Category Archives: Berlin

A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence at Folsom Europe.

Schwester Francine of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Folsom Europe Sept 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesOn my way into the Folsom Europe street fair I made my donation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The Sisters collect charitable donations at the gates. I was immediately struck by Schwester Francine’s profile. I asked if I could draw her and her husband, who was keeping her company as she worked the gate. And she agreed and we had a nice chat!

A beautiful SLUT at Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesLots of folx had these t-shirts, which said things like “Spanker>” and “Spankee>” and lots more.

This very good-looking “Slut” was kind enough to let me draw him on my way to The Ballery. He was from Zurich, people come from all over for Folsom Europe. His companion’s shirt said “Daddy”. These were the tame shirts ūüôā

Schwester Francine of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Folsom Europe Sept 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI raced over to the stage when I heard it was time for the sash-holders’ photo shoot.

It is not a casual thing, not a beauty contest, to be a title-holder in the Leather Community. It requires learning community history, being of service, and being respected by your peers. Anyone who earns a sash has done the work to know what it means.

Next year I will do a sash-holder feature and sketch as many as I can!

Meanwhile, it is possible for me to make and share these drawings of Europe’s leather family because of the monthly financial support of my Patrons on Patreon.

You can help! And you can print, use and share my artwork because it’s licensed Creative Commons.

 

 

Queer portrait drawings from a benefit at Ludwig!

Sigrid at Ludwig Sept 16 2018 by Suzanne Forbes in installationI am on a big gay drawing binge!

Kaey onstage at Ludwig Sept 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI was asked by Maurus, our friend who runs Ludwig bar and art gallery in Neukölln, to do some live drawing at a fundraiser. Of course I said yes! And I think I hit it out of the park.

Above is singer¬†Sigrid Grajek, who the benefit was for. I snuck the portrait into the installation currently in Ludwig’s main exhibition gallery, The Serpent Eats its Tail by Russell James Redwood Harris.

Harris‘s work features textiles, textures and rich symbolism, like the men’s y-fronts (tightey-whiteys!) soaked in a salt solution until they became a pure crystalline mass of snow-white glitter.

And several beautiful feathers carefully cut out of gold leather.

Kaey and Transophonix at Ludwig Sept 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew Kaey, the MC, both while onstage and while chatting at the bar with a friend from “queer trash orchestra”¬†Transophonix.

And amazing multi-talented singer-dominabondage artist Kristina Marlen, who was there with her lovely mom. Ms. Marlen knocked the room out with a classic Berliner cabaret tune.

singer at Ludwig by Suzanne Forbes Sept 16 2018Her mom bought the drawing in the fundraiser auction, which delighted me!

It is my goal to always make myself available for LGBTQIA, sex-positive, kinky, and alternative community benefits if my spoons/health allow. In the Bay Area I did a ton of benefits and fundraisers, and I am slowly ramping up here!

I can do this work because of my wonderful Patrons on Patreon, who provide the monthly financial support that makes it possible for me to document queer life in Berlin!!

If you want an art donation for a benefit or want me to draw at an event, just let me know ūüôā I’m on Instagram here.

Queer elders at The Ballery on Folsom Europe Weekend.

Laura Halding-Hoppenheit and friends at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThere’s no Elders like Queer Elders.

Fearless, generous, battle-scarred by AIDS but refusing to be defined by loss, and still freaky as hell and ready to party. At big leather events they come out in full force, in full regalia. And I get to draw them! During this year’s Folsom Europe, my highest priority was making it to The Ballery for a celebration of “My Gay Eye”, their special Tom of Finland show. (you can see my drawings from the opening here!)

I drew Laura Halding-Hoppenheit, above, right before Durk Dehner announced she had made a generous donation to the Tom of Finland Foundation, which preserves and protects erotic art.

I was so moved that Laura was wearing a red ribbon pin, in an era when few publicly remind us of the presence of HIV and AIDS.

She is known as Stuttgart’s Schwulen-Mutter (Gay Mother) and the Jewel of Stuttgart, and was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for her social work. She serves on the local council and owns King’s Club and the newly opened Tom’s Bar, a quieter bar for the elder queers, in Stuttgart. She has made her life’s work fighting AIDS, working for tolerance for gay and trans people and helping immigrant sex workers.

Rinaldo Hopf and Durk Dehner at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI got to draw Durk Dehner again, talking about his work as an Art Protector and his curatory collaboration with Rinaldo Hopf.

The show pairs with the Tom of Finland edition of Mein Schwules Augen, a compendium of gay erotic art Rinaldo Hopf has produced for many years.¬†The pin on Durk’s tie says “Support Art!” These older gay men, they look good. They’re fit, virile. They preserve their youth by doing creative work they care deeply about, and by having sex with and choosing as partners much younger men, just as I do!

I also got to meet Henning Von Berg, the premier nude portrait photographer for the discerning private client. He has gorgeous work in the show. I will draw him next time, he is so tall he says people say, “I didn’t see you up there!”.

Otto and the drink line for Tom of Finland vodka at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThe beautiful boy with the long hair is Julian, visiting from Taiwan. He is one of the artists in the show.

Artist Otto Oscar Hernández Ruiz, assistant director of the gallery, is mixing drinks with Tom of Finland vodka, an organic vodka made with arctic water. They sponsored the show!

I chatted with Diva Tomast, below, on my way home. She was relaxing outside legendary Berlin leather shop Butcherei Lindinger. She had been onstage MC’ing earlier and I had wanted to draw her but been drawn away by a photographer who wanted to capture my Bi Pride corset.

Diva Tomast at Bucherei Lindinger Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesFolsom Europe is such a lovely event. So full of power, history and survival. And kissing and spanking!

The Leather community weathered a storm beyond imagining, a generation lost, and came out even stronger. I can’t wait to draw this leather celebration again next year!

I’m so grateful to my Patrons, whose monthly support via art funding platform Patreon makes my work happen. I couldn’t make documentary art of queer Berlin without them.

You can buy the special Tom of Finland edition of “My Gay Eye” here. You can donate to help the Tom of Finland Foundation preserve, protect and support the creation of erotic art here. And you can buy Tom of Finland vodka here, a percentage of sales goes to the Foundation! I’m sure it is delicious for people who like alcohol ūüôā

A gorgeous night at Uke Boogie, featuring local music heroes.

Gorjeoux at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesIncluding Gorjeoux!

Gorjeoux has a sparkle ukulele and performed “Toxic”, which I think is a Britney Spears song? With her own pun-ny lyric enhancements. In the funny songs category, The Ukelele Bandit performed a really good song about Brexit, but I did not draw him.

Rah Hell and Roberta at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHowever I drew hostess Rah Hell and her roomie Roberta singing a Grimes song!

and this lovely fellow who performed a virtuoso piece on the musical saw. There’s always some mystery at Uke Boogie, someone who shows up and does a spectacular turn on some instrument you’ve never heard of. It’s part of the Uke Boogie magic. I don’t know why he removed his shoes to play the saw, but he did.Musical saw at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

And I drew co-host the Great And Famous Crayon Jones in his marvelous cape and his very shiny very tight outfit!Crayon Jones at Uke Boogie Sept 13 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAlert readers will recall Crayon from my “Loving The Alien” drawings last summer.

The evening ended with Crayon, a bit drunk, playing the piano and singing “Heroes”. To hear “Heroes” in Berlin, played by someone who loves it deeply, in a roomful of people you care about, after midnight in the early Fall – well. Life is full of magic.

You can catch Uke Boogie the second Thursday of every month at Lagari. You never, ever know what’ll happen.

And keep up with drummess and ukulelist Rah Hell on the twitters and Instas. Of course, thanks to my goooorgeous Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly financial support that makes it possible for me to document queer life in Berlin!!

Previous Uke Boogie drawings here and here.

Drawing portraits of young Berlin folx at queer art space Ludwig.

S at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI went to our much-loved art hangout Ludwig on Friday for my friend Sue’s birthday.

Sue is an artist and curator and we have done lovely art events at Ludwig, however this time we were just checking out the current show and chilling. I made drawings of some friends who were there. S. was wearing their internal clitoris necklace from a local Berlin artist!

Super pleased with this likeness of E., who I was meeting for the first time.

E at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd as always, incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to make portraits of these Berlin folx and share them. 

Ok not much else to say cause I got SO MANY drawings to finish and scan and post from the rest of this Big Gay Weekend!

“Vampire Schmetterling!”- Antoine teaching kids origami at Hometown Berlin.

Antoine teaching origami at Hometown Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Aug 21 2018My friend Antoine was doing free origami workshops for little ones at an open-air street art club/installation near the Zoo.

Origami Werkstatt at Hometown Berlin Aug 12 2018I went to draw him teaching! His friend Fabienne and her little guy Hector were the first ones there.

When more kids arrived there was a funny American girl who kept busting out with these wild sayings.

The kids were all very calm, making origami butterflies, and she suddenly yelped,

“Vampire Schmetterling!”

Suzanne Forbes drawing at Origami Werkstatt at Hometown Berlin Aug 12 2018Schmetterling is German for butterfly; I was surprised she knew the word, as I had assumed her family were tourists. But perhaps she is bilingual.

Anyway, Vampire Schmetterling is my new band name.

Hometown Berlin is located on what I believe is an old bus depot, with street art, graffiti and murals, put on by the Euro-Wandelism crew.

Here’s the Instagram! Hometown serves as a club, dance floor, graffiti and mural gallery, artists’ creative space and staging area for artwork being made for Monumenta Leipzig, a huge street art installation being created in Leipzig.

Antoine teaching origami at Hometown Berlin Suzanne Forbes Aug 21 2018 detailI was sitting there in the shade drawing these beautiful people doing creative work, surrounded by artists quietly working away on projects, with excellent music from a live dj, and I thought, this is what perfect happiness feels like.  This is absolute wealth.
Suzanne Forbes live drawing at Origami Werkstatt at Hometown Berlin Aug 12 2018

You can see I’m holding the pen a little funny because of the bus accident, which I’m gradually healing from. It works fine though!

I was able to draw for an hour at Hometown, then go to the Peaches show in Mitte and draw for several hours there. My hand was swollen, but not painful.Dancer at Hometown Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Aug 12 2018

On this sunny Sunday there was an excellent DJ and I drew the first person to hit the dance floor.

It’s normal in Berlin for very casually dressed older people to be totally serious about hardcore techno dancing in the middle of the day.

I absolutely love the subway rocket in the middle of the floor. I wish we could have it in our house. In the background you can see graffiti art by kids, they just gave ’em spray cans and let them go nuts. Now I kinda also want to give our friends’ kids spray cans and let them turn our house into a total Basquiat mashup but I will hold off on that ūüôā

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and draw these beautiful people!! I make this live event art and share it for free because of my Patrons, and anyone can help for as little as a buck a month.

Drawing Durk Dehner as “My Gay Eye” opens at the Ballery.

Durk Dehner Henry de Winter and Ronald Klimmek at the Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Aug 17 2018I went to The Ballery last night for the vernissage of an amazing show of historic and modern gay erotic art.

The show and this special edition of the “My Gay Eye” book are¬†presented by¬†Rinaldo Hopf¬†and¬†Durk Dehner, the President of the Tom of Finland Foundation. Durk was representing in his Tom of Finland Foundation shirt! Rinaldo, a master of German erotic art, was so friendly and kind to me!

The show has Tom of Finland originals and vintage gay comic pages as well as gorgeous contemporary works on display. Lots of West Berlin queer elders were present, including legendary performer and dandy Henry de Winter, left above, who I drew at a birthday party this winter. And Olaf of Berlin Cigar Men, another favorite subject of mine. Photographer Ron-Berlin, on the right above, told me a beautiful story about his time in San Francisco in the 90s.

It was very important to me to draw Durk, center above and left below, because I wasn’t able to when I met him in Los Angeles in 2005.Durk Dehner at the Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Aug 17 2018

Durk IS living queer history, a million stories of passion, friendship and loss alive in one veteran of the war for the freedom to love.

He is full of love and light, always moving forward, always looking to help young artists. His lifetime of advocacy for queer art and queer culture has made an enormous difference in what was saved and who can make art. I watched exhilarated young queers thanking him for the work he has done with the Foundation to protect gay history.

And the Tom of Finland Foundation made a huge difference to me, on the second worst night of my life.

On December 10, 2005, the day my second husband finally told me he was leaving me, I was in Los Angeles. I drove away from him forever on a Culver City street and went to Hollywood to see a portrait client. She hugged me as soon as she saw my face, and we were suddenly friends. To have my impossible grief received with compassion was one of the greatest gifts my work has led me to, and the portrait is one of the best I’ve done.

Then I changed into fetish wear in the car on the street in Echo Park and went to the Tom of Finland House.

TOF house photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

TOF house photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

My eyes were swollen from crying, and it was really hard to put my false eyelashes on, but I had been invited to the Foundation’s Holiday party and I wasn’t going to miss it. I came up the walk to the beautiful Craftsman house (now a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument site), and friendly leather folx waved at me from the porch.

The house was glowing with light in the winter dusk; I went in the open door and found myself in history, hope and family. The kitchen was full of potluck dishes; there were clusters of people laughing in every room, and everyone welcomed me.

I wandered the house, looking at the art on the warm walls, thinking about the queer lives and stories the house holds. An adorable twink sprawled on the bed in the Artist’s Residency room. Someone offered me a tour and I was lovingly led to see Tom’s studio and the spooky, kinky basement. I felt pregnant with pain, every cell in my body was poisoned with pain and loss, but I knew my work mattered and that it mattered in the context and embrace of this living museum.

The community was like a beating heart, and I was just one random corpuscle, safe in its pulse. I knew people cared about me and about art and that I was going to survive this terrible day and keep making sexy queer art. Just as the house had survived the AIDS crisis, just as queer life has survived and blossomed in the 21st Century, I was going to keep working.

Thirteen years later Durk hugged me in the heart of Gay West Berlin, and he is still strong and vital and working his ass off for art, and so am I.

visitors at the Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Aug 17 2018An absolute must-see of exuberant gay love¬†and¬†gay lust, the “My Gay Eye – Homage to Tom of Finland” exhibit is up at The Ballery through mid-September. If you go on a Tuesday evening you can enjoy cocktails on the street and Otto playing the grand piano like the folx in the picture above!

You can buy the special Tom of Finland edition of the queer art anthology “Meine Schwules Auge”¬† in the TOM store here or in Germany¬†here.¬† It’s in both German and English!

The Tom of Finland Foundation protects, preserves and promotes erotic art.

You can become a member right here! The work the Foundation does to preserve queer creative history is beyond price, but you can always help with donations!¬†It’s a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Educational Archive so donations are tax-deductible ūüôā

And of course, I am able to do this work making art about queer history because of the generous support of my Patreon Patrons. I make this live art and share it for free because of my Patrons, and anyone can help for as little as a buck a month.

Rainbow Magic at Peaches’ Experimental Art Show in Mitte.

In line for Peaches August 12 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThe hero of the hour was Sue, who queued in good time for the experimental art piece Peaches did Sunday at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein.

You know how sometimes you go to meet your gorgeous friend and they are with their new hotness and they’re smooching on each other and you’re so happy to see beautiful humans being happy together your mind is just blown? Anto, seen above preparing inhalable refreshments, didn’t know Sue or Zuzana before, but since I know Anto it seemed completely natural to me that they were all hanging out together!

And of course Anto was wearing one of her amazing wearable art crochet art pieces, which I always love to draw.

You can see more drawings of her, at Bordello Bizarre, here and here.

Nico, below, is from Oz and actually a friend of Gaff-E, who I drew a while back, also at Bordello Bizarre.

We chatted while in the line and he told me his lovely coming-out-to-his-best-friend story and also about his fabulous outfit which was entirely borrowed except for his shoes. The ombre shrug, made of a gradient of vintage leather opera gloves and organza ruffles, was a showstopper.Nico in the queue for Peaches August 12 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd then there were all these other beautiful queer nonbinary agender drag kinky folx who were dressed in feathers and glitter and balloons, and everybody was really happy like it’s when Pride falls on perfect weather or all your friends meet up at your favorite con or something.

Well that’s a Peaches show in Berlin!

The show itself was amazing, and it turned out I knew several of the dance/movement performers, and I made lots of drawings, but they are pretty sketchy so it will take a while to finish them up. I wanted to finish these two first while my memory of the vibrant colors was strong enough to give me the courage to try and capture them! I am not sure I succeeded, you can’t imagine how vivid and luminous and alive everyone was out there on the street against the grey cobblestones, but I tried. And I will keep trying.

thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and draw these beautiful people!!

I make this live event art and share it for free because of my Patrons, and anyone can help for as little as a buck a month.

Mädchen mit Sterne: July unterwegs bonus round.

Madchen mit Sterne on S Bahn by Suzanne Forbes July 29 2018This young dad got off the S-Bahn with his family before I could draw the face of his sleeping baby.

Little girl in star dress WIP by Suzanne Forbes June 2018The whole drawing was hard because I was so enchanted by the little girl and how pretty her dress was that I didn’t look that carefully at the handsome dad, who anyway was wearing all white which is hard as hell to draw!

Plus, they were only on the train for two stops. So I had to kind of fake it. I was planning to use photo reference of babies, although you know I never use photos for anything but objects. Babies are so challenging, though, I was willing to get some help. I let it simmer for a while.

Then this weekend we were riding the S-Bahn again, I was working on some other drawings in that sketchbook, and I had a flash of recall. So I drew the baby’s little face in two seconds from memory. I think they came out okay!Madchen mit Sterne on S Bahn by Suzanne Forbes July 29 2018

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to capture these Berlin moments and tell these stories. It is so precious.

I have some new unterwegs in progress from this month but they will have to wait til I ride the S-Bahn again and can get the architecture in!

previous unterwegs:

July 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018 bonus round

February 2018

January 2018 bonus round

January 2018 round 1

December 2017

November 2017

September 2017

July bonus round

July

June

May bonus round

May round one

April

March 2

March

January

December

November

Last Days of the Bassy Club, part two.

Vicki at Bordello Bizarre at Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes July 29 2018Wow it took me forever to finish these drawings from one of the very last parties ever at Berlin institution The Bassy Cowboy Club.

Maybe because they are such complex scenes to do in mixed media, or maybe because it’s always sad when a beloved venue leaves the cultural landscape of your city. Above, Vicki and her consort, on the right. I could not believe how beautiful she was.

Puck the hare at Bordello Bizarre at Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes July 29 2018

Above, Puck the Hare dancing.

Puck is a terrific¬†photographer and professional artist’s model who also makes cool costume art like the headdress she’s wearing. I first drew her at Kitkat, where I confused her rabbit ears for pony ears! I had a hard time drawing the transparent rain ponchos the guys in the band, Cloud Kinski, were wearing and I’m not sure I fully succeeded.Backstage at the Bassy Club by Suzanne Forbes July 29 2018

The darkroom/outer backstage area of Bassy Club was done up with real prison bars like a jail cell.

I imagine this clever conceit was more enjoyable for people who have not been to jail.

Last Days of the Bassy Club, Part One.

More Bassy:

You can see my drawings from Chantal’s here and here, and the previous Bordello Bizarre here and here.