Tag Archives: “Glücklich in Berlin”

Pansy’s House of Presents at Monster Ronsons!

Pansy at House of Presents Monster Ronsons Oct 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesEpic drag show House of Presents is a Tuesday night institution in Berlin.

Hostess Pansy is above, warm and welcoming. It takes place at Monster Ronsons, a Queer Berlin clubhouse I am always hitting for friendsshows!

The night opens with Gieza Poke and her newcomer’s hour, to warm up the crowd to a frenzy. I have never seen such a wild hollering lovely audience! People here are SERIOUS about drag shows!Gieza Poke at Monster Ronsons Oct 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesGieza Poke, above, who performs in a Scottish burr, is hilarious.

Lots of performers were in a form of meta-drag, dressing as themselves in Goth drag AS the crew’s Goth drag girl, whose birthday it was. The birthday girl, Antina Christ, is below. I was so pleased I could make her happy with a drawing on her day! Here’s her site too.

Antina Christ at Monster Ronsons Oct 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesEveryone was super nice and lovely, and I was very glad to be escorted to my first time at Ronson’s by regular Sebastian, who is posing for a painting. More drawings from this super-fun evening coming soon 🙂

My live drawing is made possible by my Patrons on Patreon. You let me document Queer Berlin and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy. Anyone can help for as little as a euro a month!

More drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Baba Yaga session!

Marin van der Waa Narrates at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes sept 23 2018Marijn was the narrator, reading a spooky fairy tale in a voice that filled the room like smoke.

I have drawn Marijn before at Dr. Sketchy’s and was pleased to be able to do so again. Having a narrator really added to the experience of the show! Marijn is an illustrator herself, and you can follow her on the Instas here or check out her website here.

Women artists at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 27 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew some of the artists this time!

I wound up sitting right next to the organizer of Berlin Museum Crew, artist Samantha Stover, (her mane of 60s movie star hair was covering her face alas!) and several other young woman artists. That’s Lucille Lehr with the two-colored hair! Plus my dear friend, artist and art teacher Giulia Caruso, was just a few seats away! That’s her with the fuschia streak and tattoos 🙂

Models at Dr Sketchys Berlin Sept 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd the one sketch I made of the other model besides Valentina Demonia, Hurricane Irina !

Another amazing Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, thanks to LalaVox and Le Pustra. So excited for the Hansel and Gretel session, October 21 at Ballhaus Berlin!

More drawings from this session here; previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Viva Lamore, à la Baroque

Betty Fvck, Trixie Tassels and More, Berlin Burlesque Week

Broken Baroque

Victorian Spiritualist edition with Valentina Demonia and Syren Joey

More Victorian Spiritualist edition

Weimar Berlin, with Le Pustra and Bridge Markland

More Weimar Berlin

and my first Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with Viva Lamore, Syren Joey and live painting outdoors!

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, and welcome to the new Patrons who joined this month! You make it possible for me to make this art and share it open source, licensed with Creative Commons for all to share, print and enjoy.

September 2018 Unterwegs!

phone call on the bus by Suzanne Forbes Sept 21 2018The thing about this guy with the phone on the bus was…

He was really excited about the phone call he was trying to get his friend to listen in on, and his friend was extremely “whatever” about it. Also, I don’t think I conveyed it in the drawing, but the phone was the thinnest I’ve ever seen, an absolute wafer.

Large shoes on the U1 by Suzanne Forbes Sept 21 2018This young woman had very large shoes.

And patterned pants that were definitely skating the edge of being Hammer Pants.

Bears on the U7 Sept 21 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI actually drew these two bears lovin on each other during the summer.

I saw them on the U7 at 4am, during CSD weekend. Christopher Street Day is the big Gay Pride weekend in Germany. They were headed home, like me, and the one with the Yankee hat was definitely German, but I guess the Yanks transcend nationality. The one with the curly hair had a Bear flag pendant, but I couldn’t figure out how to show it.

This is an example of a drawing I didn’t finish for a long time because I was frustrated with it; it’s not my best draftswomanship, coming at the end of a long night. And I am rarely pleased with my execution of horizontal compositions, which I why I rarely do them. However I loved these two and so I finally sucked it up and did my best to finish it. Not my best drawing, but two of my sweetest subjects!

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to draw these Berlin people and share their stories. People are fucking beautiful, and it brings me the purest joy to tell you about them.

previous unterwegs posts:

August 2018 unterwegs

July 2018 bonus round

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

 

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.

A huge new tiny project: a School for Gifted Youngsters at last.

Primed dry build Gables DollhouseOh my word, I am building a new dollhouse.

Dollhouse planning drawing Suzanne Forbes Aug 30 2018

Dollhouse planning drawings by Suzanne Forbes, Aug 30 2018

My first dollhouse became a kind of Valhalla, a safe haven for all the characters and stories I love. it is a large, unwieldy, fragile metaphor for healing, hope and closure.

I imagine the School for Gifted Youngsters will work in a similar way, but more specific. My feelings about the X-Men and The New Mutants are my strongest of all and there is a lot of processing happening within even starting this project.

Also, my first dollhouse took ten years to complete, so I must be out of my mind. But actually, not so much; I have a plan.

I knew from pretty early on in the construction of my first dollhouse, around 2000, that I would need a second dollhouse. I already had too many action figures, even then, and too many weird geek jokes and visual puns and obscure heart-wrenching vignettes to tell with them.

Plus, as more and more X-Men action figures were made, it became clear the X-Men and the New Mutants would need their own house.

As I searched for a second dollhouse over the last ten years, I knew I wanted it to look a certain way. More “mansion”, less Victorian curio. Designed to be front-opening and kept for display against a wall in the English “Dolls House” style rather than open in the back for play like an American “Dollhouse”.

And I wanted it to be a “quick-build” routed MDF style, for fuck’s sake, rather than the insanely laborious die-cut kits that are now almost completely replaced by slightly less laborious laser-cut kits.

I never want to do a die-cut kit again, though I’m glad that I did get the very last Cambridge Dollhouse available on the West Coast in 2000. (For some reason I was obsessively determined that the Cambridge was superior to the nearly identical Greenleaf Beacon Hill).

There’s an excellent explanation of the different types of dollhouse kits here on Mysterious Miniatures for anyone curious about the hell that is punching out and sanding hundreds of die-cut pieces from a stack of 1/8″ plywood sheets. You can also see lots of pictures and read more about the process of building my first house here.

Below, the far superior routed/sawn MDF pieces of my Gables Dolls House kit, primed and laid out yesterday.

primed Gables Dolls House parts Aug 2018

The reason I pulled the trigger and bought my first dollhouse kit was that the model I had been eyeing suddenly disappeared from the tiny pool of online shops that existed then.

Windows for the new house primed and drying before painting.

Panicked, I called all over, looking for a Cambridge, and actually found one, the last one, at The Hobby Co. of San Francisco on Geary. I hauled the box home in triumph and terror, and spent the next three years just building the structure.

Of course, I “kitbashed” the hell out of it too, custom building the extension, rebuilding the dormers and adding new walls and high quality Houseworks wooden windows and doors.

To use routed wood doors and windows I had to reinforce all the interior and exterior walls individually, from 1/8″ to 3/8″, cutting all the pieces to size. Without power tools.

I had to learn to solder to use tape wire for the electrification, because it didn’t have grooves for round wire. It was insane, and I said “I am never doing this again”.

So I kept an eye out for a front-opening, high-quality, quick-build dollhouse that was also really cheap. For a decade.

During that time several models I liked went on and off the market. I didn’t have the wherewithal, on many levels, to acquire any of the models I liked. I finally completely finished the first house and added the landscaping, walls and greenhouse in Oakland around 2013, but  I waited to secure it to its base because I knew we were leaving the US.

I knew if we moved to Europe I’d have access to a completely different dollhouse kit supply chain, the mother lode of front-opening English dollhouses. And when we did, I started researching and pinning and comparing all the houses available. I got my first house set up and truly finished here in 2015.

Then this year, I finished the underground laboratories. It was time to be seriously thinking about a new house.

It had to fit a very specific space, and be a very specific style. After two years of research, I had pretty much settled on The Gables kit from The Dolls House Workshop, a family-run British company.

It was gorgeous, it fit the space next to the first house perfectly, it had big rooms, it had an entry hall, it had bay windows, it had an attic for Ororo, and it was the very epitome of quick-build, including channels routed for the goddam wiring.

Most of all, it was incredibly cheap for a heirloom dollhouse kit, only £209 when they can run to the thousands.

So I was thinking about it, but I am cheap and terrified of spending large sums, so I was hesitating.

Then it started disappearing from the four online sites I had it pinned from. Marked “Discontinued”, then “Permanently Discontinued”. It was still listed on the company’s own site, so after a week of nerve-wracking waiting til my Patreon money came in, I wildly took the plunge and ordered it. Two days of euphoric planning and excitement later, I got an email from DollsHouse Workshop.

They politely explained the kit had been discontinued some time ago and it shouldn’t have been on the site.

They would process me a refund. I was crushed and at a loss. I just didn’t know what to do next. None of their other models had the turned wood windows l love, were the right size, or even had grooves for the damn wiring. The other companies’ houses didn’t move me the same way.

After a couple of days of moping, I emailed the company to check on the refund, which hadn’t shown up. I mentioned that I was devastated, that I had really wanted that particular house. I don’t why I did, I guess I just figured it couldn’t hurt to share my truth!

Later that day, I got an email back from Kelly Wiltshire-Tokeley, co-director of the company, saying she had tracked one down and it would ship that week!

What an angel! Isn’t that amazing?

Oh joy! Oh happiness! The X-Men will have a home at last!

Seriously, this is such a big deal. And of course, such a big project.

Even a quick-build dollhouse is a huge DIY project, with many stages, many decisions, and many materials involved. First I did a dry build, to check for fit and parts.

Then I had to prime. The MDF walls had to be primed with a specialty MDF primer, and the turned wooden parts primed with a wood primer.

On the left you can see some of them! Our whole house smells like primer right now. The stairs will be stained with gel stain, which I’ve ordered.

I have all the paint ready for the exterior and have ordered all the wallpaper and carpets. Putting those in before actual final assembly will make a difference of at least a hundred hours’ labor between this house and the first house.

I will use modern battery powered LED lights and run a single wire through each room rather than tapewiring the whole thing.

Plus, this house has a perfectly simple rectilinear floor plan, rather than the incredibly complex layout of House #1. Which I think I will call SlurkCroft, from now on.

So I’m not making any promises or predictions, but I’m hopeful that the School for Gifted Youngsters will be open by Christmas.

“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 🙂

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.

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

First unterwegs of the summer! Post-accident, drawing on the train again.

Unterwegs July 20 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI couldn’t draw on public transit for quite a while.

Plus, I have become quite cautious about using the bus, always making sure to be seated and holding a rail or handle before the bus starts moving.

Which means I have to hustle; part of the efficiency and speed of the bus system here is that the bus driver does not wait for you to be settled and secure. The drivers just take off after a certain number of seconds, even if there are older folks looking for seats. They do pause for wheelchair users and baby carriages to get arranged and strapped in the wheeled area, at least.

Unterwegs July 19 2018 by Suzanne ForbesBut everybody else is on their own, and passengers are alert to help seniors and mobility aid users find a seat and be safe. So someone like me, who looks perfectly healthy, is not accorded any concern whatsoever, and my scramble to be seated in the regular seating may look a bit unseemly or neurotic.

I don’t care, because my hand feels terribly vulnerable, and it’s my job to protect my livelihood and my ability to contribute to society. I didn’t take transit much at all while I had my cast on; it’s only the last week or so I’ve been out and about.

This Tuesday was the first time I brought my drawing kit with me since the accident. It was fantastic to sit and draw from life again, I felt like a horse let out of a stall, running around the paddock like a fuckin maniac. Drawing isn’t “fun” or pleasure for me – it’s the exercise of the strongest muscles, the best skills I have, and using those skills is like working out.

It feels fantastic to use these powerful muscles, and at the same time it feels like work. Doing my job. Telling people’s stories.

I was put here to do this work, I believe, and doing it again makes me feel useful and strong. On Thursday, headed to the Drummess Jam, I was so caught up in working on the top drawing I didn’t realize I’d taken the wrong train til I had passed several unfamiliar stops!

Thank you, my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to do this work and tell these everyday human stories. I am so grateful to be back to work.

Previous unterwegs are here:

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

Night of the Living Drummesses – woman drummers rock Berlin!

Second drummer at Bei Ruth drum jam July 19 2018 by Suzanne ForbesMy first time going event drawing since the accident!

My friend-muse-Patron Rah Hell invited me to an incredible woman drummers’ jam concert at a very cool punk venue called Bei Ruth. It was 8 female-identifying drummers, 2 drum kits, and a hot summer night! Above is Jarita Freydank; you can follow her on Instagram, or visit her site.

Aine Fujioka at drum jam July 19 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThis is Aine Fujioka, who started her solo right after I arrived.

Rah Hell at drum jam July 19 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI was worried about finding the venue and getting there, since it was as far on the other side of town as it could be, but I printed several maps and set out. This was one of those special Berlin things that I just wasn’t willing to miss.

The setup was that there were two drum sets, and each drummer would start with another drummer. Then one drummer would step out, and the remaining drummer would solo for a few minutes. Then a new drummer would sit down at the empty kit. The two would play together for a bit. The drummer who had already soloed would leave, the new drummer would solo, and then a new drummer would join her and they’d play together.

This not only actually worked, it was AMAZING. The whole thing SHREDDED.

Oganiser Eilis Frawley at Bei Ruth drum jam July 19 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThis is the event’s organizer Eilis Frawley. Her site is here.

The energy level rose naturally until the end when all the drummers gathered around the sets to knock out a final group jam. As you can see, the windows of the space were filled with the delicious indigos of the Berlin summer twilight and the venue was full of black shirted rockers and punks. People were dancing and thrashing to the fantastic beat. Last drummer at drum jam July 19 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

And this is Katrina Martinez Marrupe. Such a fierce drummess! I am so lucky to get to go to things like this.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, who provide the financial support to make it possible. And so grateful my drawing hand is healing!!

Rah Hell has a nice thread on twitter with event photos. You can also follow Bang On Berlin, a collective of Berlin based bands, musicians, artists, and other talents. With a strong focus on female artists.

Work in progress: Painting Shakrah, while being photographed by Mirella Frangella!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Shakrah and I had our second sitting for the new portrait the day before I was in a bus crash.

Work in Progress portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes June 2018It was very lucky timing, as we had also scheduled with amazing portrait photographer Mirella Frangella.

Mirella is a career photographer whose personal work focuses on intimate character studies.

My friend Miss Natasha Enquist met her when Mirella’s photos of gauchos in South America were exhibited at The Ballery.

Mirella did a shoot with Miss Natasha, and was looking for other artists to photograph. Natasha suggested me!

Mirella came to the house and photographed me in fancy clothes the week before last.

She wanted to do another session, while I was actually working, so we set up a time with Shakrah, who I had recently started a second portrait of.

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

I love Mirella’s work and her way of using available light and her handheld flash to capture a close and realistic view of her subject.

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

We were so relaxed and comfortable with her presence as she worked.

During the sitting, at one point Shakrah was lounging elegantly on my boudoir chair while Mirella shot some close-ups of me.

I looked up and saw her and I yelled, “THAT is the look!” and grabbed my brush to make superfast big changes to the painting.

I changed her pose from standing to sitting in about ten minutes!

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

Suzanne Forbes painting Shakrah Yves photographed by Mirella Frangella June 2018 all rights reserved

As you can see, I changed the painting quite a lot. I don’t often make such big changes between the first and second sittings, unless some new aspect of my model just captivates me. Or I accidentally painted my model standing on the wrong leg, like in this portrait of my beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Ramon!)

WIP Portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes first and second sittings 2018Somehow I feel like you have more of a sense of Shakrah as a singer in the new version even though I haven’t painted the mike in yet, like she’s pausing by your table in the cabaret.

You can hear Shakrah singing vintage jazz here and see Mirella Frangella‘s beautiful portraits here.

We had such a lovely time working together with Mirella, it was amazing. Once my hand is healed enough for the cast to come off Shakrah and I will reconvene and finish the painting!

You can see our first sitting here and the previous portrait Shakrah and I did together here. Thanks so, so much to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon for providing the monthly sponsorship that allows me to tell women’s stories and collaborate with women artists!