Suzanne Forbes, an expat New Yorker in Berlin. Made possible by the generous support of her Patrons. https://www.patreon.com/SuzanneForbes. Former DC Penciller for Star Trek, former courtroom artist, painting portraits and teaching drawing.
Here are some marvelous Berlin artists and performers from my October drawing spree!
My tablemates at Vaudeville Variety Revue were all very kind and enjoyed my drawing. The silver man is a friend of LaLaVox, who co-produces Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, and I will have to get his name from her. His silver face makeup was the best I’ve ever seen, and his sheer chiffon gown over his silver suit was actually yellow with yellow pompoms and huge yellow faceted rhinestones!
Le Pustra is an incredible performer, producer and muse.
Here he is releasing some hooligan spirits from Valentina Demonia , who was one of the models at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin in October. Here are some of my previous drawings of this elegant man and here is his Instagram so you can check out his ethereal works!
Jo Pollux is an amazing photographer.
I drew this at her installation of her photographs at the Berlin Porn Film Fest. She was exhibiting a series she had just shot that week called “As you wish, my Lady”, which featured Sadie Lune. I stared at the pictures for a long time in the small crowded theater. They are full of mystery and time, like Le Pustra’s evocation of Weimar Berlin.
I am only beginning to open the jewel box of inspiration and fascination that is the people of Berlin.
Another performer I really liked drawing at Vaudeville Variety was Chris Harder.
He is seriously HARD-working and honestly worked the stage into a lather! And he was super friendly and nice, and is made entirely of cheekbones and muscles, like an ambassador from the Buff Gayboy Planet. He wore a light-up g-string, which was grand!!
Spending time at the theater during rehearsal gave me a wonderful opportunity to see the performers in regular lighting.
I made rough drawings to get to know their movement, like the one below. I got to look at them up close and chat with them during dinner.
I really enjoyed the saga of the medium who is possessed by the ghost of a bride.
And working on different transparency techniques for the bride’s veil!
As you can see I purchased my first white gel pen and used it for the first time on these.
Like all other tools I use, my crude multi-media “technique” will quickly contaminate it with chalk particles and destroy it! But it sure was fun to have something precise to make marks on the Strathmore Toned Gray paper with. It was so much like using the Pentel White Paint Markers that first appeared at Pearl Paint around 1981-1982. They were the biggest thing ever for us NYC graffiti writers!
I had to photograph this one rather than trim it for the scanner cause there was just too much going on at the edges!
I should either get a bigger scanner or start not using the whole page, which is unlikely since “use the whole page” was drilled into me at Parsons from age seventeen.
Previous post from this session here. Thank you LaLaVox and Le Pustra for another incredible night! What a gift you give us!
And thanks to my Patrons on Patreon whose financial support makes it possible for me to go to events like this. You are the best.
Finally got a minute and I’m finishing up the last of the Vaudeville Variety drawings.
Here’s showboyLou Henry Hoover, of Kitten N’ Lou. Lou is a tremendous performer but I confess I did not know the pop song or get the joke of this act; everyone else was laughing though!
And Dusty Limits, singing the Cabaret classic “Don’t Tell Mama”.
Dusty was the emcee and very charming. I attempted to persuade him and his creature to move to Berlin.
Epiphany Get Paid opened the show singing a customized version of “Science Fiction Double Feature”.
It was torchy and lovely and had callouts like “Miss Mosh was there in silver underwear”. Epiphany is on the Instas here!
Previous drawings from this event here, here and here, and the last few to come as soon as I get a second to finish them! Having the extra hours of dress rehearsal really gave me time to get into each performer’s style.
Our artist friends Sadie and Jo had a birthday party at their studio space in Neukölln on a dark cold November night.
My husband has been feeling slowly better all the time after becoming a cyborg this past summer, and I was very happy he was up to going.
We used to go to things like this together constantly, until his pain became so severe his mobility was limited.
When we made our way through the dark courtyard and arrived in the candlelit space, “Daughters of Darkness” was screening in the main room. We watched the end of it.
I may have seen it with my horror-freak babysitters at the Chelsea repertory house The Elgin in the 70s, but never as an adult. I could not believe how painterly it is! Ravishing.
Then there was a sexy pomegranate strip performance. Followed by birthday spanking, which Sadie explained is an American custom.
Sadie and Jo were very elegantly dressed in long slinky gowns, and Jo hitched hers up to receive her twenty-odd spanks.
Then Jo explained that there is a Polish custom where you can right any wrongs you have done by doing them to yourself, so we all spanked Sadie!
I gave her a spank (it landed very well) just as I gave her a bite during her birthday biting on her 30th birthday back in SF in 2008.
Sadie’s birthday parties were legend in the Bay Area art/kink/sex work community back in the Oughts.
After spanking there was lots of chocolate cake! And a Vampire playlist with “This Corrosion”.
Sadie had made a sign-up list with eleven different kinds of pain she was interested in doing, and people signed up for the pain of their choice.
There were options like “Singletail”, “Scratching”, “Biting”, and “Genital Torture” and “Piercing”.
Of course everyone wanted to watch the beautiful evil queen torment her subjects, so we all gathered in a small room lined with pillows and set up for Sadie’s acts of sensation play.
It was very cosy and peaceful, and Sadie was lovely and frightening as she toyed with her pets.
My husband and I have seen many, many scenes, and I have drawn at many, many sex parties, play parties, porn shoots and orgies.
But this evening contained a remarkable moment, the first time I ever stopped drawing and just ogled because the scene was so hot.
What you see here is mostly reconstructed after the fact, from memory! Sadie leaped onto a young woman in bra and panties, growling, her leonine mane and velvet cloak alternately draping and revealing her victim. The young woman was overcome with terror and delight as Sadie bit her all over.
Sadie’s violet eyes looked black as her teeth decorated her willing prey.
But I put the pen down during the biting scene last night.
As my hub observed, Sadie really knows her work. She judged each person precisely, and every one of them was giddy with delight. Particularly the person who received the punching- they laughed their ass off the whole time. Sadie checked in with the audience regularly too; each of reacted most strongly to a different scene.
I had to grit my teeth for the whole scratching scene, even as the scratching subjects begged for more. And my hub was a little edgy during the CBT!
The last scene was piercing, and I did make a drawing but it was very sketchy. I’m terribly squeamish about needles and blood, and I had trouble looking. Especially as the piercee was totally into it and kept being up for more intense sensation! When Sadie was saying happily, “I’m just milking blood from your holes now”, I was covering my eyes!
We had a lovely time and it was so nice to go out to a sexy event with my hub for the first time in ages. Thank you, Jo and Sadie, and many happy returns!
See posts about my largest painting in many years, a double portrait of Jo and Sadie finished in October, here and here. Sadie and Jo on Instagram.
The Pussycat is a warm, snug lesbian bar that once a month welcomes a celebration of classic leatherman culture. This evening included head shaving, with a proper razor, and bootblacking.
I could smell the cigar smoke all the way down the block from the Ku’Damm.
I knocked on the door and Miss Natasha peered through the speakeasy peephole and let me in out of the cold.
Wow, what an amazing group of great-looking old-school (and young) leathermen and wow so much smoke! I love the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke. I smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day from age 13 to age 24, and people smoking freely is one of the things I love about Europe.
And yet even for me it was a lot of smoke! I actually got a tiny bit nauseous from it, like when Tom and Joe and Huck smoke corn-cob pipes on the island.
I had a fabulous time, and everyone was super friendly and nice.
The crowd was international and relaxed. It was like travelling back in time to the Chelsea of my childhood, the Chelsea and Christopher St of the ’70s and ’80s, and I felt very much at home.
I didn’t know much about bootblack fetish and culture until I worked at Wicked Grounds kink coffee shop in San Francisco in the Oughts. We had a young woman bootblack there who came in to do boot nights, and I saw the passion that people have for boot care and wear. So I was delighted to get a chance to draw Andrew the Bootshiner, above. Sadly, I missed the headshaving this time!
The Berlin Cigar Men event is produced by Olaf Hartmannsgruber. He is the same gentleman who puts on the MaleSpace main stage at Folsom Europe, which was wonderfully diverse and inclusive despite the name. I am looking forward to the next event!
Me and Daria and Marina went to ESDIP Life Drawing yesterday. Know who else was there??
Lee Dotson who I know from the Bay Area, who is living at Rah Hell’s place and co-working at ESDIP, both occurring totally unrelated to me. The world is small, and rich in co-incidence.
We did five minute poses to start.
We were blessed by Luciano, a wonderful life model. For a former comic book artist like me, there are certain body types it’s terrifically easy to draw.
Then ten minute poses.
I am having a really interesting time switching back to markers and inkline after six months of experimenting with pastels.
Towards the end we did one-minute gestures.
I did two, and worked on the left-hand one for an additional four minutes, because Spiderman!
For the last two poses, I drew the artists instead.
Several of my students and former students were in the group, which was lovely, and I wanted to capture the moment. Also, unlike most figurative artists, I’m not that interested in naked people. Even beautiful, fit, young naked people.
Daria tackled the last pose and made a terrific drawing despite the difficult angle from where we were seated. Check it out!
Life Drawing at ESDIP Berlin by Daria Rhein Nov 10 2017
You can see my previous drawings from ESDIP Berlin life drawing sessions here, and here. Naked people warning, of course!
More bug stuff, because it’s not like our house can have too much creepy bug decor.
I made this mantis shadowbox using some 1970s upholstery fabric I got in Berkeley in the late 90s, some vintage velvet flowers and little bees saved from the same era, and a machine-embroidered mantis from this amazing artist in Kiev, who is doing totally innovative textile art with the digital embroidery tech now available.
I’d always wanted an egg glossary display box.
No natural history, curiosity cabinet-themed library is complete without one! I used the 70s fabric again; a glue gun is my method of choice for stretching even wrinkled fabric smoothly across the particleboard backing of a shadowbox. Some of the little speckled eggs and the grapevine nest came from topiary ball displays I made for my first wedding, in 1993 or 4.
I have nights where I crash around the flat asking, “What would Tony Duquette Do?”
And the answer is always, “Glue gun, Passementarie, MORE.” I added a couple trims to this silk velvet patchwork upholstered bench. After the intensity of the first three quarters of this year, with teaching and drawing and painting and my hub becoming a cyborg and being sick quite a bit, I really need this November make-cation.
I made a display holder for some of the earrings I’ve sculpted, made and modified.
I just took the glass out of a deep frame and gluegunned fabric to the backing. I used a beautiful textured knitting yarn left over from some lovely crochet blossoms my mom made me; the texture keeps the earrings from sliding around.
And most significantly of all, I got one of my first adult textile art pieces back up on display.
I made this mantel scarf of crushed changeant velvet and celestial Czech glass buttons and bead embroidered wire and pleated ombre ribbon cockades in 1999.
I was living with my second husband in a gorgeous Craftsman fourplex in North Berkeley. It was the first place I ever painted like I truly wanted my home to be, in insane shades of aniline violet, quinacridone red, and chartreuse. It was full of built-ins I decoupaged with gilt paper Dresden trim, Victorian frogs and lizards, and accented in burnt orange.
We gave such parties there. It was such a beautiful home. I loved my second husband, or who I thought he was, so much.
This piece was in storage for a long time, and it hurt me every time I came across it in my increasingly desperate and disenfranchised moves.
When the Great Recession finally ebbed a bit and I moved in with the man who became my third husband, I thought about getting an electric fireplace, where it could be displayed. There just wasn’t enough room in the exquisite jewelbox Craftsman apartment in Oakland that I designed to showcase his Black Irish beauty.
Here in our home in Berlin, we have plenty of room.
I used my glue gun to apply an emerald botanical brocade to the top of the particleboard shelf I had attached to the top of the electric fireplace I got on eBay.
Again, using a gluegun and moving fast, smoothing the glue flat with my fingers as I go, allowed me to get a nice flat surface bonded to the mantel. Then I just gluegunned the mantel scarf onto the brocade and added a few tacks to stabilize. I’ll add some finishing gimp braid and brass upholstery tacks soon as I get around to making it to Bauhaus.
Sorry I couldn’t get a better picture in our dark haus but we like it this way :))