“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 women. Sandra 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).
“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!Read More
“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!”Read More
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!
“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.”Read More
“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.Read More
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.Read More
“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.Read More
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!Read More