Tag Archives: portrait drawing

Drawing Liliana Velásquez at Dr. Sketchy’s x Drink and Draw Berlin!

I am incredibly sad that my beloved Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin is ending.

Lala Vox has poured her heart and soul into it for ten years, creating an event beyond anyone’s imaginings, and needs to let it go now. Co-producer Syren Joey, who has done fantastic work the last couple years, also has reasons to not be producing a big elaborate event.

So the last two events are being held as special intimate sessions of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin at the Drink and Draw Berlin kunsthaus, and this Sunday’s starred model Liliana Velásquez.

Liliana Velasquez at Take It Easy Baby Tom Petty Tribute by Suzanne Forbes April 20 2018Liliana is a friend and muse who I have drawn many times because she is one of the hardest-working entertainers in Berlin. I’ve caught her doing stand-up, producing variety shows, hosting New Year’s events, teaching the tango at her live talk show, and more.

She is also a professional life model, who worked for seven years at the top New York art schools, including the Art Student’s League and the School of Visual Arts, two of the places where I went to school!

There is nothing like the grace and elegance of an experienced artists’ model, who can tell a story in their gaze or the arch of a foot.

Liliana is also now teaching self-defense to women and minorities at Pretty Deadly Self Defense, a valuable Berlin resource I am hoping to check out soon!

Here is a picture of me at my usual table at a Sketchy’s earlier this year, by Maren Michaelis.

Thanks so much to Lala Vox and Syren Joey for their hard work on Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, and to Liliana Velásquez and the great folks of Drink and Draw Berlin!

I absolutely encourage all Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin folks who haven’t yet been to visit Drink and Draw Berlin’s gorgeous and welcoming historic boat. The boat is docked on the river Spree, and is set up as a permanent life drawing space, with model platforms, hanging drapery, props, easels, and a variety of seating including very comfy! There are weekly drawing classes, events and more.

Kabarett der Namenlosen!

Bridge Markland in slip at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI made it to Kabarett der Namenlosen!

The show is a time-travelling fever dream of Once Upon a TIme Queer Berlin. I was so excited to draw Bridge Markland, above, again!! Bridge is a barn-burner of a performer, a terror and a treasure.

Lars and Mlle Vicky Butterfly dancing at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThe pre-show experience began with Lars and lovely Mlle. Vicky Butterfly dancing before the Ballhaus Berlin stage, shrouded in fog.

Lars at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI warmed up with this profile of Lars Schwuchow, then the loose marker drawing above.

Lars is a serious Art Deco guy, and he has an Arrow shirt ad elegance I always want to capture, but I didn’t quite get it this time.

I had drawn several of tonight’s performers before, at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin sessions; you can see Lars, Mama Ulita and Le Pustra here and here, and Bridge Markland as Anita Berber here.

The costumes and sets, by Le Pustra, are simply unbelievable, and everyone has such a unique look. I knew I would be spoilt for choice!!

Charly Voodoo and Shir-Ran Yinon at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesMy jaw fell off my face when I saw Charly Voodoo walk onstage.

As a corset-lover (some might say hardcore corset fetishist!) I am always thrilled when I see someone seriously corseted. Charly Voodoo‘s whole look was incredible, with a lace head mask, high heels and stockings. He is absolutely beautiful (as is his husband Pierre-Louis, a dancer and plant-lover who revealed so much more! Sadly, I did not have a chance to draw Pierre-Louis!)

Charly’s corset is by Maxim Blotin, a young corsetmaker in Paris. It looked like satin coutil to me but apparently is made of something called leather satin! It is either corded or quilted, with gores, and a near-pipestem cut. I did not draw the details accurately, which pains me, but I think I got the shaping right. His mask, by Kevin Jacotot, was a thrilling challenge. I was so excited I really couldn’t even see straight.

Next to Charly above, singer and violinist Shir-Ran Yinon, woman of exquisite profile and fabulous pipes.

Charly Voodoo playing piano at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd then Charly Voodoo started to play the piano!!

Amazingly!! He is FAB. And then, I got a special ringside seat for a spectacular vignette involving Julietta la Doll, one telephone, two glasses of water and no pants!! But I can’t share anything about that on this family-friendly blog, so here’s another drawing of Bridge Markland!

Bridge Markland at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesYou can find out what wild theater and performance Bridge is up to right here, if you’re not too afraid of her wild soul!

Her staging of an 1890s “German screwball comedy” with puppets is coming up Nov. 29- Dec. 1, at another beautiful Berlin venue, the Theater im Delphi.

Legendary Berlin performing artist ReverRso, who unrolled a strip of cutwork cotton from his mouth as he danced in a lace dress, then blindfolded himself.

Le Pustra at Kabarett der Namenlosen November 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThat is producer and torch song singer Le Pustra above, limned in glitter.

Wigs for the show are done by hair artist Nina Butkovich-Budden. They are devastating, characters in their own right. The suberb stage managing is by Lady White Rabbit, who I hadn’t seen in ages – she took very good care of me! I can’t imagine this immersive, improvisational show anywhere but at the historic and louche Ballhaus Berlin. This theater is a treasure, and I hope it will be preserved as a venue for some time.

Speaking of which, I gotta get to Clärchens Ballhaus before they shut it down. Should I draw tango or swing?

As always, I’m incredibly grateful to my Patrons on Patreon. I couldn’t show up and tell these folx’ stories without the monthly financial support of my Patrons, especially as my health has declined this year. The subway was inexplicably just not working when I left Ballhaus tonight, and the fact that I could hail a taxi to go home means so much. I might otherwise have spent hours figuring out a sequence of trams, buses and trains to get home – I have before, and it’s brutal on my body and on my psyche.

I will be increasingly asking for disability accommodations at venues, as I simply can’t move, stand, or do the things I once could.

Le Pustra was kind enough to let me in the theater early to find a seat that was comfortable for me. Pure luck that I picked the one where Julietta was going to be making a very naughty phone call – my luck, that is! I was also very grateful to both Mayliss – stage manager Lady White Rabbit – and Julietta la Doll for warning me about the water in Julietta’s performance and making sure my art wasn’t damaged!

From Gollum to Galadriel: When Winter Came to ACUD MACHT NEU.

Alexa Spread at Extravagant Shambles Nov 6 2019 Suzanne ForbesI was so excited when Cadbury Parfait told me she was producing a fantasy-themed Extravagant Shambles!

There is nothing I love like some dark fantasy and mythology – mix with burlesque and drag acts and you get pure entertainment mithril! (lil geek joke there for ya. Very little.) This Shambles was in the Club at Kunsthaus ACUD MACHT NEU, an epic Berlin queer art space. I don’t get to Mitte much, but I had been previously been to an art show there with artist and curator Suzanne Wegh – they are the source of all my art event hot tips. Above, Alan Lee (but not THAT Alan Lee) as Alexa Spread did a terrifying, grasping Gollum, then rose into a column of light and became Galadriel.

Darell Haynes at Extravagant Shambles Nov 8 2019 by Suzanne ForbesDarell Haynes, Louisiana born but now singing his heart out in Berlin, sang “I See Fire” from the second Hobbit flick.

He just filled the room; it was one of those moments that makes the hairs on your arms stand up. He is an actual trained professional opera singer, which is not what you are expecting in the club where the entrance always smells a little like piss. Darell was on German tv show Supertalent last year, with the group Mo’Voce! You can see them sing and get a standing ovation here.

Agata Dmon at Extravagant Shambles Nov 8 2019 by Suzanne ForbesShambles fave Agata D’Mon danced with a glowing moon.

I always love to draw her. My friend and Patron Daniel Paikov  was there taking pictures with his usual sang-froid, managing despite the fact that the ACUD Club is a dark cave of bloody light. We nightlife documenters find a way!

Marie Matthies at Extravagant Shambles Nov 8 2019 by Suzanne ForbesContortionist Marie Matthies was both fierce and so flexible!

Lexy Nightcat at Extravagant Shambles Nov 6 Suzanne ForbesLexy Nightcat did an incredible Ghostbusters number, wrangling green spirits to the classic banger theme.

Sarah Tonin at Extravagant Shambles Nov 28 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s hostess Sarah Tonin.

She is wearing a handmade glitter crop top and skirt with peach chiffon draping by Harry Hardon. I did my best to draw it but it is so worth a look at the real thing!

Felicity Felicis at Extravagant Shambles Nov 28 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI love to draw knockout Felicity Felicis.

Every time I see her I can’t believe how gorgeous and badass she is!

Cadbury Parfait at Extravagant Shambles Nov 28 2019 by Suzanne Forbesand here’s producer Cadbury Parfait herself!

She was an ethereal Persephone who stripped down for a deep dive into the darkness of Winter. I so much appreciate coming to her productions, as they are always inclusive and amazing, and she makes sure I feel welcome and have a seat.

I didn’t draw everyone at this show – and I didn’t draw my muse Noéline la Bouche for an unusual reason. Noéline performed as the Goddess “Yemaya – mère de l’eau”, and I was so captivated by her dance choreography and costume for this number I actually decided to just watch! But you can see photos of her doing the act!

This has been a terrible year for me healthwise as a disabled artist, and crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work and release it for free. I’m so grateful to my Patrons, who make my work happen.

Anyone can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me making my documentary art of Queer Berlin as Free Art.

Drawing Shine Louise Houston in Berlin!

Shine Louise Houston teaching film at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesA great regret from the Bay Area era of my documentary work was that I never got to draw film-maker Shine Louise Houston.

She is the powerhouse creative force behind revolutionary queer studios CrashPad Series and PinkLabelTV, and an amazing QPOC artist.

Shine Louise Houston teaching camera technique at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesYesterday I got to meet and draw Shine, and what a thrill!

Shine Louise Houston‘s camera work and film workshops are incredibly popular and sell out like lightning, but I was able to get in as a documentary artist and record her teaching the class.

Shine Louise Houston and students at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesShine started out with some gems about filming adult media that I never would have thought of!

I was absolutely fascinated to hear her talk about the secrets of a happy set and how to troubleshoot when things go sideways. Shine on IMDB here! You would not believe how much creative work she has done as a producer and director of sexy erotic cinema.

“There is power in creating images, and for a woman of color and a queer to take that power… I don’t find it exploitative; I think it’s necessary.” – Shine Louise Houston

Shine Louise Houston and Jiz Lee at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Shine with Jiz Lee, demonstrating the concept of the 180-degree Line.

Although all I know about film-making is what I’ve seen on queer porn sets, I know this concept from my career as a comic-book penciller! I drew Jiz Lee often in the Oughts in the Bay, because we both donated lots of time to benefits for local sex-positive institutions like The Center for Sex and Culture. I keep up with them daily on twitter and Instagram, because Jiz is always on top of news and opportunities for sex-positive activism and education.

Jiz Lee at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesSeriously, if you want to be learning and growing about how to support trans and nonbinary folx and QPOC erotic cinema, Jiz Lee is your first stop.

They were the first out nonbinary person I knew IRL, and their clear voice is always educating me on how to be of use and of help. Step one: PAY FOR YOUR PORN!!!

Suzanne Forbes photographed by Jiz Lee at Shine Camera Work class Oct 26 2019

Jiz Lee took this cool over-the-shoulder shot of me drawing!

Shine Louise Houston teaching camera work at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesIt was a total treat that one of the demo models for Shine’s class was Bishop Black!

Always a pleasure to see that gentleman creative, who is one of the hardest working artists in Berlin’s incredibly rich queer life.

Shine Louise Houston teaching at Altes Finanzamt Oct 26 2019 by Suzanne ForbesPeople I know have been shooting with Shine Louise Houston forever!

Sadly my health got worse and worse in my last years in the Bay, and I never managed to be somewhere Shine was working. It was an honor to at last document her historic and powerful artistic presence. I loved hearing her talk about intuitive and spiritual approaches to cinema; even if you’re not a film-maker the class is so interesting and I highly recommend it!

These drawings are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

That means they’re 100% FREE for all to share and enjoy! In addition, I release the copyright on each drawing to the performer shown and they may use the drawings for their own profit and pleeeasssure in any way they choose.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work and release it for free. 

You can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me making my documentary art of Queer Berlin as Free Art.

Barbara at The Ballery.

Barbara at The Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019I was recently in a group show at Schöneberg gallery The Ballery.

The works shown included a beautiful series of portraits by photographer Eva Brunner. Barbara, above, was the model. During the finissage evening of the exhibit, Barbara performed some deft comic numbers.

This is an example of a drawing where I could take my time with the background and really work out the details. As all my dear ones know, I love to draw people playing music and have had far less chances to do so this year, since I’ve been ill so much. 
Barbara at The Ballery by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019 detail

I added the color when I got home, based on memory and little scribbly notes on the drawings.

I swear to you that the colors appeared exactly as they do here: the glowing red light in the Ballery’s cloakroom, the oversize bottle of Campari, Barbara’s signature red/orange look, the red accent on her mike, and the red nailpolish in the portrait behind her. Other than that it was all grays and whites and blacks.

A marvelous scene I was lucky to capture, including Barbara’s gorgeous gams!! Thanks to my Patrons on Patreon, who make my documentary art possible <3

Berlin X Brooklyn Drag Exhilaration!

Horrorchata at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2019This is Horrorchata.

She is the Motha of the House of Bushwig, a LatinX punk and International Queen who came to Berlin to light things up this summer. I got a good likeness of her, but I could not find photo reference of her outfit, so the look I have drawn her in is a composite of several of her incredible pastel explosions of creativity. I hope the Queen will find that ok!

Nām at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019This extremely cute boy Nām was one of two backup dancers for queen Ocean.

As a guest of international NY/Berlin drag festival Bushwig this summer, I drew more performers in a single day than I have EVER drawn before, but I couldn’t draw everybody. I felt bad I couldn’t capture the beauty of the queen herself, but sometimes even the best stage-side seat doesn’t give me a decent view of a performer, and that was the case here.

ReveRso at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019ReveRso is a Berlin drag legend, bringing a very different style.

There was a whole other part of ReverRso’s performance, involving actual fireworks in personal areas, that I could not draw for this Patreon-sponsored site. Perhaps you will find it elsewhere 😉Dancer at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019

I didn’t get this performer’s name but they danced tremendously in those sky-high boots!

Performer at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 31 2019This guy is incredibly tall and an amazing dancer, he was BEATING the stage into submission in the brutal heat, just moving and slamming. Drop splits!!

Cupcake at Bushwig Berlin by Suzanne Forbes July 30 2019Cupcake in pink!

Cupcake is a performing artist, theatre-trained actor and a member of the Queer Arab Barty collective. I enjoyed their performance immensely!

I am still working on finishing all the Bushwig Berlin drawings and spraying them with fixativ and scanning them! I actually still have another five performers. The first Bushwig Berlin post is here and the second is here.

As usual these drawings are licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) for all to share and enjoy!

In addition, I release the copyright on each drawing to the performer shown and they may use the drawings for their own profit and pleeeasssure in any way they choose.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work and release it for free. 

You can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me working and releasing my documentary art of Queer Berlin as Free Art.

The Sea Salts of Berlin!

Sirens singing sweet songs at Ballhaus Berlin!

I adore the delicate and sophisticated (and sometimes naughty) sound of Lorelei la Voix and Syren Joey, and it’s a thrill to see them perform in full sea-worthy costume. This session of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin featured the Sea Salts duo performing quite a few lovely numbers. Above, Lorelei in her “blangmange” costume, a marvelous pink hoopskirt froth with a mermaid tail.

Syren Joey of Sea Salts Berlin with rapier by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019Plus, lady with a rapier! Always love a woman with a sword.

Syren Joey is a great performer and I always love to draw her. However, I was struggling quite a lot with these drawings, as I am pushing iterations of my mixed media technique and experiencing the danger of over-confidence. “Don’t get cocky, kid!”Syren Joey of Sea Salts Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

Using chalk markers, pastels and india ink pens, I’m developing an additive/subtractive approach to drawing that lets me work in a more painterly way.

I’m constantly changing and correcting as I draw. It’s actually a derivative of the correction-tape method I developed when doing pen-and-ink work on Guidolon. If I made a mistake, I ran the correction tape over it and was redrawing on top in seconds. It worked great for drawings that were being scanned and transmitted digitally, because no-one ever saw the tape. Not so good for art people are gonna buy the originals of! (and they do; if you want to buy one of my existing drawings from an event, go here, towards the bottom.)

The chalk markers, with their tremendous opacity and extremely fast dry-down, give me similar powers to correction tape. And at the previous Dr. Sketchy’s, with just two models in neutral colors, I was flying! But Sunday I jumped in with the same fearless vigor, and a lot went wrong. Damage to the surface of the paper from too much water in the brown chalk marker, problems with my line as I moved too quickly even for myself, and weird scumbling effects from the pastels I was using.

I just kept rolling, working and reworking the same drawings, trying to figure it out, because I am invested in the process.

It did mean, however, that I didn’t make nearly as many drawings as usual. There are these three of the Sea Salts, and a couple portraits of Bishop Black, and one of beautiful Gizam Akman, and that’s it!

You can see the drawings of Bishop and Gizam here.

All the thanks to producers Syren Joey and Miss LaLa Vox aka @lalavox, UFO Hawaii, @pixie.scarlett and Matthias for all their hard work, and @marenmichaelis  who takes the amazing photographs, and to @lepustra and the hardworking team at the gorgeous vintage venue @ballhausberlin!!

And so much love to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this art and make it available as free art!

 

Bishop Black in pearls, and more castaway hotness at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Bishop Black in pearls at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019I was very excited to get to draw Bishop Black again.

Bishop is a multi-disciplinary artist who works incredibly hard in so many swim lanes! And he is fantastically handsome and muscular 🙂 You can see my drawings of him from the Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin Red Hot Love session here and here.Bishop Black and Gizam Akman at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

I was experimenting a lot with materials for this session (read more at this post) and struggling to resolve values.

Gesture drawing of Bishop Black at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019Rendering skin tones and clothing shadows is something I can do easily in paint, but I am a novice at pastels and color drawing still.

A big part of the reason I’m adding color to my drawings now is to give performers of color a more vibrant representation. My approach is ever-evolving, and I always invite POC performers to check me if I get their undertones wrong!

I only got one drawing of beautiful mermaid model Gizem Akram, seen below, because my usual table by the dj stand just didn’t work well for most of her poses.

This happens occasionally wherever I draw; sometimes I just can’t get a good “shot” of one or more performers.Gizam Akman at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Sept 29 2019

It’s challenging to draw scantily-clad people in multi-colored stage lighting, but I did my best; you know who is awesome at it?

Samantha Stover, who was also at Dr. Sketchy’s on Sunday. As was superb draughtsman Jürgen Schlotter.

It’s such a treat for me to see drawings of the same scene I drew from these two, because their styles are profoundly different from mine but they are both SO good.

I had a wonderful time at Sketchy’s as always.

All the thanks to producers Syren Joey and Miss LaLa Vox aka @lalavox, UFO Hawaii, @pixie.scarlett and Matthias for all their hard work, and @marenmichaelis  who takes the amazing photographs, and to @lepustra and the hardworking team at the gorgeous vintage venue @ballhausberlin!!

And so much love to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this art and make it available as free art!

 

Scenes around town: In the Warteraum.

Lady in the waiting room Sept 4 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThere’s nothing as convenient for us ladies of a certain age as a rack of pamphlets to fan ourselves with!

Perimenopause is a journey of arriving in rooms that are much hotter than you could possibly anticipate, like my GP’s office last Wednesday.

Warteraum paperwork filler outer Sept 7 2019 Suzanne ForbesDoctor’s offices mean paperwork everywhere, particularly in Germany!

In our orthopedist’s Thursday I had to sign a stack of papers for my upcoming knee surgery. Including a prescription for crutches – the co-pay is 5 euros, and some Germans find this outrageous!!!! Our orthopedist is a hilariously brusque guy. When I told him I didn’t want a prescription for opiate painkillers, he was like, “HA HA we don’t give you those! Live with it! Use ice!!” Which is fine. My pain level after my previous surgery here was negligible.

Warteraum reader Sept 7 2019 Suzanne ForbesThis guy!

What a character, right? Always bring a book!

In the 80s my boyfriend Paul and I had this thing, not a joke thing, about always carrying a paperback. In case you were arrested copping and stuck in the Tombs for a 72-hour hold. When I did get popped during a sweep in January of 1989, just two weeks before I got sober, I was so glad to have that paperback in my pocket. I read it three times over as I detoxed cold turkey in the jammed cell. It was either Larry Niven or Norman Spinrad, and it was not very good. For decades I remembered the exact title, even though I never read it again, but I have now finally forgotten it.

My documentary drawings of everyday Berlin life are courtesy of my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make this free art available

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Pride, Not Prejudice: an all-queer Extravagant Shambles – Wrap-Up!!

Noeline la Bouche at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThe last batch of drawings from Pride, Not Prejudice at  Monster Ronsons!

Fabulous muse Noéline la Bouche shook it in purple, amazing as always. Afterwards I visited her at her booth where she sells her beautiful fascinators and headpieces – check her insta to see what shows she’s selling at.

Felicity Felicis at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesRock’em sock’em showgirl Felicity Felicis!

She is so gorgeous and sassy!

Skirt Vonnegut at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesA thoroughly Longbottom routine from Skirt Vonnegut!

They told me about this routine in advance but I am a movie-potter not book Potter person so I may have missed some subtleties!

Lily Lustre at Pride Not Prejudice Sept 7 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd the rose of English Roses, Lily Lustre!

I was so thrilled to draw her again that I didn’t even mind getting earwormed with Wuthering Heights at Monster Ronsons for the second time.

Thanks to producer Cadbury Parfait for having me as your guest at this Pride Week show with an all queer-identifying lineup!

See more Extravagant Shambles events!

An important note to all my lovelies: I’ve been at home finishing all these drawings from way earlier this summer while I have a horrible case of strep throat AND bronchitis.

As a fat, queer, disabled artist, crowdfunded support is the only way I can make this work. 

You can join my Patreon Patrons, for as little as a dollar/euro a month, to keep me working and releasing my documentary art of Queer Berlin as Free Art.