Tag Archives: queer berlin

Drag Brunch in Prenzlauerberg!

Mx Aleppo Pepper at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 by Suzanne ForbesIt was a quiet Sunday afternoon when I glanced at Instagram and saw my friend Dia was about to perform at Tipsy Bär, on the other side of town.

I hadn’t seen Dia work their moves onstage since we lived in the Bay, so I grabbed my art tools and jumped on the train. I made it just in time to catch Dia’s second act as well some other fabulous people!Ebony Rose Dark at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Ebony Rose Dark danced so gracefully, so delicately on those 6″ heels. She was amazing!

And she casually kept them on after her performance! We had a minute to chat and she told me about some of the other performances she does, including one in pitch dark with fellow visually impaired performers. Now I really want to go to Worn and Felt and draw in the dark.

Vivienne Lovecraft at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 by Suzanne ForbesVivienne P. Lovecraft was a vision of serenity in opal pastels, performing about Steven Universe I believe?

Which is a tv show that so many people I love are into, but I have never seen. I feel slightly guilty about that!

During the trivia contest, the question “What do the H. and P. in H.P. Lovecraft stand for?” was asked and Dia yelled, “Highly Problematic!” Another audience member pointed out that Lovecraft was from Rhode Island, which is hysterical, during Drag Brunch.

Vanessa Jupiter at Drag Bunch May 3 2019 Suzanne ForbesI drew hostess Vanessa Jupiter at a Full Moon Cabaret back in February, so I had a sense of her face already.

I loved her rainbow flag stole and a tender performance to Björk’s “All is Full of Love”, where she came out and hugged all the audience members. It was really comforting and hopeful. As Ms. Jupiter pointed out, a Sunday afternoon drag show may seem silly, but taking space this way is always, always a political act.

I’m grateful I can document moments like this in Berlin, thanks to my Patrons on Patreon whose monthly financial support allows me to make this art!

 

Portrait of Shakrah, third sitting.

Portrait of Shakrah Yves work in process third sitting by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2019Sometimes a portrait changes a lot during the process!

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 was frustrated with this portrait of my friend Shakrah Yves because it’s on a small canvas (about 40x50cm) and I usually paint quite large.

I just couldn’t get comfortable with the composition.

Plus, during the second sitting, which was photographed by Mirella Frangella, I radically changed Shakrah’s pose and completely repainted her face.

But we convened for a third sitting last week and it came together, finally. WIP Portrait of Shakrah Yves by Suzanne Forbes first and second sittings 2018

Here are the results of the first two sittings, above.

Really different right?? It’s not done yet, but Shakrah’s time-traveler beauty is emerging. In the ten months since we last worked on this picture, Shakrah and I have spent time hanging out, and I have come to know her face much better. I was truly feeling like her character and her beauty weren’t captured by the portrait to date, and seriously considering abandoning it. Plus, the pink velvet salon chair she was sitting on was destroyed by a giant hacker during our New Year’s Day epic brunch, so we needed to use a different chair!

But she was up for posing, after my work hiatus caused by the bus accident and after her very busy year, and I decided to see how it went. Because I know her face better, when I returned to the painting, I could see what was salvageable and good about the second iteration, and build on it. And we decided to remove her headpiece, even though she made it and it is beautiful, because its scale overpowered the small painting.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this one! I posted the latest on my Instagram and one of my Patrons commented,

Portrait of Shakrah after third sitting detail by Suzanne Forbes April 29 2019 2

“Thank you for sharing your frustrations as a professional artist. It gives the rest of us newbies perspective and that we too should keep trying.”

I was glad to be of service, and also surprised. I started earning money as an artist when I was sixteen, so I’ve been working within my own insecurities and frustration my whole life. That’s why it’s WORK!

I guess I assume everybody knows that professional artists struggle constantly with not being as good as they want! Or not being able to resolve a piece! Or not being able to capture someone or something beautiful!

That’s the greatest frustration to me, that I can never capture the beauty of my subjects the way I see it.

I will never be able to show you exactly how beautiful and luminous and unique you are before me, but I will get closer and closer til the day I die, Goddess willing.

And I am able to do this because of the help of my Patrons on Patreon who provide the monthly sponsorship that allows me to tell women’s stories and grow as an artist!

 

A benefit for Berlin’s only Gay-Inclusive Rugby Team, the Berlin Bruisers!

Lola Rose at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 14 2019Sometime soon I’m gonna go draw the Berlin Bruisers actually playing rugby.Ben Meachum at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 12 2019

But first, I drew the fabulous performers at a benefit for the Bruisers, who are Berlin’s only gay-inclusive rugby team. The annual benefit is called Violet Varieté, and was held at epic queer nightclub and party space Schwuz. That’s beautiful Lola Rose, above!

On the left, comedian Ben Meachum, in his latex wrestling singlet 🙂

The event was hosted by legends of queer Berlin, Gieza Poke and Liliana Velásquez! Two of the hardest-working performers in town, they have contributed their talents to this fundraiser for years.

“I love to draw Liliana,” I said to her dear friend Fannie Headaek, “she has the elegant lines of a fighting swan.”Liliana Velasquez at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 10 2019

Does that make sense? I don’t know, but I stand by it! And check out co-host Gieza Poke!

Is Pansexual Pleasure Goddess Gieza’s outfit a yellow plaid bustier and plaid booty shorts topped with a yellow plaid cape with power shoulders and a yellow tam o’shanter fascinator? Yes, yes it is. Fucking amazing.Gieza Poke at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 12 2019

Also performing was The Darvish, an elegant neo-bellydancer.The Darwish at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 12 2019

Dunja, an incredible Guinness World Record setting hula hooper, (see below!) as Mia Wallace!Dunja at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 12 2019

And Evilyn Frantic, muse of Dr. Sketchys Berlin, who I have drawn many times before, but never while she was moving!Evilyn Frantic at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 13 2019

Plus Nana Schewitz, another local legend!

Nana Schewitz at Violet Variete Benefit for Berlin Bruisers by Suzanne Forbes April 12 2019Here’s some of the Bruisers in uniform, on the dance floor before the show!Berlin Bruisers at Violet Variete Schuz April 10 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

And here is Feline and Strange, with my beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Rah Hell on drums!Feline and Strange at Violet Variete Schuz April 10 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Thanks to the Bruisers for inviting me! And always, my heartfelt gratitude to my Patrons, who crowdfund my documentary art project of a queer feminist intersectional lens on Berlin life! You can help, with any amount you like per month, a dollar or euro is great ?

My Patrons on Patreon give monthly financial support which allows me to make this free documentary art available for all to share.

And enjoy witnessing Dunja setting one of her hula hoop Guinness World Records!!!!

 

The Shimmy Shake Show at Ballhaus Berlin, with Scotty the Blue Bunny!

Scotty the Blue Bunny at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesYou can never really get used to the sight of a very tall, loud, slightly drunk gay man in a glittering velvet bunny suit.

As often I as see, and draw, Scotty the Blue Bunny performing, there is still a pleasant frisson of shock at just how much blue bunny he is. Even in flats!

The beauty below is La Viola Vixen, mâitresse of Shimmy Shake School.

La Viola Vixen at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesThis was my first time making it to the Shimmy Shake Show, which features students, graduates and teachers from Berlin burlesque school The Shimmy Shake School. It is held at the beautiful vintage venue Ballhaus Berlin, where I go multiple times a year for Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin.

You can call the bar to order a drink with the antique telephones on the tables, though the bar is always too busy to bring you a beverage when I’ve been there!

As you can see, the audience members were dressed for the show.Attendee at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

I was invited to draw at the show by Shimmy Shake teacher La Loba Lucía, who I became a mad fan of after I saw her perform at Extravagant Shambles. She is the most leonine, ferocious, superheroic burlesque performer I have seen so far. Drawings of her act coming soon!

Meanwhile, here is another instructor, Anja Pavlova, performing a ballet-like burlesque that had a rococo Rites-of-Spring feel!

Anja Pavlova at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd here is Cadbury Parfait, who produces Extravagant Shambles.

I have been invited to draw at Extravagant Shambles several times now and really love the crew.

Cadbury Parfait at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 30 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI also know Stella Von Fersen, seen below as a pearl emerging from satin oyster fans, from the Shambles.Stella von Fersen at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

There was a Neo-burlesque duet, below, that was passionate and lovely, Adèle Meta Morphosis is the dancer.Duet at Shimmy Shake Show Ballhaus Berlin March 24 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

And btw, check out Scott’s beautiful gay portrait sanctuary, Love Gay People, here.

Lots of love to my beautiful Patrons on Patreon, who make it possible for me to document Berlin’s queer intersectional burlesque scene and release the artwork free to all!

A special night at Monster Ronson’s!

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!

So his birthday had to be celebrated at queer Berlin clubhouse Monster Ronsons, home of Pansy’s House of Presents, Merlin’s Berlin, Loving The Alien, and so much more. This is Robert with bumBlechum, above. They played “Disco Knicks” and threw masses of underwear aka pants out into the crowd.

Disco knicks! Shake your disco rear!

The crowd had a blast, as you can see!

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!Party at Monster Ronsons by Suzanne Forbes March 25 2019

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!

Pump Gang at Monster Ronsons by Suzanne Fprbes Marc 14 2019I 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!

The Hunger Moon at Full Moon Cabaret!

Viva Lamore at Full Moon Cabaret Hunger Moon event by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019This was my first time at one of Full Moon Cabaret’s secret suppers.

I have been to Berlin’s most transgressive burlesque show before, in another very cool secret venue, and I love to draw producer Viva Lamore, who is a fellow New Yorker. (That’s her above with her gong! She told me she was having so much fun with “the fucking GONG!”) The acts are always fierce and freaky.

Plus, there’s a mooning contest which is pretty exciting!

So I was psyched to see this show and I was not disappointed.

Guests at Full Moon Cabaret Hunger Moon event by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019Behind a secret door was a long room with a stage, lined with a very long dining table.

I took a seat on the sidelines so I could draw. (I learned my lesson about trying to eat and draw simultaneously at a LOTR-themed immersive dinner theater event put on by the Greater Bay Area Costumers’ Guild in 2005 or 6!) Most of the Full Moon attendees were in ’30s finery and there was a crew of gorgeous performers in really wonderful Shanghai 1930s style. That’s stage manager Maylisss standing in the background above; she is an expert at vintage clothing and costuming.

Below, more lovely audience and attendees!Audience at Full Moon Cabaret by Suzanne Forbes March 15 2019Chika at Full Moon Cabaret Hunger Moon event by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019

That’s Chika, above helping with the mooning-hole!

and below with legend Vanessa Jupiter in the long gloves who is a trained massage therapist and was doing massages for the guests.Performers at Full Moon Cabaret Hunger Moon event by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019Viva and her crew are so vibrant and sexy, and there is a kink vibe to the shows so I feel right at home!

Marianne Cheesecake at Full Moon Cabaret Hunger Moon event by Suzanne Forbes Feb 28 2019This was one of those events where I wanted to draw everyone a dozen times.

Marianne Cheesecake, performing with a very badly behaved dragon puppet, was SO beautiful!

The finale performance, by Crystal Tassels, was fantastic. Sadly, I cannot show you the drawing on a Patreon post. (It involved a cake and a chair!)

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!

Live-drawing Pêdra Costa and Sadie Lune at the Schwules Museum!

Pedra Costa performing at Schwules Museum by Suzanne Forbes Mar 7 2019Valentine’s Day was the finissage of the EXTRA + TERRESTRIAL exhibit by COVEN BERLIN at Berlin’s Gay Museum, the Schwules Museum.

I was invited by Harley Aussoleil of COVEN BERLIN to do documentary drawing. (You can see my drawings from the Spoken Word event of the show here.)

Pêdra Costa, a Brazilian performance artist, performed hers work de_colon_isation. You can see hers beginning the piece above, with technical support from Maya Guttman.

In the background, on the wall, are drawn works by the incredible Mexican artist Rurru Mipanochia; you can see photos of them here!

Pedra Costa dancing in performance at Schwules Museum by Suzanne Forbes Feb 27 2019Here is Pêdra dancing as the scent of “Brazilian Bum Bum” cream fills the air.

I loved how the sensory experience of smell was incorporated into the work. There are photos on Instagram!

Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux filmed by Marit Ostberg at Schwules Museum by Suzanne Forbes March 7 2019My friend Sadie Lune, who is part of COVEN, was being filmed by the documentary crew of multidisciplinary queer artist Marit Östberg.

Here you can see Sadie, eight months pregnant, being interviewed as she and photographer Jo Pollux lie within Sadie’s piece, “Weird Sisters”. I feel like it looks like they’re in a field at night and Sadie is pointing out the constellations to Jo, telling her a story about the baby’s star sign.

Many thanks to Harley Aussoleil, who was in charge of the event programming for this exhibit and provided wonderful support to me as I worked! These drawings, like 95% of my art, are licensed Creative Commons for you to freely use and share if you credit me as artist.

And always, always, thank you to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly subscription support makes my work documenting queer Berlin possible.

Jo Pollux shoots Sadie Lune’s pregnancy photos in our salon!

Jo Pollux and Sadie Lune at Sadies pregancy photoshoot Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesGetting a chance to draw these two artists as they work was a dream collaboration.

Ace photog Jo Pollux shooting Sadie Lune Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesBerlin photographer and film-maker Jo Pollux has photographed Sadie Lune so often, and so beautifully; they work together in easy harmony.Jo Pollux shooting Sadie Lune at Sadies pregancy photoshoot Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

Sadie knows Jo will make amazing images, and Jo is gonna get the shot no matter what!

Being trusted to be present and document their process was such a privilege.

I have painted them together and drawn both Sadie and Jo often, but this was a whole new level.

Sadie is VERY pregnant with her second child! Nonetheless, she is a very experienced model and the vibe was extremely chill. She wore several pairs of SUPER high heeled Fluevogs!Sadie Lune at her pregancy photoshoot Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

I didn’t plan for the drawings of Jo to come out all anime-superheroine, but I was working with a new type of pen and really working fast!
Jo Pollux in our library Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne Forbes
I’m super grateful to Jo and Sadie for letting me share this moment.Sadie Lune pastel portrait detail Berlin Feb 13 by Suzanne Forbes

Jo Pollux shooting Feb 13 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI did a pastel drawing of Sadie posing on the couch en déshabillé but you’ll have to go to my flickr to see it!

Sadie’s Amazon wish list for the new baby is here if you’d like to help a single parent working artist out!

If you want to follow her work here’s her Insta, her twitter and her (NSFW) website.

Jo’s website is here. You can pre-order Jo’s exquisitely beautiful erotic photobook in collaboration with Sadie, “As You Wish My Lady”, here. (NSFW 🙂

My work documenting queer culture in Berlin is made possible by my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art. 

You can help, for a little as a dollar/euro a month! My live documentary art is licensed Creative Commons and free for all to share and print, you can read about how that works here.

Red Hot Love at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin!

Valentina Demonia and Martini Cherryfurter portraits at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 by Suzanne ForbesOh, what a gorgeous show this was!

Another absolute knockout of a Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin production from LaLa Vox and Syren Joey, at the beautiful Ballhaus Berlin. The models were Valentina Demonia, who I’ve drawn many times, Martini Cherry Furter who I was discovering for the first time, and BiszhopBlaczkx. I had been wanting to draw @thebiszhopblaczkx for YEARS!!! I was sick for the last #drsketchysberlin he performed at and no way was I missing this one!!!

biszhopblaczk at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesAnd he wore flowers on his head!!!

Valentina Demonia detail at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesI just loved everything about this session.

Many of the poses and outfits were too racy for a Patreon sponsored post, so I’ll finish those drawings and you’ll have to find them on my flickr 😉

I especially loved Valentina’s pasties and red thigh-high boots look, and Martini’s red and black corset! Most of Biszhop’s outfits consisted of his extreme good looks, a pretty accessory and a smoky gaze. His bits were covered, but not by much!

Martini Cherry Furter both posed and performed, an exhilarating number involving the audience setting her on fire!

Martini Cherryfurter detail at Dr Sketchys Berlin Feb 17 2019 by Suzanne ForbesShe has incredible stage presence. She  looked so good I actually lost all decorum and shouted, “Girl you are SO BEAUTIFUL!!”. She accepted that as her due, with a gracious smile.

thank you so much to these amazing artists who brought their hearts and souls to the show, it was a privilege to draw you!

Thank you again, @lalavox and @syrenjoey and @ballhausberlin !

and thanks so very much to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art!

Previous Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin posts:

Kabarett der Namenlosen one

and two

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!

In which I am interviewed at Le Grand Mess by Liliana Velásquez and Fannie Headaek!

Liliana Velasquez and Fannie Headaek at Le Grand Mess Feb 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesTwo of Berlin’s hardest working entertainers invited me to their talk-show-with-a-twist.

Le Grand Mess takes place at the charming little theater InnovationArt just two subway stops from us, so the hubbin and I made an evening out of it. I have enjoyed drawing both Liliana Velásquez and Fannie Headaek before.Liliana Velasquez and Fannie Headaek dancing at Le Grand Mess Feb 9 2019 by Suzanne Forbes

You can see my drawings of Liliana performing at Folsom Europe, emcee’ing the Tom Petty tribute show and at Lagari, and of Fannie at Monster Ronson’s. Liliana is the host of The Freudian Slip Club (every Sunday! no matter what!), co-producer of Big Broad Revue, and so many other things.

Portrait of Fannie Headaek Feb 9 2019 by Suzanne ForbesFannie does her own special effects makeup!

And is also an absolutely banging pole dancer. We had such a lovely time, and I really enjoyed talking about my work with these lovely folx, and my hubbin  cracked up at all the jokes.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support allows me to make art documenting queer culture in Berlin. 

You can help, for a little as a dollar/euro a month! My live documentary art is licensed Creative Commons and free for all to share and print, you can read about how that works here.