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.
I met up withSuzanne in Prenzlauerberg for a visit to the Circus Bar!
There are two circus bars, actually, kitty-corner from each other as we used to say in the Old Country.
Zum Starken August has burlesque Friday and Saturday nights, with an MC like Martini Cherry Furter, above. Toast Hawaii has bands and also something called Pornokaroake which I don’t know what that even is. Toast Hawaii, btw, is a disgusting German dish. Do not google it.
I’ve drawn Martini before and it is always SUCH a pleasure. She is so beautiful, all glamour and cheekbones and legs and sass. The straight boys she was teasing as I drew this were blushing like little kids.
I’m working on a drawing of performer La Lobo Balucia from this night too, which should be up soon 🙂
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!
Hosted by Liliana Velasquez and masterminded by Wasp Summer aka Samantha Wareing, Rah Hell, and Miss Natasha Enquist, it was an amazing night of music. You can see them left to right above, bracketed by Baron Anastis and Joe Sparkle.
Here’s Liliana, sharing some filthy and hilarious anecdote about how Tom Petty was the soundtrack to her teens!
I know you can relate. The man wrote some sexy music! She also said something I loved, which was that she’s not an expat in Berlin, she’s an immigrant. As are we. She hosts the Freudian Slip Club, among many other things in this city!
And the drummess sang! Rah Hell sang AND drummed on several songs. Most impressive!
The venue was the fabulous Marie Antoinette, which is right on the river. I felt a little disoriented finding the place amidst the darkness of riverside warehouses, but then remembered the website said it’s behind the BVG building.
And the BVG building is conveniently lit up with neon in the distinctive BVG piss-yellow!
The windows of the club look out over the water, and late night cruise boats and ducks went by all evening. It’s a really beautiful place to see a show.
Here you see me working out the elegant lines of Miss Natasha Enquist’s look.
This was the first time I’d heard her indoors with decent quality sound and a live band backing her, and I could really appreciate her phenomenal singing. Checkher out, seriously.
Some folks I didn’t know performed too!
Including the amazing Ok!Chorus, which I didn’t draw because it’s like 30 people! Stephan Paul Taylor is on the right above, and that’s a quick scrawl of Joe Sparkle in the middle. More info and links coming soon! As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art.
I arrived planning to make a bunch of new sexy drawings for my art show at Other Nature, a fundraiser for Berlin trans* support services.
However I was absolutely sucked in by the driving beat in Alice’s room.
I wound up staying there, drawing the dancers and just being in the music, for hours!
I drew these beautiful young people who were dancing, and the lovely young lady kissed me on the cheek when she saw it.
Good thing I am used to being kissed by gorgeous, sweaty, half-naked or naked young people at clubs and sex parties, or I would have fainted from delight!
Alice is a Burner too, and you can catch her djaneing on the Playa this summer – check her site for deets! As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art.
What a lovely time! I enjoyed all the acts tremendously. Merlin himself performed some of his amazing super-earworm gay love songs plus some cuts from his upcoming album. He is fabulously erudite and wildly sexy and his songs are mad clever. I was delighted to get a chance to draw him and Mr. Chips!
Gentlemen troubadours Wrench and Franks performed pop songs from another century. They are so good!
You can see their cool animations here and their torch songs from times past here. They made a bananapants video for Merlin’s song “Flying Out to Berlin” with a creepy marionette which you can enjoy here.
The headliner was Das Fluff, with a new lineup including dear friend Joe Sparkle and Angel Melodyhorn.
They were great! Frontwoman Dawn Lintern was in a truly spectacular outfit featuring a snakeskin corset and hoop skirt. She is a snarling, seductive, ferocious performer who leaves it all on the stage. If you want to catch the filthy, raging Das Fluff live show, look here – they are playing everywhere all the time, in London, Berlin and Japan.
There was lots more at Merlin’s Berlin but I couldn’t draw it all, especially by the light of TWO disco balls. As always, I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to document Berlin life and art!
If you would like to see a very entertaining video and don’t mind having a song stuck in your head for the next two days, check out Merlin Dietrich’s video for Like/Unlike.
I have never in my life seen anything more charming than Berlin’s “Advanced Style” icon Günther Krabbenhöft dancing.
I took the bus in the snow to get there, which sounds onerous but was actually delightful.
I was bundled up and cozy, the bus comes every five minutes and is right on the corner, and the snow flickering down in the night was like glitter. And Barbiche is in the West! It’s a gorgeous space with lots of cool art on display. In Schöneberg, where the art scene is getting stronger and stronger. As per Lena: “In the west of Berlin,” she says, “something is happening again.”
Alfred’s consort Chris was petting their dog Georgie Boy here. One of my Patreon Patrons also makes an appearance in this drawing, as does the hostess herself, Ms. Lena Braun!
It’s totally normal to bring your dog to your gig in Berlin.
And Georgie is a good boy! You can see I’m drinking Fritz-Kola, the ubiquitous independent soda of Berlin, in my fave flavor, rhubarb. Pink vegetable soda, sweet doggos, original art, woman-owned art business, friends rocking out. It’s a damn good life.
Unique, spellbinding, confrontational: I got to draw international performance artist and tornado of woman Gaff-E last weekend!
I was invited to draw at Bordello Bizarre again, and this time I was well enough to do it. Thank the goddess, cause the performers were amazing subjects. I really pulled out the stops trying to capture the furious spirit of Gaff-E, who I had not seen perform before. She is a lioness onstage!
She was wearing a third eye on her forehead and her eye makeup was that of the alien Sh’iar Empress Lilandra.
She started out in a dress and shed layers of glittering Bowie bodysuits. These drawings reveal my roots in comics more than any I’ve done in years, because Gaff E really gives superhero vibes. Ya gotta see her incredible self-styled portraits – she works as a stylist as well as classically trained musician turned postpunk renegade and dj.
At one point she was howling at the adoring audience, “I exist!” in a combination of wonder and fury.
There is no better mantra for a woman artist in these terrible times. At the end, clad in nothing but her completely OTT hair and her growling, demanding, interrogative performance, she pulled out her tampon and flung it on the stage. I have seen many things, but never that classic riot grrl move, and I’m so glad I got to draw it. I feel like this drawing came partly from Gaff E onstage and partly from the images branded in my mind of Anthony McCall’s iconic photos of Carolee Schneemann performing “Interior Scroll”.
I feel so lucky to be here in Berlin, documenting all these women rocking the fuck out.
Thank you for having me at the Bordello Bizarre party, Joseph, and thank you for your warmth and friendliness backstage and your indelible performance, Gaff E! Check Gaff E’s music here. More Bordello Bizarre drawings coming soon!