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.
This guy reminded me of a boy named Raj I had a crush on my first semester at Stuyvesant.
Something about his slightly flipped, slightly 80s hair. Raj was so cute; I used to watch him play Asteroids in Tony’s Cafe next to Stuyvesant. He went back to India at the beginning of 1981, when I was fourteen, and I never saw him again. So many people we know over a lifetime! Isn’t it amazing? And I was so fascinated by how this young guy’s body language echoes the redheaded Persephone a while back!
I guess there are only so many ways that people can sit or stand on a subway, because I have also seen and drawn this stance before!
Drawing this woman, I felt so mesmerized and exhilarated by the unique lines of every human. I just love seeing people and recording their being so much.
This goth mom was with her hairless dad and blond daughter.
She was like a burst of jet hair and clothes among them, very serene. She knew I was drawing them too! Mostly people don’t.
This was my first time making it to the Shimmy Shake Show, which features students, graduates and teachers from Berlin burlesque school The Shimmy Shake School. It is held at the beautiful vintage venue Ballhaus Berlin, where I go multiple times a year for Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.
You can call the bar to order a drink with the antique telephones on the tables, though the bar is always too busy to bring you a beverage when I’ve been there!
As you can see, the audience members were dressed for the show.
I was invited to draw at the show by Shimmy Shake teacherLa Loba Lucía, who I became a mad fan of after I saw her perform at Extravagant Shambles. She is the most leonine, ferocious, superheroic burlesque performer I have seen so far. Drawings of her act coming soon!
Meanwhile, here is another instructor, Anja Pavlova, performing a ballet-like burlesque that had a rococo Rites-of-Spring feel!
My friend and Patron Robert Wimpory is a bastion of the indie music scene in Berlin.
He goes to see everyone’s shows, all the time. (“I try to support the scene”, he will say modestly when complimented on his showing up for the community.) Plus he has a band or two and is in the OK!Chorus and often co-hosts Uke Boogie and of course, also has a (really cool) job! And he is an archivist and curator of his own history, like I am, and has a wild collection of video and film from the 80’s. Here’s his YouTube channel!
One of my very favorite things about going to events in Berlin is that the crowds are of all ages. It’s rare that I am the only middle-aged person; often there are lots of us!
And this is the lead singer of Pump Gang, below, who played some serious 90s hits.
I was listening to alt-radio for the 90s so I didn’t know most of them! Plus, there is a whole Euro-dance thing that is very specific to this side of the Atlantic, like the Vengaboys, who I only learned about last year. Apparently, they were a THING!
I had to tip out suddenly partway through Pump Gang’s set, as the decibel level was just too much for me. But nobody ever judges me for doing what’s best for me, in this community <3
I am so very grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art!
Daria, who has been the heart and the jumpstart of my life in Berlin, is moving to Hamburg.
They warn you when you come to live here, it’s a transient city, you make friends and then they move away. We haven’t seen that much, luckily, because most of our community loves Berlin like we love Berlin. Not Daria, though. Daria, who is from Moscow, hates Berlin like I hated San Francisco, being from New York. It’s completely hilarious how much her disdain for the way Berlin does city is like my mine for SF. She even makes the same face I do.
I have always understood that Daria’s talent is too big for Berlin, where nobody has any money.
I want her to have the massive success and fame she deserves even more than I want her to be near me. I want her to get to live in a city she loves, like I do.
She likes Hamburg, and moreover, she works with a tattoo studio there that is the right scale for her exploding career. She needs a platform that suits her expanding clientele. So that’s right, and as it should be, and I know I will see her when she comes to Berlin to see clients, because she’ll be sleeping on our couch!
As we are closing on the date she and her partner leave for their new city, we are making time for a portrait.
Like the portraits of our Bay Area loved ones that hang all over the house, a portrait of Daria will be a companion and comfort. We had talked about doing a glamorous one too, but with time growing short the highest priority was this vision of her. Like a Russian ballerina witch ninja vampire, absorbed in creating – she is editing photos on her iPad. Like I have watched her so many times in so many cafes all over the city that I came to know with her. Our next sitting is in April, and hopefully that will finish it; if not, we’ll finish it when she’s sleeping on our couch!
Plus, there’s a mooning contest which is pretty exciting!
So I was psyched to see this show and I was not disappointed.
Behind a secret door was a long room with a stage, lined with a very long dining table.
I took a seat on the sidelines so I could draw. (I learned my lesson about trying to eat and draw simultaneously at a LOTR-themed immersive dinner theater event put on by the Greater Bay Area Costumers’ Guild in 2005 or 6!) Most of the Full Moon attendees were in ’30s finery and there was a crew of gorgeous performers in really wonderful Shanghai 1930s style. That’s stage manager Maylisss standing in the background above; she is an expert at vintage clothing and costuming.
Below, more lovely audience and attendees!
That’s Chika, above helping with the mooning-hole!
and below with legend Vanessa Jupiter in the long gloves who is a trained massage therapist and was doing massages for the guests.Viva and her crew are so vibrant and sexy, and there is a kink vibe to the shows so I feel right at home!
This was one of those events where I wanted to draw everyone a dozen times.
Here you can seeSadie, eight months pregnant, being interviewed as she and photographerJo Pollux lie within Sadie’s piece, “Weird Sisters”. I feel like it looks like they’re in a field at night and Sadie is pointing out the constellations to Jo, telling her a story about the baby’s star sign.