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Oral History Interview with Sasa Steigerwald

(PID:15575471107) Source
posted by Zoe Foodiboo alias Zoe Foodiboo on Monday 10th of November 2014 11:07:26 PM

Date of Interview: November 9, 1929 (2014) Interviewer: Zoe Foodiboo Interviewee(s): Alexandra “Sasa” Steigerwald Location: Home of Sasa Steigerwald, Mittelstrasse Hof 1e, 1920s Berlin Project (owned and managed by Frau Jo Yardley), Second Life. Abstract: Fraulein Steigerwald has been a part of the 1920s Berlin Community for nearly 3 years. She’s one of the regular girls at the Herrenclub and is a dancer (and founding member) of the dance troupe, The Flapperettes. In this interview, Frl. Steigerwald shares memories of her early days in Berlin, reminisces about the founding of the Flapperettes, and talks about her work as both an actress and model. She also spends some OOC (out of character) time discussing her roleplay methodology and her thoughts on Berlin’s past and future. Other tenants mentioned in this interview include: Frau Jo Yardley, Patrice Courneyer, Pola Solo, Mab Ashdene, Zeno McAuley, Dora Duchamp, BJ Boberg, Tequila Mockingbird, Jelena Matova, Sein Loire, Nik Darkwatch, Walter Gedenspire, Morganic Clarrington, Adele Kling, EC Moleno, Bruno Bonj, Charika Bauer, Augusta von Nassau, Rosemary and Gustov Chesnokov, Karl Bhalti, Luzie Cheng, and Florence “Flossie” Bradshaw. ********** Sasa Steigerwald: well this is my place Zoe Foodiboo settles into the couch and sneaks looks around ZF: You have a lovely home, Fraulein Steigerwald. Well then, where shall we begin? SS: let's begin with the beginning. or the end ZF: The beginning will do.... Zoe pulls out a pad and pencil, wishing for the umpteenth time that she could afford an assistant to take notes… Sasa leans over to let her cigarette ashes fall into the ashtray Zoe quickly rummages in her purse, fishes out a cigarette, then settles back into her seat SS: so what do you want to know? Zoe clears her throat, "Ah well....let's is it that you came to Berlin?" SS: Well, I grew up in a large mansion outside Berlin, in Potsdam, so I've always been close to Berlin. And from early on, I knew that Berlin was the place where things happen...when Potsdam was choking me to death by boredom. Zoe jots down a few notes, "mmmhmmm....Potsdam....mmmhmmm….” SS: so I decided to move here two years and nine months ago. It was in February 1927. My family had other plans for me. Zoe Foodiboo: Oh? SS: First of all, when I showed that I wasn't happy with my life there, my mother wanted me to join a monastery and become a nun. I did not want that at all …. No way. Zoe nods thoughtfully SS: It was such a boring childhood signs of affection. Just keeping up the appearance. Snobbery. I left when I could. Any kind of life would be better than that life. Zoe nods, "Did you know anyone here? Where did you stay when you first arrived?" SS: I was lucky to find a small smelly basement apartment at Bruderstrasse. And no not really, I didn't know anyone. Zoe wrinkles her nose ever so slightly at the mention of Bruderstrasse. SS: But I quickly got some friends. ZF: Was it easy making friends? Where did you spend your time when you first arrived? And whom did you meet? SS: I tried to actually spend some time at the library, but I got bored. Sorry. Zoe smiles, initially pleased....then frowns SS: so I ended up at the places where people meet and I got to meet my neighbors. I met Charika [Bauer], Augusta [von Nassau], Karl [Bhalti], the Chesnokovs [Rosemary and Gustov Chesnokov] and then I met Flossie [Bradshaw], wherever she is now… ZF: Flossie! SS: I also met and got to know BJ Boberg [Bror Jacob Boberg, artist name BJ Blue], the musician and songwriter - he was also new in Berlin then. He didn't have a place to live so I let him sleep on my rug for some weeks. Zoe jots down "Flossie....Herr Boberg....staying with you? Unchaperoned? oh my...interesting! Were your parents still supporting you at this point? Financially, I mean. SS: I brought some savings with me - that money I was never allowed to touch. And anyway that apartment was so cheap, so anyone could afford it Zoe nods SS: my parents did not want me to stay here at all, in this sinful place. Especially moving from the mansion to the small smelly apartment next to Club Eldorado. "Undignified" ::mimics her mother's frowning:: Such boring Potsdam upper class nitwits … anyway, then I got in touch with Pola [Solo], since I realised I needed some sort of income. And I started working for the Herrenclub ZF: Ah, Fraulein Solo....Tell me a little about your first days working there. SS: I thought I could do a good job there, since men were starting to hit on me since I got to Berlin. ZF: Naturally. You're very pretty. SS: Well she told me the rules, what to do and what not to do, and I got my first client the same day. ZF: Rules? What sort of rules? SS: The wachtmeisters tend to leave us alone as long as we don't openly solicit - walking up to people and offering our service openly - we can't do that. Such double standards… Zoe arches an eyebrow SS: also, I'm forbidden to talk about my clients with anyone outside the Herrenclub. ZF: Darn. I mean....errr....of course! SS: They have to trust my discretion. Or I am at least not allowed to mention any names. ZF: What's it like working for Fraulein Solo and Fraulein [Mab] Ashdene? SS: They are fine. At least towards those who work hard and bring in a lot of money. ZF: You must do very well.... Sasa shrugs, “Well, one has to do what one has to do. There are so many things I can't do, but that I can and I do well. Like a one trick pony.” Zoe Foodiboo gazes at Sasa curiously but decides not to further pursue it, lest she find herself in dangerously indiscrete waters Sasa lights another cigarette ZF: Now then, working at the Herrenclub isn't your only job...tell me about the Flapperettes. How did that all start? SS: Yeah the flaps. That started with me seeing an ad written by Zeno McAuley. He wanted to start a dance troupe that he could manage. ZF: Herr McAuley....we do miss him so. SS: yeah, we do, but it was his idea to start it all, and me and Adele [Kling] were the first ones who auditioned. And later the same day Dora [Duchamp], Tequila [Mockingbird] and Luzie [Cheng] had joined. ZF: What was the audition process like? SS: It was more or less showing some dance moves. Nothing too exciting. Our first common practise was at the football field. ZF: Fun! Tell me about that. SS: well we just didn't have anywhere to go then, so we went there, and also it is the calmer part of Berlin so not that many nosey people would turn up. Zoe chuckles SS: our first show was at the stage at der Keller. I don't remember how many numbers we did then, maybe 3-4. ZF: What did you wear? What were your dances like? SS: the dress we always open with is the first costume we had, now we dance to the song Flapperette, but we had some other starting song then. And then we had a belly dance routine, and we still do that now and then. Zoe scribbles on her pad, trying to get it all down SS: then we have added number by number and I think we have over ten different numbers to choose between now...maybe even more. We found our roles in the group quickly anyway. ZF: Nice! Now then, Herr McAuley is no longer involved with the Flapperettes, correct? SS: No, Walter Gedenspire, Tequila's cousin, took over the manager role. ZF: I see. And who does what? The roles you mentioned.... SS: Tequila is the choreographer. Dora is the administrator ... is that the right word? Zoe nods, "Sounds about right." SS: Jelena [Matova] who just have joined is in charge of the photographing. We all help with the stage changes. Teki [Tequila] also creates the stage backdrops. My main task up until now has been to make sure the egos get along and don't start fighting during the rehearsals. ZF: That sounds like quite a job. SS: The roles are changing a bit now, we're all trying new things within the group. ZF: How often do you perform and where? SS: We perform between 3-5 shows every year, and we've mostly been in Berlin but we have been abroad too on shorter tours, we've been in Paris for instance. ZF: Lovely! SS: yeah ZF: Did your fame as a Flapperette help inspire Herr Boberg's song & accompanying film? SS: Actually, it's funny that you mentioned him, since he is the one who suggested the name The Flapperettes ZF: Is that true? Interesting! SS: and we had two different suggestions and voted. Iit was 2-2 before I voted, and I voted for Flapperettes ZF: May I ask what the other suggestions were? SS: Actually i don't remember but it was long, silly and altogether horrible. Zoe grins SS: I was ready to fight for the name "The Flapperettes" but I didn't need to. ZF: Excellent. SS: but you mentioned BJ's song. ZF: Ah yes. So how did the song evolve...."Lipstick something?" SS: Do you mean "Lipstick on her knee"? ZF: yes, that's it. SS: You have to ask him about that, but he came up to me and said that he wanted to make a short movie to accompany a tango that he had written and recorded with his trio. Since the song had a story about a young dancer with blonde short hair, he thought I would be perfect for the role. ZF: Makes sense SS: so we spent around a day shooting the film out in the Berlin streets and at his apartment at Friedrichstrasse. He had a lot of patience actually. ZF: All in one day? Nice! ...a lot of patience? SS: I think he had filmed parts of the film before, parts where I wasn't in the film. Oh yeah, we filmed a bit at the Odeon theatre too. ZF: sounds like quite a project! SS: yeah well acting is not that easy. Walk here, walk there, look happy, look sad, hug him, kiss him, frown, flirt, take off your clothes...all that Zoe blinks surprised, then rearranges her face into placidity SS: and we had to make sure we stood in some different angles so we didn't show too much on the film. But the result was fine. ZF: You were also photographed for a calendar, weren't you? I seem to remember seeing something in the window of the apotheke last year.... SS: yeah I was asked to take part of that. And I was told to dress a bit sailor-like and have my photos taken at the apotheke since it was also an advert for Clarrington's apotheke. So I had around 12-14 photos taken there. Zoe nods SS: and one of them was chosen for the calendar. ZF: Who was the photographer? SS: a local photographer, I forgot his name. ZF: And was it Frl Duchamp who was in charge of publishing the calendar? SS: Yeah. Dora's always in charge. ::winks:: Zoe smiles diplomatically SS: … and anyway I've been doing some freelance modeling to keep the money coming in … ZF: Oh? SS: I got these pictures sent to me by a photographer this morning ::points at the two black and white photographs at the table in front of them:: Zoe follows Sasa’s gaze and leans in to take a look...then immediately pulls back, startled SS: yeah well it pays well Zoe stammers, "oh're...I....ummmmm....." Sasa smiles "Yeah, he wants me that way" Zoe tries to quickly think of something pleasant to say, "Nude photography can be very artful. er, artsy. I mean, Well." ::clumsily reaches for a glass on the table and pours herself a drink:: Sasa shrugs Zoe gulps her drink down, then clears her throat, "What else do you get up to in Berlin? I think I've seen you out on the football field on my way to work.” ::clears her throat again:: “Clothed.” Sasa laughs loudly “Yeah, I’ve been at the football field clothed. I love sports. Been both wrestling with EC [Moleno] and fencing with Bruno [Bonj] and I think Sein [Loire] tried to play football with us” ZF: Very nice uniforms! SS: Me and Patrice [Cournoyer] share a deep interest for football. Patrice made those uniforms and I provided some research for them. Anyway, I like athletes as well. ZF mutters "I'm sure you do..." SS: … and we both had some fun playing football down at the field… ZF: Do you have a regular team? SS: I don't know how regular I would say it is. We have played some games with friends who have joined. The team is called Hertha Berlin. ZF: You played against some men once, didn't you? SS: We were going to organize some games last summer but we had trouble with the owners of the field...but we played some games two summers ago. We played one game me and Pat against a team consisting of two guys and we won, mainly because Patrice was brilliant. ZF: Nice! Who were the men? SS: oh let's of them was a guy who later was forced away from Berlin - don't remember his name - and the other one hasn't been in Berlin for a long time now. Zoe nods SS: Alas I can't recall his name either ZF: What a shame Sasa wrinkles her forehead, “No, I can't remember” ZF: You've built quite a life for yourself here in Berlin. Is there anything we're leaving out? SS: you mean the juicy bits? Zoe giggles SS: I like to be around people. And I want people to like me. I don't know, but I really want affection, maybe because I didn't get much of it when I was a kid. Maybe that is why I dislike that old upper class twit kind of life. Zoe nods thoughtfully SS: and anyway, I have sometimes made some bad decisions when it comes to relationships … ZF: Haven't we all? SS: but I guess one gets stronger from that. Dating that communist Nik [Darkwatch] almost got me shot. But yeah, we all have - it's part of life Sasa stretches a bit in her chair and wipes some dust from her bathrobe. ZF: So it is… SS: and anyway I try to keep it all on the inside, just to show the quirky, happy, flirty, witty Sasa ZF: We love it all. Sasa frowns and blows out some cigarette smoke. SS: yeah, that's the "Sasa" we love. So that's what I do. But I keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again...if they are mistakes. Zoe listens SS: anyway, it means that there are some that aren't that keen on me here, they look down on the life i live, but it's the life I know how to live. ZF: We all must do our best. SS: ...and that I'm good at. Zoe smiles, “Now then, for the folks living in the "real" world....tell me, how did you discover the 1920s Berlin project?” SS: I had a fairly new computer and I had read about SL so I tried it, explored different sims that were presented on the SL website. And then I read about the 1920s Berlin Project, and I was amazed that it seemed to be such a lively place unlike so many nice sims filled with bots. I like the social interaction, meeting people and talking to them. I bought a yellow flapper dress from Pola Solo's store and started exploring Berlin, I sat silently by a table at Der Keller and listened to the talk . I was like a grey silent mouse, if you can imagine that, and slowly but surely I realised what kind of role I could play here. ZF: That's a good way to go about it and learn the social customs of a new place. SS: yes, the first time I danced in Berlin, it was Morganic Clarrington to asked me for a dance ZF: awww SS: probably because he felt sorry for the silent girl wearing a huge beret :D ZF: heh SS: it took around two months actually before i got my character right, and even longer before I started to understand her :D ZF: Did you do any research for your character? SS: yes ZF: tell me about that SS: first of all about the Weimar Republic, just reading the articles at the library helps a lot. Then unlike my SL character, I'm very methodical, and I actually got some inspiration from some RL characters. and also from my RL profession. Zoe nods SS: I'm a psychiatric nurse in RL (not too flattering for Sasa that I have borrowed features from patients I've met) ZF: heh - that's rather perfect, actually. SS: Yes, I know my character's fears and secret thoughts. But I can't always control her. :D She hates authorities since they remind her of her strict upbringing. So when people tell her/orders her to do a thing she refuses just for the sake of it. She can be very obstinate and she is a bit childish that way. She is very afraid of being abandoned but she is also afraid of showing her true feelings. When she gets bored she may cause mayhem just for her own entertainment and sometimes she use other people for that, and that’s not a nice feature at all. ZF: Tell me about your approach to roleplay. SS: I'm not good at long paragraphs. I prefer to let people understand Sasa through what she says. Zoe nods SS: And what her avatars does, there's no need for long descriptions. Also, it's difficult to be witty if one has to formulate a long paragraph because it has to come out quickly. Sasa has a quick tongue, and that does not fit well with long paragraphs. Zoe nods in agreement, “Sasa is known for her zingers” SS: That is probably where she is most like my real self. ZF: Awesome. I sometimes crack up at my screen after some clever remark you've made :) SS: Of course since one cannot script it, Sasa just says it without thinking. I often would stop myself in RL because I think the remark is too silly. Also, sometimes Sasa has been asked to use that quick wit during shows with the Flapperettes, but it’s not that easy. When one is asked to be witty, it becomes very tricky. ZF: So rp-ing Sasa affords you a little freedom? SS: Yes I think so ZF: You said you've been here for almost 3 years? How has the sim changed since you first arrived, if at all? Aside from all the wonderful meshing :) SS: It has grown first of all. ZF: oh, true! SS: People have come and gone and sometimes got back. Just like in real life you can't take it for granted that people will stay forever. ZF: so true.... SS: Some who I have been close to have disappeared. And some have returned. When I was new, I got the impression that there were fewer people who organized things, but they organized more things. Like Zeno. Zoe nods SS: When he left it created a sort of a hole when it came to organized events, before others started to take over and help each other organizing. And it is better that more people are active with that. I haven't organized anything though. ZF: You're so active, though! SS: I'm not an organizer really. ZF: You do help organize, even if you're not leading the project. SS: I'm not that creative. I don't come up with that many ideas, and those I come up with aren’t that new. But I think I bring some colour at least. ZF: oh pish, I think you're extremely creative. Your rp skills contribute a lot to the atmosphere, imho. Sasa smiles ZF: Do you have any hopes as far as the future of Berlin? or predictions? SS: As long as the community is active it will keep strong, but I don't know how much more it can grow Zoe nods SS: but then I didn't expect the homesteads ZF: Gosh, I just love the homesteads SS: The thing I'm thinking is that if Frau [Jo] Yardley goes on to create the next project, that London sim, it's a risk that she will start compete with herself ZF: She will need a lot of help… SS: anyway we all know that nothing lasts forever, and who knows how long SL will exist. But if that is not a problem, I think it will continue to be strong and active. But it is up to us. ZF: Well, my final question is always the same....what do you love most about our Berlin? SS: The people. That there are all sorts of people from different social and economic classes and that the feeling is so realistic here. Even if I know that the Berliners are real people who in many cases are very different from their avatars, this is where they can be whoever they want to be. That's freedom.

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