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Oral History Interview with Dora Duchamp

(PID:8236534955) Source
posted by Zoe Foodiboo alias Zoe Foodiboo on Sunday 2nd of December 2012 09:00:16 AM

Date of Interview: September 23, 1929 (2012) Interviewer: Zoe Foodiboo Sein Loire (photographer) Interviewee(s): Dora Duchamp Mills Location: Home of Dora Duchamp, Behrenstrasse 3, 1920s Berlin Project (owned and managed by Frau Jo Yardley), Second Life. Abstract: A tenant of 1920s Berlin for nearly two years and the wife of Herr Aldo Mills, Dora Duchamp Mills is a member of the dance troupe ‘The Flapperettes’ as well as the founder of two groups: the Berlin Ladies’ Social Club and the Jazz Babies. Her other projects include organizing a men’s leg competition and hosting two baby showers. She is the founder of Jazz Age Music, which releases music collections for the recently released Matova Vintage Radio. The Stephanie Helstein case is also mentioned. Other tenants mentioned in this interview include: Aldo Mills, Taena Matova, Frau Jo Yardley, Crispin Sturges, Cuthbert Helendale, Morganic Clarrington, Sonatta Morales, Aloysia Moyet, Pola Solo, Desireme Fallen, Wulfride Blitzen, Adele, Kling, Luzie Cheng, Tequila Mockingbird, Sasa Steigerweld, Victoria “Lulu” Weibes, Zeno McAuley, Gustov Chesnokov, Paul vonTrumper, Sein Loire, Max Beckert, and Annett Jameson (Boehme). ********** Zoe Foodiboo: Alright. So how did you discover Berlin? DoraDuchamp: I heard about it from a friend... Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: She only came in once or twice but when she told me about it I felt I had to come and investigate. (I will put ooc [out of character] stuff in parentheses) ZF: perfect DD: (As a kid I always wanted to be a how could I resist a 1920s Berlin sim?) I came in January of 2011 and was immediately hooked. I got an apartment right first place was 7D Frederichstrasse...really a dump...the attic of the building. Zoe Foodiboo nods and scribbles DD: The apartments in that building are quite nice, but not mine. Zoe Foodiboo chuckles. DD: It was just one sparse room. I met Zeno [Zeno McAuley] my first couple of weeks and he gave me an old bed he wasn't using anymore. ZF: kind of him! DD: Yes Zeno was very kind to me from the beginning. The only other furniture I had was a table, and a rug with some throw pillows, and a chair. Before I came here I was in Paris - (that is backstory not SL reality)- staying with my cousin, and then I came here. My friend Taena [Taena Matova] followed shortly (we knew each other from other sims) Zoe Foodiboo smiles, remembering her own humble beginnings in Berlin DD: she was my roommate for a short while until I met Aldo [Aldo Mills] Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: ...then I moved into his place which was a couple doors down on Frederichstrasse ZF: How long were you there? DD: The second place? Oh I can't recall exactly..not that long Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: I met Aldo at Der Keller. He pretty much swept me off my feet. Dora giggles Zoe Foodiboo snuggles in, ready to hear a good love story DD: Yes well I did not plan on getting married...but it just happened. I always say dancing is dangerous because it can lead to marriage. Zoe Foodiboo grins DD: He also rented a castle at that point Zoe Foodiboo eyes widen, "Oh my!" DD: Anyway he was courting me and proposed to me...twice actually. Once at the castle, and then once in the Eiffel Tower in Paris. ZF: A castle? He must be someone important...? DD: Well he's an Italian nobleman. (he actually comes from a noble family in real life) Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: ....his family is not all that wealthy. They have some money but you know the gentry are not as well-off as they once were. They have business interests in Italy. ZF: So you stayed with him at the castle... DD: In any case he proposed at the Eiffel Tower, and I said yes...and we were married April 1. Well the castle was more like our vacation house. The apartment here was actually quite humble. Once we decided to get married we figured we'd get a nicer place. And here's a funny story... ZF: Would you describe the apartment a little? Where you got your furnishings... DD: Oh...Aldo's apartment...Haha...It was fairly small. I can't really remember that well we didn't stay there all that long. I remember it being small and very gray inside. Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: ...and he had a red leather sofa and a round table for eating. It was tastefully decorated but definitely a bit of a bachelor pad. Zoe Foodiboo giggles ZF: Needed a woman's touch? DD: The castle was much nicer...Yes! So once we decided we wanted to move into a bigger place, there was of course the usual race for Berlin Real Estate. We were checking the gazette on a regular basis. Oh I want to say one other thing about when I first came here... ZF: sure DD: Everyone was so helpful. People were very nice and welcoming - like Zeno. And they told me about the gazette which is how I got my first place. So anyway we were checking the Real Estate Gazette on a regular basis and entirely independently of each other we ended up putting a down payment on TWO places! Zoe Foodiboo laughs DD: Aldo found this place, and I found a really nice apartment in the Bauhaus building. The rent was the same. By this point Taena was living in my old place on Frederichstrasse...which she HATED. She comes from an affluent family in Russia... Zoe Foodiboo: ah..... DD: So Aldo and I decided to keep the villa and give the Bauhaus apartment to Taena. Naturally she fell in love with it immediately. ZF: Interesting! DD: Well I wanted a garden....and also this is a quiet, private street, suitable for a married couple. And there's the park which is lovely. ZF: yes, very lovely DD: So that's how we ended up here. We decorated together initially...with the red leather couch. :) ZF: hee hee DD: and then eventually I decided I wanted to redecorate the whole place. ZF: of course. Did you use any RL resources as reference? DD: I needed an outlet for my creativity. Oh...haha not really except the kitchen. I was thinking about going for a modern, Bauhaus style ZF: And what did you model the kitchen after.....tell me again? DD: I probably would have done that if we ended up taking the apartment ((The kitchen is actually modeled in part after my rw kitchen when I lived in New York in an old railroad flat. It also fits my backstory)) ZF: ((perfect)) DD: The kitchen is very typical of a New York design with the stamped tin ceiling and hexagonal tile see that in apartments throughout New York. Zoe Foodiboo nods and flips her notepad DD: After we announced our engagement we had a big engagement party at the castle....most of Berln was there. Then we let it go since this place was so much more expensive than the old one...well he let it was his castle really. ;) ZF: who catered your party? DD: Oh that's funny...the engagement party we did ourselves I think. But the wedding was catered by Morgy [Morganic Clarrington] of course ZF: tell me about the wedding.... DD: The castle was on a beach so that was a beach party. Well we got married in the church of course. It took a lot of planning - Taena was a big help with that. Aldo took care of the judge and the priest and all that. I more or less handled everything else. ZF: Judge and the priest were not from Berlin? DD: My dress was a white evening gown of Sonatta's. Oh yes they were both from Berlin ZF: Do you remember their names? DD: Father Cuthbert [Cuthbert Helendale] blessed us. The judge is the woman judge who works here...and I apologize but I've completely forgotten her name. It might be in the album. Zoe Foodiboo grins ZF: I'll check DD: (she's based on a real woman judge from the period) Frau Jo [Frau Jo Yardley] will know. ZF: okay. and your dress was a Sonatta Morales? How chic! DD: Yes...well, originally I had wanted Aloysia to make my dress...but she never got around to it. So I had my eye on this gown at Sonatta's. I purchased that and then after searching high and low found a veil to go with it. (I should tell you some rl background that is grandmother was a seamstress...and the dress I wore was very similar to the wedding dress she wore when she married my grandfather, which she made herself) Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: (You sometimes hear me talking about my ic mother...that character is a french version of my Italian grandmother) ZF: ahhh DD: (I weave a lot of real life references into my backstory) ZF: fabulous DD: So the wedding was at the church and then the reception took place at the Adlon. I decorated the church with white and purple roses to match the bridesmaid dresses, which were from Curious Seamstress. I wanted them to have gowns they could wear on other occasions. I have one myself! ;) ZF: :) DD: I bought all the dresses for them. One vivid memory I have... Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: When we were getting ready for the ceremony all the bridesmaids and myself gathered in the library, we were peeking out the windows trying not to be seen. Taena was outside orchestrating everything and sending me messages when relevant. Zoe Foodiboo flips a page DD: So I have fond memories of that library Zoe Foodiboo grins DD: (I've never been married in rl and have no intention to do so, so it was sort of fun to see what that would be like) ZF: Who were your bridesmaids and groomsmen? DD: Oh I mentioned the bridesmaids...Aloysia (which is Pola's [Pola Solo] alt, my sister (rl), my friend Katherine Barthe (both sl and rl friend), and Taena The groomsman was...oh dear! I can't remember how silly of me! Zoe Foodiboo giggles DD: This is all the bridesmaids [points to a photo in her wedding album] ZF: Did you reference any RL resources for your wedding? DD: See there we are in the library waiting for it to start. Oh yes! Zoe Foodiboo looks carefully through the album DD: (Well I used my grandmother's wedding dress as a reference but I spent hours looking at 1920s wedding dresses...) DoraDuchamp squints to see if she can find the groomsman DD: As you can see Taena took a lot of these photos DoraDuchamp frowns...maybe there was not a groomsman Zoe Foodiboo nods ZF: Aldo was new to Berlin when you two met? DD: Fairly new...I think he was here about a month or two before me ZF: Were there any SL limitations/challenges during your wedding? DD: I think there must not have been a groomsman otherwise he'd be in that photo. Well the poses...Aldo took care of all that - he had to find good poses Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: That was difficult. Taena helped him with that too. The reception. [points out another photo in the album] He danced with Frau Jo ZF: Who else attended your wedding? DD: Anyway I will close this you can look at it later. Oh wait there is one picture I want to show you. This one! This is my favorite picture. ZF: cute! DD: On Aldo's motorbike in our wedding duds. Anyway you have one... :) [Dora shows me a photo of her and Aldo on a motorbike in wedding attire] ...Can you excuse me one moment I have to powder my nose! ZF: sure DD: back. Haha...oh this song... [stops to hum along with a song on the radio]'s called "redhead" ZF: Great. Now that we've talked about one big Berlin event...let's switch gears to another. The Stephanie Helstein case.....What do you remember about that? DD: Oh...before we talk about that...I wanted to say one other thing that's very important ZF: Sure. DD: One of the things that brought Aldo and I together was our love of Berlin. When we were courting and even after we got married we had a lot of adventures in Berlin together. On one date we took a rowboat down the spree and discovered the crypt under the church... ZF: oh? DD: ...then we made our way up the church tower all the way to the top and rang the church bell. We explored the warehouse district and various other nooks and crannies...and always went to the carnivals and such ZF: any favorites? DD: So our romance is very much tied to Berlin. Well we loved the carnival and the first year Morgan had it he made a poster for us. The married couple joined at the hip - "Doraldo" - he was the one that coined that nickname for us. Anyway... ZF: Were you the first married couple in Berlin? or the first wedding, rather? DoraDuchamp looks a little forlornly toward the foyer. No we were the second DD: Zeno and gStone [GStone Turas] were the first. They were already divorced by the time I came here. ZF: Ah. Enough said. :) So you were saying.... DD: Anyway...Aldo has not been around much lately as you know. He has been detained in Italy dealing with political and family matters. I see him rarely. Zoe Foodiboo pats Dora's hand DD: I hope he will come back soon, but in the meanwhile I keep myself busy with creative projects...and mysteries! :) Zoe Foodiboo smiles DD: Stephanie Helstein for instance! ZF: You were friends with her? DD: Yes very close friends...she confided in me often. As I've lived here a long time and people are so nice to me I try to make a point of welcoming newcomers Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: Stephanie and I became friends and she confided in me that she had escaped from...was it Breman? I can't remember which town...that she had run away from an abusive husband. ZF: oh dear..... DD: Yes....Also I think that experience made her have a preference for ladies....she would tell me about women she liked in Berlin. DoraDuchamp smiles Zoe Foodiboo returns Dora’s smile DD: As it was all told to me in confidence...I kept it to myself. Annett was quite close to her as well... ZF: Of course :) DD: in some way I think her death brought Annett [Annett Jameson née Boehme] and I closer. Yes so Stephanie and I became friends and then one day a body was found underneath the bridge, badly beaten to was very violent Zoe Foodiboo's eyes widen DD: I was very upset to learn that the body had been identified as Stephanie's and I immediately suspected her husband. Annett also had gotten some threatening letters telling her to stay away from Stephanie.... ZF: oh my! DD: I went right down to the police station and told them all I knew! And I did suspect her husband all the while only because of what she'd told me...he was violent and was a brownshirt. ZF: hmmmm DD: The sad thing was that no one claimed the body from the morgue. So Desi [Desire Fallen] and I got together and claimed the body and arranged and paid for the funeral...Desi paid for most of it. Desi who lives next door Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: I can't remember if that was before the divorce...anyway there was a lovely funeral in the church...a number of people came. Then we had a luncheon catered by...who else...Clarrington! [Morganic Clarrington] ZF: Did Father Helendale give the service? DD: Yes. I read the Eulogy. I may have a copy of it...I wrote it myself. Father Cuthbert [Helendale] would not do the ceremony for our wedding, but he did it for the funeral. And he's done it since I think. ZF: ((she actually gave me some documents and I can't find them in my inventory...I met her when I first arrived)) DoraDuchamp shuffles around in a drawer DD: Here you go. ZF: Perfect, thank you. DD: Yes well there were some newspaper articles and eventually what happened was that the husband was arrested in the town they were from for bribing a police officer. Then he was charged with the murder of his wife. So as I suspected all along it was the husband. Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: (But here is the interesting part!)(A few months before this happened Morgan [Morganic Clarrington] and I were in Der Keller talking to Frau Jo and we suggested it would be fun to have a murder mystery in Berlin! I found out a few months after the Helstein incident that the whole thing was entirely planned by Frau Jo! ZF: Interesting! DD: (Stephanie was brought in as a special RP person to play the story out...and it was based on a real murder case). (YES) (What was amazing was to find myself at the cetner of it!)(I don't know who else was in on it, I suppose the police were, but it was a load of fun) Zoe Foodiboo smiles DD: Did you have any other questions about that? ZF: None that I can think of....What happened to her husband? Was there a trial? DD: Oh well he never came here but there was a newspaper article circulated that he was arrested and convicted of the murder. Not in Berlin...just the newspaper story. ZF: ah... DD: There have been other trials here but I have missed them all! Zoe Foodiboo nods ZF: Now, I have in my notes that you organized some sort of competition for the men of Berlin? DD: Yes! Haha that was going to be my next topic. ZF: Tell me about that. DD: Yes well...It all started because I was spending a lot of time at the Eldorado...and always on stage there were scantily clad ladies.... Zoe Foodiboo chuckles DD: ...and then one day I was talking to some folks about this at Der Keller...and I hatched a plan together with Crispin [Sturges] (the truth is it was really HIS idea!) Zoe Foodiboo is not surprised in the least DD: have a men's leg competition. Everyone loved the idea except of course Frau Jo who thought we were all a bunch of perverts ...she's so Victorian...and Sonatta agreed immediately to host it at the Eldorado ZF: she can be a bit stuffy... DD: My theory was that men should be treated equally as sex objects to the women ZF: I agree! DD: So each of the men came and had to show off their legs and do a little routine of some sort. Aldo actually came which was hilarious. He showed a Rosecrucian tattoo he has on his thigh ZF: oh my! DD: And let's see who else... DD checks some notes in a notebook DD: (I'm looking in inventory since I still have all the tip hats!) Zoe Foodiboo grins DD: We put a tip hat in front of each contestant and the winner was whoever got the most tips! all the proceeds went to the sim! It was a benefit. We made a nice chunk of change...I can't remember exactly how much but it was a couple of thousand lindens. Here is the lineup: Sturges [Crispin Sturges], vonTrumper [Paul vonTrumper], Mills [Aldo Mills], Loire [Sein Loire], Gedenspire [Desmond Gedenspire aka Desireme Fallen Gedenspire]. Gus [Gustov Chesnokov] didn't participate sadly. Rose [Rosemary Thyme Chesnokova] said he could but he couldn't make it. Anyway you probably know that Sein won! We still tease him to this day about it! ZF: Well, he does have stunning legs :) "Desmond", right? DD: Oh...That's right, it was Desi! haha! Crispy was second...he wore stockings and a garter belt, which I thought was quite bold...Crispy has nice gams too! ZF: I believe Wulfi [Wulfride Blitzen] helped him a lot with his costume... DD: It was very close between the two of them. I'd already seen him in his liederhosen. ZF: ((Yes, I was dumping gobs of money in both!)) DD: Anyway that was a lot of fun...I want to do another one. That was really my first Berlin project. Now I have two more.... ZF: Oh? DD: the radio project and the Flapperettes. ZF: Ah. Which shall we talk about first? DD: The radio I think. So that is Taena's project.... ZF: Is that a prototype in the corner there? DD: Yes exactly...the final looks nothing like that. There's the final vendor art...that's what the final one will look like Zoe Foodiboo: thank you! DD: Frau Jo and Taena made it together. Frau Jo wouldn't let us use this one because she felt it was not authentic 1929 ZF: It's smashing! DD: So Taena did all the engineering...she's a genius! She came up with the system to play songs as sound effects and we iterated and tested it to death. I spent hours listening to it and taking notes and sending them to her and I was put in charge of music. So we will have four collectsions, Broadway 1 and 2 and Cotton Club 1 and 2 ZF: Very nice! DD: It can hold up to 50 songs! It's a technical marvel. I also did all the graphics and logos and the ad art Zoe Foodiboo looks visibly impressed DD: :) Yes I'm very proud of's taken ages to finish. I think it will be out soon though...just in time for Christmas! Haha. We started on it last summer! ZF: lovely! DD: and Taena worked on it before that. DD: Now in terms of your earlier question, I did a TON of historical research on this. The music of course...I spent hours in song archives ZF: online or in person? DD: Online. And then also did a ton of research to get the graphics right Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: I also have a friend who is a 78 expert and he has re-released a number of 20's albums. I will use his stuff for the next set of collections. I also researched the graphics...I really wanted the graphics to be authentic Zoe Foodiboo nods ZF: So the Flapperettes... ZF: Tell me about them? DD: Yes so the Flapperettes...Zeno sent a call out for auditions for a dance never even crossed my mind to audition... Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: but then he contacted me and told me he had hoped I would audition. I was quite flattered. Adele [Kling] and Tequila [Mockingbird aka Krovac] were both it it as well. We are good friends and neighbors ZF: perfect! DD: Adele more or less talked me into it! So the way it is working now is that the three of us are more or less running it. I do all the music, Adele interfaces with Zeno on booking gigs and publicity. Tequila does the choreography and the sets. And all three of us work on costumes. I'm also the stage manager so I boss people around on stage. hehe ZF: You make your own costumes? DD: ...and call all the queues. No no...we buy them all. Zeno has a budget ZF: Nice. DD: But the sets are all made by Tequila ZF: wow! DD: I also book the DJ's and such. And then Sasa [Sasa Steigerwald] and Luzie [Cheng] and the three of us are the "Principals" and we have some understudies Zoe Foodiboo nods and scribbles DD: Right now we have Lulu (victoriaweibes)and we will probably add one or two more. I think Annett will join after she has her baby...which I hope is soon! It's fun being a Flapperette! Zoe Foodiboo nods and smiles DD: Zeno always said he would make us big stars...we do get a lot of attention ZF: If anyone can, it's him! DD: We are doing our first show outside of Berlin on October 11. I've also thrown a couple of parties. We had a Baby Shower for Rose at Tequila's and one for Annett here ZF: how lovely DD: (Now the only problem is that I found out AFTER I'd gotten them all organized that baby showers didn't really start until later)(apparently they had parties after the baby was born since the infant mortality rate was so wasn't until later...I think the 40s or even 50s that they staarted having parties before the birth)( invitations are authentic...I did a ton of research on those) :) ZF: Oh I think I remember having that discussion with someone.... DD: I really love doing graphics and old timey images Zoe Foodiboo nods DD: Here is our wedding invitation(I hope it's okay I'm giving you all this stuff) That was my own design but based on graphics of the time and fonts and such. I spent hours and hours collecting 20s appropriate fonts. (You can tell when you look at the graphics) Oh and I started two groups: ZF: sure, I’ll pass them on to Sein DD: The Berlin Ladies Social Club, and the Jazz Babies group which is for 20s aficionados ZF: What sort of activities do these groups do? DD: Haha..well the baby showers were Ladies Social Club events. We haven't really had any others although we've talked about having "teas"(where we drink martinis) but I suppose I ought to do something with it eh? The Jazz Babies group is more for announcements like dances and such Zoe Foodiboo grins DD: And then I also do something I call the Berlin Breakfast Club. I noticed that people are in Berlin between around 7 and 9pm SLT. So if I come in and see a lot of people online I go over to the Cafe Elektric and announce the Berlin Breakfast Club is meeting there. Usually anywhere from two to five or six people show up ZF: Nice! DD: I haven't done it in a couple of weeks but it's become a little late night event...early morning Berlin time...sometimes we sit there until the sun comes up ZF: Sounds marvelous! DD: Is there anything else you wanted to ask me about? ZF: hmmm.....I can't think of there anything else you'd like to share? DD: Nothing that I can think of.... Zoe Foodiboo smiles DD: I think I told you I volunteered to take over the museum ZF: Well, this has been fascinating, Dora - thank you! DD: I hope Frau Jo agrees! :) ...but that's the future! Thank you Zoe....I'm glad we finally got to do it! ZF: It's always good to have something to look forward to. DD: Yes! Zoe Foodiboo drains her drink DD: Well I really love Berlin...I think you can see that! DoraDuchamp smiles ZF: Indeed. Well, thank you again. I won't keep you any longer. DD: I was so thrilled when you started the project and the archive. Thank you so much for coming over! ZF: Oh it's been wonderful! I just adore Berlin! DD: Yes it's a wonderful place. Have a nice evening! I look forward to hearing from you with the results! DoraDuchamp waves Zoe Foodiboo smiles and waves DD: Ciao ADDENDUM: *Herr Mills was subsequently overtaken by the realis vita virus and never returned to Berlin. The two were divorced a month following this interview.

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