Hello. Have you met Anita Berber?

She was a disasterpiece. I think you'd like her.
A product of the sexually and socially liberated period of German history called the Weimar Republic, Anita was the daughter of a violinist father and actress mother, who was dancing in Berlin cabarets by age 16, in 1917.
She became a film actress is 1918, and was dancing fully nude by 1919. She wore her hair in an ultra-modern, bright-red bob, along with thick stage make-up, whether she was onstage or not.
But honestly, the dancing and acting was secondary to her open bisexuality, scandalous behavior, and GARGANTUAN drug habits.

And yes, habits, multiple.
Berber was addicted to alcohol, cocaine, opium, and morphine. But one of her favorite drugs was chloroform and ether, mixed in a bowl. She would stir the bowl with the bloom of a white rose, and then eat the petals.

Have you ever heard anything so extra in your ENTIRE LIFE.
When not dancing her self-choreographed nude pieces, which had titles like "Cocaine" and "Morphium," for rapt and scandalized audiences, Berber could sometimes be seen in hotel lobbies, nude except for a sable wrap, a pet monkey, and a silver brooch filled with cocaine.

y e a h.
I'm sure this will shock you to hear, but Anita's addiction made her... somewhat unreliable to work with. And live with.

After her 1919 marriage to a screenwriter ended in 1921, she dated a series of beautiful women before settling in long term with bar-owner Susi Wanowski.
Long-term for Anita, anyway.

By 1922, she was serious with dancer Sebastian Droste, who shared her love of the stage, love of dance, and love of coke. Together, they choreographed a show called "The Dances Of Depravity, Horror and Ecstasy.”
But you know what's less reliable than one cocaine addict?

Two cocaine addicts.

After blowing off show dates, breaching contracts, and selling multiples of "exclusive" engagements, the two were expelled from the International Artist's Union and banned from performing.
The IAU ban meant Sebastian and Anita could only perform on non-union stages in places like Italy and Yugoslavia, which were... not as glamorous as they were used to. 3 months after their 1923 marriage, Sebastian pawned Anita's fur coats and jewels, and hopped a boat to NYC.
Abandoned and penniless, Anita moved back in with her mom in Germany.


And married an American dancer, Henri Chatin-Hoffman, in 1924, after knowing him for two weeks.

Anita is now about 23, by the way. Marriage number 3.

ANYWAY, things actually went okay for a couple of years! Henri and Anita collaborated on pieces, and took “Dances of Sex and Ecstasy” on tour in 1926.

When they were in Yugoslavia, Anita publicly insulted the King and was imprisoned for six weeks.

Monarchs, am I right?
It's okay, he'd get his soon enuff.

But not as soon as Anita would, sadly. Collapsing onstage in Beirut during a Middle Eastern tour in July of 1928, Anita was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis wouldn't be curable until 1949.
Immediately wanting to return home, the trip back to Germany took months, due to Anita's exhaustion and need to rest after every leg of the journey. Travel costs ate up what little Henri and Anita had made from performing.
Anita Berber made it back to Berlin just in time to die of consumption in Bethanien Hospital in Kreuzberg, November 10th, 1928. She was 29.

Stone broke, she was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in St. Thomas Cemetery in Neukölln.
As a result, today, no one knows exactly where Anita is, other than "probably in the cemetery, somewhere." However, this memorial plaque is affixed to a house she once lived in, in Berlin. As far as I know, it's her only memorial marker.

But what a life, huh?
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