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.
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.
Here are the bartenders at the Lori Cafe in Kreuzberg.
I drew this waiting to be let through the secret door for the Full Moon Cabaret, and it feels like I drew it before I entered another world!
These ladies were waiting to see the endocrinologist, like me.
My endocrinologist is in a bizarre, deeply ugly modern building with walls – the walls inside!!!- literally covered in stainless steel. It’s the Galeries Lafayette building, but in the store at least a lot of the ugly is covered in fancy and you can buy delicious cake.
The young woman shown here is a standup comedian. Going to live-draw at a standup open mic is one of those things that’s on my list of things to draw, like drawing at a tango session again, like visiting the circus center and drawing people doing aerials again, like drawing people ice-skating which I’ve never done, like drawing people playing pool again…there is enough time, but not always energy! And first, before any of those things, I’ve been invited to draw The Berlin Bruisers, Europe’s only gay-inclusive rugby league!!
As always, my deepest thanks to my beloved Patrons on Patreon, who make it financially possible for me to document Berlin life.
Sadie is VERY pregnant with her second child! Nonetheless, she is a very experienced model and the vibe was extremely chill. She wore several pairs of SUPER high heeled Fluevogs!
I didn’t plan for the drawings of Jo to come out all anime-superheroine, but I was working with a new type of pen and really working fast! I’m super grateful to Jo and Sadie for letting me share this moment.
I did a pastel drawing of Sadie posing on the couch en déshabillé but you’ll have to go to my flickr to see it!
Many of the poses and outfits were too racy for a Patreon sponsored post, so I’ll finish those drawings and you’ll have to find them on my flickr 😉
I especially loved Valentina’s pasties and red thigh-high boots look, and Martini’s red and black corset! Most of Biszhop’s outfits consisted of his extreme good looks, a pretty accessory and a smoky gaze. His bits were covered, but not by much!
Martini Cherry Furter both posed and performed, an exhilarating number involving the audience setting her on fire!
She has incredible stage presence. She looked so good I actually lost all decorum and shouted, “Girl you are SO BEAUTIFUL!!”. She accepted that as her due, with a gracious smile.
thank you so much to these amazing artists who brought their hearts and souls to the show, it was a privilege to draw you!
Two of Berlin’s hardest working entertainers invited me to their talk-show-with-a-twist.
Le Grand Mess takes place at the charming little theater InnovationArt just two subway stops from us, so the hubbin and I made an evening out of it. I have enjoyed drawing both Liliana Velásquez and Fannie Headaek before.
Wow, what lovely cozy queer community there is in Berlin!
I was a presenter at Cameryn Moore‘s BEDx, a mini-conference for sex-geeking. My hub and I taxied across town (first taxi of the year! luxury!) to the gorgeous, welcoming venue, Lovelite. I had an absolutely wonderful time and so did my hub, who said it was like SF in the old days. It really was like the events he and I used to go to together at places like Femina Potens and the Center for Sex and Culture. Everyone relaxed and friendly and supportive, and so kind.
I talked about my work doing documentary drawing at events like play parties and dungeons. It was my first time doing a presentation with slides, but Cameryn set it all up for me and there was a lovely AV person named Yasmin who worked with me running them, and I think the slides were very appropriately filthy 🙂 That’s Cameryn in the top drawing.
Erin Bell talked about (and briefly demonstrated!) the practice of “Thinking Off.”
I was very interested because I am reading a book called “The Body Keeps the Score” and am learning that breathwork has healing potential for trauma survivors. Erin is a delightful personality and knows so much about somatics and sex-positive bodywork!
And Jane Flett read her amazing poetry!
Wow, she is a terrific writer. I was knocked out by the power of her words. So vivid and fierce, in the warm red-lit room. Really Lovelite is an amazing venue for queer performance.
These two lovebirds were waltzing and smooching as they waited for their train at Hermannplatz.
The funny thing was, I got on the same car as them, and once they were sitting down, the taller guy produced a Dan Brown thriller and began reading it with complete concentration, oblivious to his partner. As Book Time is taken very seriously in our house, I completely respected his boundary-setting around reading.
I drew him because it was not what you expected for the security detail at a Polish children’s healthcare benefit. And also it was pretty funny that I was sitting with my Greek friend Anastis drawing the Greek soldier at the Polish children’s healthcare benefit.
However, I only know the armor style is called Hoplite because just a couple days later my husband told me we needed to get a reproduction Hoplite helmet for the library. Because of his studies on Ancient Greece. I said sure, no problem. My first husband built a Tesla coil for our living room and my second husband kept leeches for pets and made daguerreotypes with radioactive rocks, so a Hoplite helmet seems fairly reasonable, really.
edited to add these dancing girls who were whirling around in front of the stage before The Erinyes went on!