To become part of a community is to open the door to loss.
Community is fluid, like gender, like cities. A local business becomes a hub of connection and expression, and then economic forces make that business unsustainable.
Ludwig was a bar, an art gallery, a performance space, a clubhouse for Queer Berliners. It existed from 02.06.16 to 21.09.19. And it was located in a rapidly gentrifying area where construction has overshadowed street access for the last several years.
You don’t know sad til you’ve heard a trans girl sing “Send in the Clowns” on the last night of one of the safest spaces you’ve ever known.
Everyone tried to save Ludwig, but it’s not always possible to keep things. Running a business is brutally hard on small business owners, and when we love those people, when they’re artists and part of our community, we want them to be saved too, not used up fighting economic and structural factors. It’s a story that happens every day in every city, and it breaks our hearts.
The last night at Ludwig was very fucking sad.
My husband came out with me, only the second time he came out in 2019, because, well, it was important. He even dressed up super spiffy. Dear Transophonix, above, made a processional to the stage and performed a dirge, filling the space.
As always,co-owner Maurus Knowles brought me my favorite non-alcoholic beverage, Ostmost Apfel-Minze schorle.
That’s Maurus, right, and co-owner Ceven Knowles, on the left, above. Ceven made a playlist that began with “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing”, so perfect it seared my heart.
Shady Darling, above, charmed us all with sass.
The tables out front were packed, spilling over, with colorful queens and queers and non-binary folx. We were all heavy with loss, and yet also exuberant, because of the community we have. Dan and I left pretty early, because my heart was spilling over too.
Thank you, Maurus and Ceven, for giving me the place my life in Berlin truly began.
Here are some previous times at Ludwig:
A benefit for singer Sigrid Grajek
Olympia Bukkakis and Transophonix perform
When we had our Women’s Art Lounge at Ludwig
Young queer folx at Ludwig for Suzanne’s birthday
The book release party for “As You wish, my Lady”
My portrait of Rah Hell hanging at Ludwig, the first painting I showed in Berlin
A holiday elf at Ludwig
When Suzanne and I had a Women’s Art Lounge for Galentine’s and I made my first collage.
Citizen of the world, soul of Berlin.
Live painting during the ARTfair created by Suzanne Wegh and Natascha Artworx, and me!
Dirk Rave and Mads Elung-Jensen performing.
And the Donut Heart video release party, which was when my life in Berlin really crystallized and began.