Tag Archives: queer art

More 1930s Glamour!

Mama Ulita and Lars with piano at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Dec 9 2018I made these drawings of Mama Ulita and Lars Schwuchow at the Kabarett der Namenlosen edition of Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

It took me a little while to find the energy and a slightly sunny day to photograph them, though! They’re too big for the scanner 🙂 Mama Ulita and Lars at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Dec 9 2018Look how amazing these two are. They’re like time travelers.

So grateful to Le PustraLalaVox , Ballhaus Berlin and all the performers/models/crew for this amazing drawing session at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂 and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art!Mama Ulita posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne Forbes

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Kabarett der Namenlosen I

Hansel and Gretel

Baba Yaga, posts one and two

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!

The genderqueer glamour of Kabarett der Namenlosen, at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

Le Pustra and Mama Ulita dancing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAh, the magic of these performers!

What glorious muses these Weimar angels of debauchery are!

Le Pustra and Mama Ulita posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI haven’t managed to see the theatrical performance of Berlin’s legendary Kabarett der Namenlosen yet, but I got to draw several of its wonderful characters. Above, Le Pustra and the sublime Mama Ulita.Le Pustra and Lars posing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesLe Pustra, the producer of Kabarett der Namenlosen, has also been co-producing Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin with LalaVox. So it was natural they would do a session featuring the styles and sensuality of the dark cabaret.

Le Pustra and Lars dancing at Dr Sketchys Berlin Dec 9 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd how beautifully the 1930s dance hall setting of Ballhaus Berlin frames them. It’s heartbreaking to feel the spirit of Weimar Berlin right now, as LGBTQIA rights are under attack in places where so much progress had been made.

The Weimar era’s freedom of sexual and gender expression is so fucking poignant right now.

We must not go back, we must protect everyone’s right to be and love who they are, and wear whatever they want.

If you’re in Berlin, see the Kabarett der Namenlosen while you can! Thanks again to Le PustraLalaVox and all the performers/models/crew for another lovely time at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin! Here’s the Insta 🙂 and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to make art!

previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin:

Hansel and Gretel

Baba Yaga, posts one and two

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!

Gay lovebugs at Ludwig!

Lovers watching Olympia Bukakis perform at Ludwig Nov 23 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThese sweethearts are watching a performance by Olympia Bukkakis.

Olympia is the founder of Queens Against Borders. QAB is a performance party in solidarity with queer and trans refugees.

Transophonix performing at Ludwig Nov 26 2018 by Suzanne ForbesHere’s Transophonix performing.

These two cuties are newlyweds!

Relaxing at Ludwig Nov 24 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd here is a member of community just chilling the heck out.

They are relaxing in the safe space that is queer bar and art gallery, Ludwig Berlin. Opening a radically inclusive, trans, lesbian and nonbinary welcoming, gay art bar in Neukölln has been a challenging journey for Maurus and Ceven, who run the space. I am so grateful the community has stepped up to support Ludwig, a beautiful and warm clubhouse for creative queers and their companions.

Thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, who 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.

New portrait painting in progress: Sebastian in brights.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018I am super pleased with how this portrait of a new friend is coming along.

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 detailSebastian is a circus performer and producer who comes from the Oz steampunk scene and has some fabulous outfits.

He calls this one his “Snow White” colors and I love how the brights pop against the soft colors of the salon.

I have had more of a challenge finding people who are into dressing up for fun in Berlin than I did in the Bay Area. This isn’t a dress-up town, alas.

I love people who love clothes and fashion and performative identity and was happy to find another collaborator!

Above is after the second sitting. Here’s after the first.

Using a canvas toned gray the way Sargent did has speeded up my painting even more. You can see the edge of the gray along the right side below!

Portrait of Sebastian by Suzanne Forbes work in progress Oct 30 2018 first sitting

This portrait will be done in one more sitting I expect.

And then I need to get back to the painting of Shakrah, which was interrupted for a long spell by the bus accident and my hand injury!

 

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!

Queer portrait drawings from a benefit at Ludwig!

Sigrid at Ludwig Sept 16 2018 by Suzanne Forbes in installationI am on a big gay drawing binge!

Kaey onstage at Ludwig Sept 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI was asked by Maurus, our friend who runs Ludwig bar and art gallery in Neukölln, to do some live drawing at a fundraiser. Of course I said yes! And I think I hit it out of the park.

Above is singer Sigrid Grajek, who the benefit was for. I snuck the portrait into the installation currently in Ludwig’s main exhibition gallery, The Serpent Eats its Tail by Russell James Redwood Harris.

Harris‘s work features textiles, textures and rich symbolism, like the men’s y-fronts (tightey-whiteys!) soaked in a salt solution until they became a pure crystalline mass of snow-white glitter.

And several beautiful feathers carefully cut out of gold leather.

Kaey and Transophonix at Ludwig Sept 16 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI also drew Kaey, the MC, both while onstage and while chatting at the bar with a friend from “queer trash orchestra” Transophonix.

And amazing multi-talented singer-dominabondage artist Kristina Marlen, who was there with her lovely mom. Ms. Marlen knocked the room out with a classic Berliner cabaret tune.

singer at Ludwig by Suzanne Forbes Sept 16 2018Her mom bought the drawing in the fundraiser auction, which delighted me!

It is my goal to always make myself available for LGBTQIA, sex-positive, kinky, and alternative community benefits if my spoons/health allow. In the Bay Area I did a ton of benefits and fundraisers, and I am slowly ramping up here!

I can do this work because of my wonderful Patrons on Patreon, who provide the monthly financial support that makes it possible for me to document queer life in Berlin!!

If you want an art donation for a benefit or want me to draw at an event, just let me know 🙂 I’m on Instagram here.

Queer elders at The Ballery on Folsom Europe Weekend.

Laura Halding-Hoppenheit and friends at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThere’s no Elders like Queer Elders.

Fearless, generous, battle-scarred by AIDS but refusing to be defined by loss, and still freaky as hell and ready to party. At big leather events they come out in full force, in full regalia. And I get to draw them! During this year’s Folsom Europe, my highest priority was making it to The Ballery for a celebration of “My Gay Eye”, their special Tom of Finland show. (you can see my drawings from the opening here!)

I drew Laura Halding-Hoppenheit, above, right before Durk Dehner announced she had made a generous donation to the Tom of Finland Foundation, which preserves and protects erotic art.

I was so moved that Laura was wearing a red ribbon pin, in an era when few publicly remind us of the presence of HIV and AIDS.

She is known as Stuttgart’s Schwulen-Mutter (Gay Mother) and the Jewel of Stuttgart, and was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for her social work. She serves on the local council and owns King’s Club and the newly opened Tom’s Bar, a quieter bar for the elder queers, in Stuttgart. She has made her life’s work fighting AIDS, working for tolerance for gay and trans people and helping immigrant sex workers.

Rinaldo Hopf and Durk Dehner at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI got to draw Durk Dehner again, talking about his work as an Art Protector and his curatory collaboration with Rinaldo Hopf.

The show pairs with the Tom of Finland edition of Mein Schwules Augen, a compendium of gay erotic art Rinaldo Hopf has produced for many years. The pin on Durk’s tie says “Support Art!” These older gay men, they look good. They’re fit, virile. They preserve their youth by doing creative work they care deeply about, and by having sex with and choosing as partners much younger men, just as I do!

I also got to meet Henning Von Berg, the premier nude portrait photographer for the discerning private client. He has gorgeous work in the show. I will draw him next time, he is so tall he says people say, “I didn’t see you up there!”.

Otto and the drink line for Tom of Finland vodka at The Ballery Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesThe beautiful boy with the long hair is Julian, visiting from Taiwan. He is one of the artists in the show.

Artist Otto Oscar Hernández Ruiz, assistant director of the gallery, is mixing drinks with Tom of Finland vodka, an organic vodka made with arctic water. They sponsored the show!

I chatted with Diva Tomast, below, on my way home. She was relaxing outside legendary Berlin leather shop Butcherei Lindinger. She had been onstage MC’ing earlier and I had wanted to draw her but been drawn away by a photographer who wanted to capture my Bi Pride corset.

Diva Tomast at Bucherei Lindinger Folsom Europe Sept 8 2018 by Suzanne ForbesFolsom Europe is such a lovely event. So full of power, history and survival. And kissing and spanking!

The Leather community weathered a storm beyond imagining, a generation lost, and came out even stronger. I can’t wait to draw this leather celebration again next year!

I’m so grateful to my Patrons, whose monthly support via art funding platform Patreon makes my work happen. I couldn’t make documentary art of queer Berlin without them.

You can buy the special Tom of Finland edition of “My Gay Eye” here. You can donate to help the Tom of Finland Foundation preserve, protect and support the creation of erotic art here. And you can buy Tom of Finland vodka here, a percentage of sales goes to the Foundation! I’m sure it is delicious for people who like alcohol 🙂

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.

Drawing portraits of young Berlin folx at queer art space Ludwig.

S at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesI went to our much-loved art hangout Ludwig on Friday for my friend Sue’s birthday.

Sue is an artist and curator and we have done lovely art events at Ludwig, however this time we were just checking out the current show and chilling. I made drawings of some friends who were there. S. was wearing their internal clitoris necklace from a local Berlin artist!

Super pleased with this likeness of E., who I was meeting for the first time.

E at Ludwig Sept 7 2018 by Suzanne ForbesAnd as always, incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patrons, for making it possible for me to make portraits of these Berlin folx and share them. 

Ok not much else to say cause I got SO MANY drawings to finish and scan and post from the rest of this Big Gay Weekend!

Finished for Folsom Europe: Bi Pride Corset!

Bi Pride corset by Suzanne Forbes August 29 2018 front viewThis project took an entire year! About 200 hours of work! Dang!

Bi Pride corset by Suzanne Forbes August 29 2018I started this beaded corset project last fall when I got a great price on a used lilac 426 Standard mesh corset by Orchard Corset. It was always my intention to have it finished for the Motzstr. Festival, a special Pride event in Berlin in July.

But I wound up taking an entire year to finish it, and I think that’s good. Because I made it to affirm my fundamental identity as a queer woman, and I stitched that identity and pride and love into it thousands and thousands of times.

Last summer, while writing this post, I realized I’d developed a lot of internal biphobia over the last thirty years.

As a person who has been married to three men and who has almost only dated men in sobriety, I felt like a “retired” queer person. I stopped thinking of myself as bisexual.

And as a “retired” queer person, I felt so much safer.

Bi Pride corset by Suzanne Forbes August 29 2018It’s terrible to know that, to realize I took some comfort in the reduction of my vulnerability that living a straight life meant. Because I never for a minute stopped being aware of the consequences and dangers of living an out gay life.

I knew I couldn’t blame my cowardice on my upbringing. When I was fifteen and my mom opened the door to my bedroom to see me and my friend Jenny in bed naked, she asked if we wanted to go out for brunch. She accepted my girlfriend Pam into our home for years without question.

And I am no fan of my father, but he took me to Stonewall and told me what happened there before I was ten.

So my change in identity wasn’t about shame, it was about fear.

I felt guilty about living in the Bay Area as what appeared to be a straight person. I felt guilty about the privilege that accorded me. But it seemed like compared to the people around me, I was functionally straight. When you regularly attend sex parties where you draw a trans man fucking a trans woman while she gives oral sex to a nonbinary person, being a married cis-femme seems really conventional.

Bi Pride corset by Suzanne Forbes August 29 2018Plus, as a portrait painter who often asks women I’ve just met to come to my home and pose for me, I felt less creepy identifying as cis-straight-married!

Then I moved to Berlin.

Bi Pride corset by Suzanne Forbes August 29 2018 right panelLiving in Berlin has connected me to my youth and my New York identity in so many profound ways.

There was a jump-cut that happened when I left New York at 22, in 1989, to go to treatment.

I moved to St. Paul, where the halfway house was, for six years, and then to Hartford, then to DC, then to the Bay Area.

In all those places I drove a car everywhere, lived in wooden houses, people were polite in the stores… It was like a different world.

I had all these adventures in this different world, and then in 2015, I got on the subway and went home.

Or so it feels. To live in a big apartment building, take the subway everywhere, walk the city streets at 3 am, eat a slice of pizza in a doorway just out of the rain, be yelled at by a shopkeeper – this reconnects me to my fundamental self.

And of course, even though married and cis, my fundamental self is queer as fuck.

So over this year, over 200 hours, I made this corset, beading and sewing and hotfixing crystals. I will wear it with Pride at Folsom Europe next month, and I’ll get some pictures of me in it!