and all of the Old Bitches who have shared their lives on our show!

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Season 4 Episode 09: Hrag Vartanian - Serious, Playful and Radical

Season 4 Episode 09: Hrag Vartanian - Serious, Playful and Radical

“I didn't want to brag but I did want to impress on you that I'm probably the biggest bitch you've ever encountered!”

Who else but Hrag Vartanian could help us to break through another boundary? Our guest for this episode of TOB is our first self-identified, ‘biggest bitch’ you’ve ever encountered’ man. We spent nearly two thought-provoking, hilarity-inducing and adoration-filled hours with Hrag. His identities are multitudinous, ranging from writer, curator, critic, artist, culture vulture, Syrian-Armenian-Canadian and – highly treasured – New Yorker. His accomplishments are also numerous, as the co-creator (with his husband) and editor –in-chief of Hyperallergic, the heralded on-line forum for arts, culture and politics that now reaches more than a million readers. Hrag’s insights into conquering FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), friendship (with TOB guest and artist Sharon Louden), intersectional feminism and art’s discontents kept us riveted. And his reflection that “we all become our own mentors eventually” left us comforted. So have a listen, laugh along and become a Hyperallergic subscriber (https://hyperallergic.com). You’ll be so glad you did! 

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Season 4 Episode 08: Tracy Hyter-Suffern - Quite a Handful

Season 4 Episode 08: Tracy Hyter-Suffern - Quite a Handful

“I’m either the world’s greatest storyteller or the world’s greatest secret keeper.”

At 60, Tracy Hyter-Suffern, can proudly say,  “I am coming into my own. I’m the woman my mother kept trying to raise.” That woman is a glorious storyteller, joyful and wise, a salsa dancer, and a fierce and fearless cultural and social justice activist. She is the Executive Director of the National Jazz Museum of Harlem, the first Director of the Y.W.C.A. International Relations Department, and over the years ran and fundraised for many groups, from Urban Bush Women to Black Agency Executives. Tracy grew up --and still lives-- in “small town” Staten Island, “a Black girl from the projects” who in her 20s unearthed the family secret: her father’s family was not Black but Native American! It’s a great story that ends with Tracy successfully enrolling the family in the Ramapough Lunaape Nation. Listen now as Tracy shares this and other stories, along with her “Nine Reasons We Are Here.”

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Season 4 Episode 07: Sharon Louden - Radical Generosity

Season 4 Episode 07: Sharon Louden - Radical Generosity

“The only thing I could do in high school was make art,” Sharon Louden shares with us early in our conversation. She remembers that, in her secretarial shorthand classes, she simply could not stay within the lines. As an artist, educator, advocate and editor who “injects creative culture into the cracks of society,” Sharon continues to challenge the lines that constrain generosity and inclusion. She is the first woman Artistic Director of Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution and an accomplished artist, with her work featured in major collections and museums across the country. (Click on the links below to be delighted by a sampling of her paintings, installations and animations.) She is also the lead editor of the series “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life” (Intellect). The upcoming third book in the series, Last Artist Standing, focuses on artists  over 50, mostly women. Listen as Sharon shares how she overcame the familiar dictums of being both “too much” and “not enough” to become powerfully and exuberantly herself.

Click here to see more work on Sharon Louden’s website

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Season 4 Episode 06: Michaela Walsh - The Next Adventure

Season 4 Episode 06: Michaela Walsh - The Next Adventure

Michaela Walsh - The Next Adventure

"The one thing I wanted in life was not to be cynical when I get old and, I’ve discovered that by looking at life as an adventure, there’s no way you can be cynical."

Sitting in Michaela Walsh’s New York City apartment and watching her eyes sparkle with mischief and delight every time she talked about the possibility of an adventure was an extraordinary privilege and pleasure for these Two Old Bitches! She has made an indelible mark for women in this world. She founded and led groundbreaking Women’s World Banking (WWB) from 1975 to 1990. WWB continues today, with banks led by and for women in more than 50 countries (and if you want to know more about Women’s World Banking, order Michaela's book.  Today Michaela is an 84-year old who is still pondering her next adventure. Join us to hear this pioneer for women’s economic leadership reflect on her truths, her journey as a risk-taker and disrupter, and her aspirations for what comes next.

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Season 4 Episode 05: Renata Joy - Pure Joy!

Season 4 Episode 05: Renata Joy - Pure Joy!

When I am open and accepting about all of the things about myself, things happen. …It wasn’t until I decided that one of the things that was to my advantage was my age that things took off." 

When Renata Joy was barely 11 years old, her older brother predicted that she was “the key” to her family’s “fame and fortune.” How right he was! Renata left her Midwest home to become an Emmy-nominated TV producer in New York on a variety of news and talk shows, including “The View,” and worked with media superstars such as Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw and Meredith Viera. After 20 years in broadcasting, she left to create Pure Joy Wellness, a life-style brand devoted to helping women take charge of their health --which is just what Renata has done for over 60 years. Drawing on her lifelong passion for exercise, healthy eating and self-care, she has built a concierge service for women over 40 that offers personal training, nutritional coaching, meal delivery, wellness retreats, and more to its clients. Our conversation with Renata gives you a taste of the depth of understanding, drive, generosity and, yes, joie de vivre that inspire her large and loyal following.

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Season 4 Episode 04: Bitches Know - How to Totally Avoid Jet-Lag Forever!

Season 4 Episode 04: Bitches Know - How to Totally Avoid Jet-Lag Forever!

More than 90% of travelers who cross time zones suffer from jet lag. Are you one of them? No more! Take 3 minutes of your time now to hear the Old Bitches reveal – for the first time ever -- the 5 steps to never suffering jet lag again.  Yes, Bitches Know. And we hope you’ll let us know if this works for you (or if you have different sure-fire tips). E-mail us at 2OBPodcast@gmail.com!

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Season 4 Episode 03: (New Feature!) Bitches Know - Social Security

Season 4 Episode 03: (New Feature!) Bitches Know - Social Security

Is it possible that you're losing thousands of dollars a year because you don't know the in's and out's of the U.S. Social Security system? Did you know that there might be some sure-fire ways to never ever get jet lag again? We know. We've learned. That's why we're launching our new feature, Bitches Know. Take 3 to 4 minutes to tap into the life lessons and accumulated bitchy wisdom that only decades of learning by doing (and NOT doing) can offer.

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Season 4 Episode 02: No Regrets

Season 4 Episode 02: No Regrets

“I was a little nervous. Two Old Bitches? And I thought, 'Ou-oh. What if they’re cute. If they’re cute, I’m going to throw up.’” - Ashton Applewhite

What do you think when you hear us say Two Old Bitches? Since we started this podcast, we’ve been asking the women we interview and lots of others too. In this episode, we’ve compiled some of the thoughtful, funny, horrified and encouraging responses over the past 2 years. Listen to the bitchy wisdom of Alta Starr, Ashton Applewhite, Jaune Evans, Geeta Misra, Inca Alexandrina Mohamed, Houry Geudelekian, Diane Scanlon and Freida Williams, Malaga Baldi, Radhika Balakrishnan, Joy Kane and Socorro Reyes.

AND, we’d love to hear your response! So tape yourself (audio or video) telling us what you think about our name Two Old Bitches. And the first 10 people who share their response with us will get their choice of either a Two Old Bitches T-shirt (tell us your size) or tote bag (it’s gorgeous) in black and white. Send your tape (and your love!) to us at: 2OBPodcast@gmail.com  We can't wait to hear from you!

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Season 4 Episode 01: Geeta Misra - Dancing on the Edge

Season 4 Episode 01: Geeta Misra - Dancing on the Edge

“Bold and brave. Dancing on the edge. Living each day as if it’s my first or last."

At 55 years, Geeta has perfected the practice of joyful disruption. She moves seamlessly between her lives in New York and Delhi, pursuing intersecting passions: gender and sexuality, film and other creative arts, and a wide web of friendships. Our conversation with Geeta ranged from exploring how she co-founded CREA – a feminist human rights organization that is creatively located on two continents – to how she arrived at her beliefs about sex work and her provocative views on culture and community in the U.S. Geeta’s determination to suspend judgment, her belief in a web of humanity that offers support and sustenance, and her lust for joy and creativity are inspiring from start to finish. We love celebrating this aspiring "funky bitch" and know that you will too. 

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Season 3 Episode 10: Joy Kane - If They're Buying It, I'm Teaching It

Season 3 Episode 10: Joy Kane - If They're Buying It, I'm Teaching It

"I’m so happy. That’s what surprises me. I never thought I’d survive 50. I’ve been suicidal a lot of the time. I was so poor and such a mess. And my life is beautiful now. Beautiful."

Joy Kane can make anything swing: an interview, a piano lesson, a song. At 91, she remains a musical enchantress, guided through life by her motto: If they’re buying it, I’m teaching it. She turned her early training as a modern dancer and a classical and jazz musician into a career teaching the Methode Dalcroze in her 50s and started to write a series of books about her method in her 70s. She was born in Cleveland during World War II and was deeply affected by the genocide and totalitarianism that infused the zeitgeist of her formative years. Joy does not shy away from the tragedies or disappointments in life; instead, she shows us how -- through good times and bad -- her talent, her grit and the welcoming reception her work generated in France made re-invention a constant theme of her life. You’ll be enthralled with her reflections on the ways in which her 90+ years mirror the history of women standing up to patriarchy. Be as inspired as we were by this unstoppable nonagenarian! And by the piano solos in this episode. They were all composed and performed by Joy especially for this podcast!

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Season 3 Episode 09: Houry Geudelekian - The Original Houry!

Season 3 Episode 09: Houry Geudelekian - The Original Houry!

"I lived the first 15 years of our life without any reflection. No questioning about who am I? What do I want? That is my fight in life right now. Not just for myself but for every single girl out there. You cannot take a girl’s voice away.  You cannot take a girl’s education away. And I will fight for that."

Meet “the original” Houry! At 56, she brings unstoppable positive energy to  advocacy for the rights of women and girls worldwide. Her journey of joy and discovery began in the 1970s when she left her Armenian community in Lebanon with her new husband, arrived in New York City and quickly transitioned to a life of disco at Studio 54 and building a posh hair salon business that catered to glitterati from Madonna to Jennifer Grey. More than thirty years later – with three sons and a successful business – Houry realized that in the rush to do it all she hadn’t taken the time to reflect or, as she said, “feel the sand between her toes.” And she’d been too busy to get the education she’d longed for all her life.  A therapist, a divorce, a job search, and night school led Houry to fulfill lifelong dreams: becoming a woman who has a voice, a college degree, and who has no problem feeling things, being present, and saying whatever she wants. Or, as we call it, a Being in Total Charge of Herself!

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Season 3 Episode 08: Hendrica Okondo - Born, Bred and Wed in Nairobi

Season 3 Episode 08: Hendrica Okondo - Born, Bred and Wed in Nairobi

"I’m still the same person that was my mother's disciple. Women have to have their own resources. That’s what my mother was saying when she said, 'Your husband is your degree'. You need your own resources. I also need to ask for help. I cannot be superwoman."

Hendrica Okondo, 62, credits much of her wisdom and courage to women: her mother and grandmother, Nobel-prize-winner Wangari Maathai, and countless women leaders who she worked with over 40 years supporting women’s and girls’ rights worldwide. Raised in Kenya, she’s lived and worked in more countries than most people will visit in a lifetime (from Sudan to Somalia and the UK to Switzerland), had more careers than most people dream of (from scuba diver to gender advisor) and is a storyteller extraordinaire. She recently returned home after ‘retiring’ from an international career in the United Nations and the World YWCA. She now follows her passion to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of young girls throughout Africa, blending her profound and life-long Catholic faith with an irrepressible spirit. She likes to remind religious leaders that the first person to see the risen Christ was Mary Magdalene, who is portrayed as a sex worker by many writers, so -- if she was the first person to see the risen Christ -- then Christianity was started by a sex worker. Shower yourself with her sage advice and contagious laughter as soon as you can!

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Season 3 Episode 07: Maya Wiley - The Possibilist

Season 3 Episode 07: Maya Wiley - The Possibilist

"To me, it's not about age, it's not about race, it's not about ideology...I don't know that we have ever confronted such a dangerous time to democracy in our country. What it does say to me is that we fundamentally have to fight for democracy. And that means many different things."

 

Maya is a nationally renowned racial justice and equity activist and advocate. And she is no longer an optimist. But she hasn’t given up hope. She has “a passion for the possible” combined with a laser focus on fighting for our democracy. If you watch TV news, you've likely seen her share her sharp analysis on the assault against our country’s values and heard her wise counsel on priorities for collective action, including activism on the upcoming census. At 54, she has litigated, lobbied the U.S. Congress, and developed programs to transform structural racism in the U.S. and in South Africa.  Maya recently served as Counsel to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, chaired the New York City Police Department’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, founded and led the Center for Social Inclusion, and is now Senior Vice President for Social Justice at the New School. Maya's guidance, struggle and compassion in these perilous times are enough to turn these Two Old Bitches into possibilists as well. And you?

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Season 3 Episode 06: Emma & Idelisse - To A Beloved Buddha Mom

Season 3 Episode 06: Emma & Idelisse - To A Beloved Buddha Mom

"I’d be struggling to make the fabric do what I wanted and she’d say, ‘no, you have to listen to the fabric, the fabric will tell you where it wants to go.’"

Idelisse’s mom -- Emma Delfina Carattini Padro de Malavé – died at 99 on December 10, 2017. And we wanted to record this podcast as a tribute to her life, a life that spanned nearly a century. She grew up in the hills of Puerto Rico, thwarting gender stereotypes and asserting her love of freedom and beauty, and then immigrated to New York in her early 20s for work and family. Both fierce and (as Idelisse says) ‘demure’, Emma’s story is about love of family and homeland, the strategies that smart women developed to survive and thrive, and channeling talent and imagination into creating every day beauty. That creativity lives on in Ide and Emma's granddaughter, Esti. As does the determination that Ide and her daughter Esti inherited from Emma: to live life fully and with appreciation for the indescribable feeling of the morning sun, the comfort of that first cup of coffee with steamed milk, and the memory of Emma’s music-filled laughter. 

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Season 3 Episode 05: Betsy ‘La Guapa’ Gude - Fearless Adventurer

Season 3 Episode 05: Betsy ‘La Guapa’ Gude - Fearless Adventurer

"It was just an ocean of stars. And you’re in the middle of night. And it’s pitch black. You can’t see your hand in front of you. And…you just sit there and wait for the light."

Having a crazy dream is good. Making it come true is rapturous! And that’s what Betsy “La Guapa" Gude did on the cusp of her 59th year, all-too-aware that 60 was not far off. One of her dreams was to cross the Atlantic on a ship, but not a luxury liner. As you’ll hear, her odyssey began when Betsy happened upon the Galeón Andalucía (a replica of wooden ships in Spain's 16th fleet) moored in Kingston, New York last summer. Barely a month later, she joined 23 strangers as part of the crew on the Galeón’s three-week voyage (during hurricane season!) from Atlantic City to Spain. The trip offered a silence and a beauty that she could never have imagined ...and changed her forever.

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Season 3 Episode 04: Luxor Tavella - Icon of West Broadway and Soho

Season 3 Episode 04: Luxor Tavella - Icon of West Broadway and Soho

Citing her age at somewhere between 5 and 100 years old (decide for yourself, she suggests), Luxor Tavella revels in beauty, art and mystery. Forty three years ago -- after leaving her native Milan and studying textiles in London -- she opened her Soho fashion boutique, Paracelso. It is her gallery, a living work of art. Visited by famous artists and designers – including Alexander McQueen – and customers who have been buying from Luxor’s collections for decades, this ‘icon of West Broadway’ has a style uniquely her own. From riding camels in the Sahara (and changing her name from Bianca to Luxor) to studying with zen masters, Luxor’s life and survival through the gentrification of Soho is testimony to following one’s heart and love of beauty. Visit Paracelso at 510 Broome Street for an extraordinary few hours with this graceful and wise maven of creativity and beauty. 

And for a video of Luxor, check out http://www.stylelikeu.com/profiles-2/closets/luxor-tavella/

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Season 3 Episode 03: Janice Zarro Brodman - Sex Rules!

Season 3 Episode 03: Janice Zarro Brodman - Sex Rules!

Janice Zarro Brodman is a writer and political activist who busts norms and defies categories. That’s why she wrote her recently released book, “Sex Rules!: Astonishing Sexual Practices and Gender Roles Around the World". Like Janice, the book entertains, challenges and delights with little known "astonishing" sexual, romantic and relationship mores from around the world.  With humor and affection, the book might change your entire perspective on that most basic drive, sexuality. A perfect Two Old Bitches guest: she recently left a 25-year career working in international development and is now infusing her vast experience of travel around the world and political activism in the U.S. into her writing life. Janice will only give clues to her age (best we can tell, she’s somewhere between 60 and 70), but who cares? Her passion, her inquisitiveness, and her pursuit of justice are relevant at every age. So order her book, listen to her reading excerpts from it on this interview, and stay tuned for more about astonishing sex and gender roles from Janice in the decades to come.  

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