Tag Archives: San Francisco queer art scene

From the Vaults: illustrations for Wicked Grounds.

As I work on organizing images for the book, I am finding all kinds of forgotten art.

And I mean literally forgotten, from when my MECFS/burnout was so bad I have no memory of making most of these! Back in 2009, a few months before Wicked Grounds opened, I met with Rose and Ryan to talk about drawing postcards for the cafe to sell.

Everything was so organized back then, before the actual opening!

There was a contract I signed and everything. The postcards were about the concept of service, and never went any further than these roughs. I like the detail of the espresso machine and milkshake machine in the top drawing, though I am shocked and appalled at how I drew the “default people” as white, abled and slim.

Latte art at Wicked Grounds in San Francisco. Michealangelo S. via Yelp

Someone else, with much better graphic design skills than me, drew the awesome logo.

Funny thing about opening a restaurant, always: once it starts, no matter how good your plans were, you can’t find your ass with both hands.

San Francisco did not make it easy to open Wicked Grounds. Anyway it was a nice meeting, and ultimately led to me working at Wicked Grounds as an employee in September of that year. After a brutal divorce, losing my Berkeley home and my freelance business and then losing my apartment and being taken in by a beloved Friend-Muse-Patron, I was shattered. I needed connection and community.

Wicked Grounds was my refuge.

I made wonderful friends (many of them seggs workers), got a sweet new boyfriend, reconnected at depth with kink culture and fell even deeper in love with amazing seggs worker spirit. And then I met my husband while working there.

So basically WG saved my life on so many levels.

And I know Wicked Grounds helped a lot of others.

Blessed memories. Sweet kinksters. Puppies frolicking in the back of the cafe where we’d pulled the tables away, drinking milkshakes from dog bowls and shaking the floor with their leaps. “Sanitize as necessary”. Making out with my young boyfriend as we pulled espresso shots!

Live queer porn shoots in the cafe, sign on the door “Closed for porn shoot”. Hot and sweaty Folsom Sunday when we were all topless, wearing just Wicked Grounds stickers on our nipples! Meeting my brother-from-another-mother Mickey Mod, KC and so many more.

Jared from DNA gave me the sobriquet “Velocicougar” – “My God, it can open a door!”

Thanksgiving, Collaring my boy. Our staff Christmas party, and New Years Eve 2009, when my boy and I had the cafe all to ourselves. Candy cane whips, stingy not thuddy!

Leather elders meeting in the cafe. Littles playing! So much beautiful kink scene. So much glorious SOMA leather spirit.

Although the physical cafe is sadly closed, the team is still very active, creating educational content, events and classes in a new space, and Patreon community. The Wicked Grounds website has books, classes, calendar of events, toys and more.

You can find Wicked Grounds online on the website, twitter, Instagram, and on Patreon.

You can watch me talk about those days, at Bawdy Storytelling!

As I wind down my life’s work and work on creating a book of my art, you can follow me on substack (free of course) for updates about the book, art bequests and more.

I am incredibly grateful to my Patreon Patronswhose monthly financial support in this final year makes it possible for me to document my art archives.

First Sitting: A really big new portrait, my first diptych!

WIP Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes color clarification pass Sept 24 2017This Sunday I started a big new portrait of my dear friend Sadie Lune and her wonderful partner Jo.

WIP Portrait Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes Sept 24 2017This is my first diptych painting. It is being done on two canvases, which will be hung together or separately at the choice of my curator Thorsten at @ludwig.berlin when we show the works in early October!

Sadie is wearing her beautiful black leather Alexandra corset by  @darkgardencorsetry. Jo, a photographer, is wearing a marvelous outfit of a little ruffled white dress and a cage harness of black elastic, which I will paint in at the next sitting. And they will have Autumn headdresses of rosehips!

Sadie Lune at her birthday party CSC October 2008 by Suzanne ForbesI have wanted to paint Sadie since I met her at “Nude Aid”, an art benefit for the Center for Sex and Culture, in 2007. She is an artist, performer, sex worker and activist and has marvelous style and presence. The day I met her she was working as both artist and model as she often does. She was wearing a cloche, I remember it so vividly!

As the drawings were all sold that day for a fundraiser, I don’t have a picture of it, alas.

We talked that day about a portrait collaboration, but with our busy, frantic, community-focussed, subsistence working lives as Bay Area artists, we were never able to make it happen in the US.

Art of Restraint 5 16 2009 Sadie Lune performs

I did make several drawings of her at events, like the one above of her at her birthday party (also at the CSC) in a latex dress. That party was full of amazing performances, like Jiz Lee and Syd Blakovich doing a work from their Twincest collaboration with blood-drinking and fisting.

Sadie invited the audience to use her body as a canvas for “birthday bites” and we all decorated her with bite marks!

I drew her again in 2009, when she performed with her snake at Art of Restraint, a regular fundraiser for queer art gallery Femina Potens. Here’s Violet Blue’s photo of the scene. and her shot of me drawing Fivestar.

Suzanne Forbes drawing at Midori performance at Femina Potens photo by Zille Defeu Sept 29 2010

Suzanne Forbes drawing at Midori’s “Taken” performance at Femina Potens/ Photo by Zille Defeu Sept 29 2010

We both were constantly donating time and art to fundraisers for the sex-positive and queer art community in the Bay Area in 2006-2010. My policy for five years was, if someone in the community asked me for any art or art labor, I said yes. So we were doing the same events in the scene all the time. Here’s another shot of me drawing at another Art of Restraint. You can see my red flowered head in this one from another Nude Aid. These events were so beautiful and magical, so queer and body-positive and great for community resources. They didn’t leave us as much time for personal projects as we would have liked, though!

Sadie moved to Berlin years before anyone else I knew, and was a great inspiration to me.

Portrait of Sadie Lune by Suzanne Forbes in progress Sept 24 2017She was tremendously helpful in the year before we moved here, providing critical advice about how to prepare for life here and apply for an artist’s visa. (By the way I was granted a two-year artist’s visa of my own on August 28th!)

It has taken us until now to sort out doing a portrait at last, because we both face health challenges and Sadie has a little one, who is now four.

And that’s fine. It takes time to come together for personal-project portraits.

it took a year to schedule and another two years to finish the sittings for my portrait of Midori, for example!

WIP portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes Sept 24 2017I believe it always happens at exactly the right time.