Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Cabaret Spirit of Berlin, alive in people.

Silver Man at Vaudeville Variete Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 30 2017Here 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 at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Nov 30 2017Le 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.

Chris Harder: Rhinestone Cowboylesque!

Chris Harder Vaudeville Variete Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 27 2017Another 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!!

Chris Harder pre show at Vaudeville Variete Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 27 2017Spending 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.

Chris Harder sketch at Wintergarten Berlin Oct 10 2017 by Suzanne ForbesPrevious drawings from this event hereherehere and here. Thank you Sheila Wolf, producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, for your hospitality!

And thanks to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to document Queer Berlin!

Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin: The Haunted Medium and the Ghost Bride.

dr sketchys Berlin drawings by Suzanne Forbes Nov 26 2017Dr. Sketchy’s here in Berlin features elaborately costumed models, fabulous sets, and often multiple skits and wardrobe changes.

Dr Sketchys Berlin Haunted Medium by Suzanne Forbes Nov 25 2017I 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!

Dr Sketchys Berlin Ghost Bride by Suzanne Forbes Nov 26 2017

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!Dr Sketchys Berlin Ghost Bride and Haunted Medium by Suzanne Forbes Nov 26 2017

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.

Previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin posts hereherehere and here.

 

 

Genderqueer Berlin at its finest: Vaudeville Variete Revue favorites!

Lou at Vaudeville Variete Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 25 2017Finally got a minute and I’m finishing up the last of the Vaudeville Variety drawings.

Here’s showboy Lou 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!

Dusty Limits at Vaudeville Variete Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 25 2017And 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 at Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 25 2017Epiphany 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 herehere 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.

Thank you Sheila Wolf, producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, for your hospitality!

And thanks to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to document Queer Berlin!

November 2017 Unterwegs: the Leopard Print Backpack.

leopard backpack by Suzanne Forbes Nov 16 2017I made this entire drawing to showcase this fellow’s on-trend leopard print backpack.

black and white unterwegs seated november 2017 Suzanne ForbesOf course, it is also a technical exercise on multiple levels. First of all, it is the drawing without any black ink line I said I might ultimately challenge myself with last month.

Second, it is an exercise in defying the classic light and dark value principle that lights come forward and darks recede.

black and white unterwegs seated november 2017 Suzanne ForbesAnd third, it is a chance to try and get some of the value rather than line based effects I’ve been working on with the pastel drawings in an ink drawing. I am very pleased with it.

It looks a bit like a sepia ink wash drawing. It was definitely influenced by seeing the ink wash drawings of comics artist Nicola Scott on Instagram.

black and white unterwegs arm november 2017 Suzanne ForbesI’ve also been making little white pencil drawings on black paper.

Just for fun, as a way to see what happens with my brain when drawing in reverse. When I get home I add a bit of white conte crayon to punch up the contrast.

black and white unterwegs ladies november 2017 Suzanne ForbesAnd here’s another sepia tone marker drawing, from the top deck of the M29.

I did most of this one a week before the one at the top, and you can see I had a quantum leap of understanding of about using tonal marker values between the two.

M29 upper deck by Suzanne Forbes Nov 16 2017black and white unterwegs hat november 2017 Suzanne ForbesBut they have the same date of signature, because they were both finished at home this week.

I am trying to stick to ink mostly for a bit, both to see how the insights I got from the pastels transfer over and because the pastel drawings take so much finishing work at home.

I’d rather get the drawings mostly or totally done on site and on the u-bahn home. I don’t like having work to finish lying around the house.

I’d rather be working on all my mixed media multidisciplinary crazy insect stuff at home if I don’t have a model to paint!

I’ve never been interested in the process of drawing itself, for its own sake. That is purely work to me.

I’m interested in how drawing allows me to capture real people and tell their stories.

More unterwegs here:

September 2017

July bonus round

July

June

May bonus round

May round one

April

March 2

March

January

December

November

Leathermen and cigars in Schöneberg, at the Pussycat Bar.

Berlin Cigar Men smokers by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017My friend Miss Natasha Enquist invited me to join her at Berlin Cigar Men, a cigar lounge night at a wonderfully cosy bar called The Pussycat.

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.

Berlin Cigar Men bar scene by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017I 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.

Bootblack at Berlin Cigar Men by Suzanne Forbes Nov 12 2017I 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!

Check out the bottle of Tom of Finland Organic Vodka in the top pic- it has a Tom drawing on the bottle and a percentage of the profit from sales is donated to the wonderful Tom of Finland Foundation!

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!

Drawings from Folsom Europe here and hereIt’s the monthly financial support of my Patrons on Patreon that makes it possible for me to document gay life in Berlin and publicly share it. You can help, for a dollar or less than a euro a month!

ESDIP Life Drawing happytimes!

10 minute life drawings by Suzanne Forbes at ESDIP Berlin Nov 10 2017Me 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.

5 minute life drawings by Suzanne Forbes at ESDIP Berlin Nov 10 2017We 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.

10 minute life drawings by Suzanne Forbes at ESDIP Berlin Nov 10 2017Then ten minute poses.

I am having a really interesting time switching back to markers and inkline after six months of experimenting with pastels.

5 and 1 minute life drawings by Suzanne Forbes at ESDIP Berlin Nov 10 2017Towards the end we did one-minute gestures.

I did two, and worked on the left-hand one for an additional four minutes, because Spiderman!

ESDIP Berlin life drawing artists by Suzanne Forbes Nov 10 2017For 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

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!

You can come to life drawing at ESDIP once a month. And you can sign up for our Illustration Intensive Program starting again in January if you want me to teach you to draw hands like a boss!

It’s the monthly financial support of my Patrons on Patreon that makes it possible for me to be a working artist. You can help, for a dollar or less than a euro a month!

 

November bricolage roundup- shadowboxes, passementerie and mantelpieces!

mantis bricolage shadowbox by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017More 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.

Egg shadowbox by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017I’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.
Glue gun party by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2017

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.

jewelry holder by Suzanne ForbesI 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.

mantel scarf by suzanne forbes 2000I 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.
mantel scarf and fearless pink Gay Santa by Suzanne Forbes 2000 2016I 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 :))

mantel scarf and Fearless Pink Gay Santa in salon by Suzanne Forbes 2000 2016

More interior decorating and bricolage posts:

Our home, Halloween decor, decoupage and bug shadow boxes, passementerie and staining furniture, lamps and frames, more frames, No-Kill Butterfly Gallery, bas-relief rococo insect mirror, and Fearless Pink Gay Santa, as seen on the mantelpiece.

Another fabulous Uke Boogie!

Dara Star at Uke Boogie by Suzanne Forbes Nov 9 2017This month’s theme at Uke Boogie Berlin was X for Xtra-Terrestrial.

No way was I gonna miss that! Check out alien co-host Dara Star getting some psychic energy from her glowing eyeball orb.

Toby playing theremin Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesToby performed with his torso-mounted theremin, described by Crayon Jones as the world’s first Theremin Cock!

Rah Hell at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesHost Rah Hell kept things running smoothly.

Follow her on the Instas and twitter for drum, ukelele and CAT FUN.

Women performing at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesNice to see these lovely women singing German folk music again!

Dancers uke boogie nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesSome young folks were dancing.

Alfred Ladylike at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAlfred Ladylike was in fine form, rocking out on several songs.

Davepool at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAt the end of the night, surprise guest Deadpool AKA Davepool!

You may remember David Hawkins performing at the Donut Heart video release party.

As always, a wonderful, free evening in Berlin at Uke Boogie. You can see the previous Uke Boogie drawings here. Thank you so much Rah and everybody!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beau Belle Brothers!

The Beau Belle Brothers at Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017I got to meet and draw the Beau Belle Brothers in October at Vaudeville Variety Revue!

What a thrill! They are the most gorgeous, creative boylesque pin-up models. I have been a fan of these multitalented muses since I discovered them through the work of master gay erotic artist Ali Franco. He has made a whole series of amazing paintings of them, collected in this beautiful calendar which I got myself earlier this year.

Beau Belle Brothers usherettes Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017The Beau Belle Brothers started three years ago as an art project for a photo shoot. Now they are muses to artists all over the world!

Deathbirds makes incredible costumes and loves comics, like me! Mybeautyspace is the genius hair and makeup artist behind their superb vintage aesthetic, and also loves comics.

The Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Nov 5 2017I had never drawn twins before, and it is a perfect challenge for a portraitist!

The Brothers are the kind of inspiration that make artists gleeful with happiness. And they are super nice!! It took me forever to finish these drawings, because I was wanted them to be perfect and to do justice to their beauty. I’m still not sure if the colored versions are better than the black and white.Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Oct 15 2017 wip

So I am just very much hoping to get a chance to draw them again sometime soon, perhaps at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin 🙂Beau Belle Brothers and Suzanne Forbes at Wintergarten Berlin Oct 2017

More drawings from Vaudeville Variety Revue here, here and here; thank you Sheila Wolf for having me as your guest!

BTW, If you like hot, tender, superbly rendered man-on-man love, check out Ali Franco’s etsy store!