I had to go to Queerberg Presents‘ first festival.
It was simply non-negotiable. I had promised Queerberg‘s sweetheart producer, dancer, teacher and performer Prens Emrah that I would make it to one of her outdoor events this year. And a cool snap in Germany while the rest of Europe burns meant an opportunity that might never come again.
Her work is exquisite. We had a really nice visit while I sat with her and drew. It’s very hard to get a good scan of these pastel drawings, so the header image shows the drawings as photographed, while this is a scan, above.
She is a graceful dancer and terrific makeup artist. She posed very elegantly and looked marvelous. Swirly skirt!!
Emrah was bustling around as things got started (I arrived at the very beginning of the event), filming the scene and posting it (screenshots of me drawing Dina below!) One of the things I love about her is that he is a wonderful archivist, documenting all the events and sharing them.
After a Queerberg Presents event I always hit the instagram account’s Stories, so I can enjoy some of the action even though I mostly can’t be there.
Emrah always offers to have someone take care of me, he always sees me as both a person and a disabled person.
I knew I would feel safe at this event. I was cared for and seen. There was an awareness team, and whenever I asked someone for help they were there. A crew member walked me to the bathroom for the club’s backyard, but unfortunately it was at the top of three straight flights of stairs, and then apparently more stairs. Those stairs looked like Mount Everest to me.* “Can you keep it?” she asked. “Gonna try and keep it for a while”, I laughed.
I got to meet IRL Keil Li Divõn, who I know online and had drawn IRL at one of the last events I went to in 2020.
Such a treat to draw her again! She is on the right, KA is on left. I asked Keil Li to call me a taxi, as I still don’t own a phone. She called the cab, and then she walked me out to it, made sure I got in it. Listen to her sing here and check out her channel!
Here is a list of everything that was scheduled if you would like to be amazed at how much Queer Berlin talent could fit in one venue. Inside the venue, sworker-led panels, bellydance workshops, performances, live music, birthday cake for and stripperformance from beloved muse Chiqui Love, djs, fire-eating from Munetsi aka I-am-Showman, drag shows and more.
And in the sunny, shady backyard, a bazaar with food, music, shops, henna art, a toy raffle from Other Nature Berlin, and tables from beloved Berlin sworker orgs!
The orgs included The Black Sex Workers Collective (@thebswc, website here, twitter here) Trans*Sexworks (@transsexworks, website here, linktree here), Sx Worker Union (@sxworkerunionberlin) and one for org Trans Pride Berlin (@transprideberlin.)
Tabling at an event is exhausting, incredibly hard work. While I support these orgs online with redistribution and sharing, it was really great to actually meet folks doing the work and hand them cash for awesome stuff.
I live in Berlin. I’m well aware that this celebration of BIPOC queer, trans, refugee folx and the sex work many do is vulnerable. Every person I know at this event has suffered so much, and certainly everyone I don’t know too. Virtually no-one is secure in any sense.
I want a world where this event happens every summer, and I also know it’s possible it will never happen again.
So I am doing everything I can to celebrate it and honor the folks involved. I was only there for 2.5 hours, but it meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful to my Patrons, who made it possible.
My Patreon Patrons are the 70 or so folks whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to continue documenting Berlin performers as a high-risk disabled person.
*I absolutely would have stayed longer if there had been an accessible place to pee. But Europe is not accessible. There is no ADA. (There is the EAA, and in Germany the BITV, but both are really focused on products and services like web access. Europe doesn’t even try with physical building accessibility.)