Witch's Kitchen
Part 2: From Genius Inc. to Beggar Bar
Shana Lutker

Witch's Kitchen is a commissioned artist project, in which Shana Lutker shares and repurposes her research in a series of visual essays layering archival, found, and constructed images and texts.

The second installment from the Witch's Kitchen Archive presents the enthralling story of Judith Malina's first encounter with Valeksa Gert and Beggar Bar in New York around 1943. Lutker presents an edited excerpt from Malina's memoirs as a graphic text. Images illustrate and animate the story of 17-year-old Malina's all-night adventure that culminated in her landing a job as the hat-check girl at Beggar Bar, Valeska Gert's underground cabaret in the West Village from 1941-1944.

Actress, writer, and director Judith Malina (1926-2015) was co-founder of The Living Theatre, a radical political theater troupe that rose to prominence in New York City and Paris during the 1950s and 60s and lives on in the East Village. Her time as the hat-check girl at Beggar Bar under the wing of Valeska Gert was hugely influential on her work and activism.

The Witch's Kitchen Archive reflects the process of research and shares some of the tangents and tidepools of the growing collection of articles and images exploring the legacy of Valeska Gert. Like everything, this project has been shaped by the lockdowns to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Research in the time of coronavirus is limited and constrained, and thus leaves more gaps to be filled in by the imagination.

Text: Edited excerpt of Judith Malina, "A Memoir of Valeska Gert and Beggar Bar." Published in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Volume 41, Issue 3, September 2019. MIT Press, p. 1-16.

Select Sources and Bibliography

Page 1, 2, 11, 16, 17, Google Maps. Google.

Page 1: Saxon, Wolfgang. "Leo Shull, 90, Editor and Owner of Show Business." The New York Times. The New York Times, April 2, 1996.

Page 4: "Elizabeth and Marriage - The Early Rule of Queen Elizabeth I - Edexcel - GCSE History Revision - Edexcel - BBC Bitesize." BBC News. BBC. Accessed January 13, 2021.

Page 5: Morris, Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose). "This Greenpoint Church Was Designed by a Well-Known Medieval Gothic Revivalist Architect." Brownstoner, October 17, 2017.

Page 6: Greenlight 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe New York City Police Department NYPD Vehicle (1:18 Scale)

Page 7, 8: Pollard, James. "Found in a High School Restroom: Cache of 1940s Wallets and Their Contents". Riverfront Times, June 21, 2019. Accessed January 11, 2021.

Page 10: Advertisement for Valeska Gert's Beggar Bar in the New York weekly Aufbau, New York, 9 October 1942

Page 12: Apmann, Sarah Bean. "The Women's House of Detention." Village Preservation, May 19, 2020.
Blanshard, Julia (January 9, 1932). "Modern skyscraper prison will be 'school' for women". The Meridan Daily Journal. Retrieved January 9, 2021.

Page 13, 14: "Waldorf Cafeteria, Greenwich Village (Getty Museum)." The J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles. Accessed January 13, 2021.

Page 19: Drew. "Looking Up: The Washington Square Arch." Village Preservation, May 27, 2020.

Page 24: Valeska Gert, c.1940.

Page 27: Norman Rockwell, Hat Check Girl, 1941. Saturday Evening Post cover, May 03, 1941.

Page 28: Maria Collm https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Collm

Page 29: "In Memoriam: Judith Malina." Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, February 20, 2019. Weber, Bruce.
"Judith Malina, Founder of the Living Theater, Dies at 88." The New York Times. The New York Times, April 10, 2015.