Alison Moyet | July 13, 2017

This week’s episode features a candid interview with singer-songwriter Alison Moyet. Alison talks about growing up and feeling awkward, the punk scene where she found refuge, her meteoric rise to fame with Yazoo, the ups and downs of her solo career, her years of personal struggle and fight for creative control in the music business that led her off the grid for nearly 15 years, as well as her latest album OTHER. Basildon, body image and much more in this intimate conversation with a music icon.

Alison's Strange Women Throwback

Poly Styrene

Poly Styrene

Founder and lead singer of the punk band X-Ray Spex, Styrene is known as an archetype for modern-day feminist punk (Billboard Magazine), largely because she was bi-racial, wore dental braces, stood against the typical sex object female of 1970s rock star, and sported a gaudy Dayglo wardrobe.  She was “one of the least conventional front-persons in rock history, male or female.”  X-Ray Spex launched their debut single in 1977.

Styrene’s overt feminism and mixed-race heritage marked her out among her punk contemporaries and won her legions of fans for generations to come. Beth Ditto, singer with Gossip, said: “Poly Styrene [was] so ahead of her time. She recreated punk,” and in this episode Moyet explains how seeing Styrene perform gave her the confidence she needed to become a performer herself.

Shannon Taggart | July 6, 2017

In this week’s episode Shannon Taggart talks Spiritualism and the strangest things she’s witnessed, Feminism, the Fox Sisters and Michael Jackson.

Taggart started photographing the mediums of Lily Dale in 2001, and for 16 years after has documented the séances and practices of modern Spiritualism. Taggart has curated museum exhibits on spiritualism and has photographed basement Voodoo temples for CNN and Time and her work has appeared in Newsweek. She is the author of the upcoming book Séance: Spiritualist Ritual and the Search for Ectoplasm.

Shannon's Strange Women Throwback

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull was an American leader of the woman’s suffrage movement. In 1872, Woodhull ran for President of the United States. The only place women had a platform to speak in public was in the Spiritualist community. Leaders such as Victoria Woodhull and Susan B. Anthony were able to run for office and appeal to the public on such controversial matters as equal rights was because of Spiritualist communities namely, Lily Dale, NY. Woodhull made her first fortune as a magnetic healer and went on to make her second fortune with her sister as the first women to start a Wall Street firm.

Ilise S. Carter | June 12, 2017

The premiere episode features the “Sweetheart of the Sideshow” Ilise S. Carter aka The Lady Aye. Carter talks frankly about why she invented a persona to get over stage fright, how swallowing swords helped her overcome bulimia, the difference between woman in the field and making a name for herself as a sword swallower, block head and fire-eater.

As an award-winning writer, Ilise S. Carter’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The AV Club, Bust, O Magazine and other outlets. As the Lady Aye, she is one of fewer than three dozen living female sword swallowers, who’s worked with everyone from Cirque de Soleil to Rob Zombie and has been called one of “the masters of modern sideshow,” by Sideshow World.

Ilise’s Strange Women Throwback

Edith Clifford

Edith Clifford

Clifford learned the art at the age of 13 and could swallow 24 swords simultaneously, razor blades, bayonets, and saws. When she was a veteran, Harry Houdini witnessed her act and was so impressed that he wrote about it in 1920 in his book “Miracle Mongers and their Methods”: “The sensation of her act was when the point of a bayonet 23 1/2 inches long and fastened to the breech of a cannon was placed in her mouth and the cannon discharged with the recoil driving the bayonet down her throat.”