Tag Archives: queer berlin

The Cabaret Spirit of Berlin, alive in people.

Silver Man at Vaudeville Variete Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 30 2017Here are some marvelous Berlin artists and performers from my October drawing spree!

My tablemates at Vaudeville Variety Revue were all very kind and enjoyed my drawing. The silver man is a friend of LaLaVox, who co-produces Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin, and I will have to get his name from her. His silver face makeup was the best I’ve ever seen, and his sheer chiffon gown over his silver suit was actually yellow with yellow pompoms and huge yellow faceted rhinestones!

Le Pustra at Dr Sketchys Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Nov 30 2017Le Pustra is an incredible performer, producer and muse.

Here he is releasing some hooligan spirits from Valentina Demonia , who was one of the models at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin in October. Here are some of my previous drawings of this elegant man and here is his Instagram so you can check out his ethereal works!

Jo Pollux is an amazing photographer.

I drew this at her installation of her photographs at the Berlin Porn Film Fest. She was exhibiting a series she had just shot that week called “As you wish, my Lady”, which featured Sadie Lune. I stared at the pictures for a long time in the small crowded theater. They are full of mystery and time, like Le Pustra’s evocation of Weimar Berlin.

I am only beginning to open the jewel box of inspiration and fascination that is the people of Berlin.

Vampire Lesbians of Neukölln: The Scorpio Bloody HeX birthday party!

twentysomething spanking by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017Our artist friends Sadie and Jo had a birthday party at their studio space in Neukölln on a dark cold November night.

punching by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017My husband has been feeling slowly better all the time after becoming a cyborg this past summer, and I was very happy he was up to going.

We used to go to things like this together constantly, until his pain became so severe his mobility was limited.

When we made our way through the dark courtyard and arrived in the candlelit space, “Daughters of Darkness” was screening in the main room. We watched the end of it.

I may have seen it with my horror-freak babysitters at the Chelsea repertory house The Elgin in the 70s, but never as an adult. I could not believe how painterly it is! Ravishing.

Then there was a sexy pomegranate strip performance. Followed by birthday spanking, which Sadie explained is an American custom.

singletail by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017Sadie and Jo were very elegantly dressed in long slinky gowns, and Jo hitched hers up to receive her twenty-odd spanks.

Then Jo explained that there is a Polish custom where you can right any wrongs you have done by doing them to yourself, so we all spanked Sadie!

I gave her a spank (it landed very well) just as I gave her a bite during her birthday biting on her 30th birthday back in SF in 2008.

Sadie’s birthday parties were legend in the Bay Area art/kink/sex work community back in the Oughts.

After spanking there was lots of chocolate cake! And a Vampire playlist with “This Corrosion”.

Genital torture by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017Sadie had made a sign-up list with eleven different kinds of pain she was interested in doing, and people signed up for the pain of their choice.

scratching by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017There were options like “Singletail”, “Scratching”, “Biting”, and “Genital Torture” and “Piercing”.

Of course everyone wanted to watch the beautiful evil queen torment her subjects, so we all gathered in a small room lined with pillows and set up for Sadie’s acts of sensation play.

It was very cosy and peaceful, and Sadie was lovely and frightening as she toyed with her pets.

My husband and I have seen many, many scenes, and I have drawn at many, many sex parties, play parties, porn shoots and orgies.

But this evening contained a remarkable moment, the first time I ever stopped drawing and just ogled because the scene was so hot.

What you see here is mostly reconstructed after the fact, from memory! Sadie leaped onto a young woman in bra and panties, growling, her leonine mane and velvet cloak alternately draping and revealing her victim. The young woman was overcome with terror and delight as Sadie bit her all over.

Sadie’s violet eyes looked black as her teeth decorated her willing prey.biting by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017

Seriously, I once drew during an intimate fisting shoot with Jiz Lee and Papi Coxxx, and I kept drawing the whole time. As a courtroom artist I have drawn Russian mobsters on the witness stand testifying that they had blood hosed from their trunk at the same car wash I used, and not stopped drawing.

But I put the pen down during the biting scene last night.

As my hub observed, Sadie really knows her work. She judged each person precisely, and every one of them was giddy with delight. Particularly the person who received the punching- they laughed their ass off the whole time. Sadie checked in with the audience regularly too; each of reacted most strongly to a different scene.

I had to grit my teeth for the whole scratching scene, even as the scratching subjects begged for more. And my hub was a little edgy during the CBT!
Purple and blue butt by Sadie drawn by Suzanne Forbes Nov 17 2017

The last scene was piercing, and I did make a drawing but it was very sketchy. I’m terribly squeamish about needles and blood, and I had trouble looking. Especially as the piercee was totally into it and kept being up for more intense sensation! When Sadie was saying happily, “I’m just milking blood from your holes now”, I was covering my eyes!

We had a lovely time and it was so nice to go out to a sexy event with my hub for the first time in ages. Thank you, Jo and Sadie, and many happy returns!

See posts about my largest painting in many years, a double portrait of Jo and Sadie finished in October, here and here. Sadie and Jo on Instagram.

It’s the monthly financial support of my Patrons on Patreon that makes it possible for me to document queer life in Berlin and publicly share it. You can help, for a dollar or less than a euro a month!

 

Leathermen and cigars in Schöneberg, at the Pussycat Bar.

Berlin Cigar Men smokers by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017My friend Miss Natasha Enquist invited me to join her at Berlin Cigar Men, a cigar lounge night at a wonderfully cosy bar called The Pussycat.

The Pussycat is a warm, snug lesbian bar that once a month welcomes a celebration of classic leatherman culture. This evening included head shaving, with a proper razor, and bootblacking.

I could smell the cigar smoke all the way down the block from the Ku’Damm.

Berlin Cigar Men bar scene by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017I knocked on the door and Miss Natasha peered through the speakeasy peephole and let me in out of the cold.

Wow, what an amazing group of great-looking old-school (and young) leathermen and wow so much smoke! I love the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke. I smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day from age 13 to age 24, and people smoking freely is one of the things I love about Europe.

And yet even for me it was a lot of smoke! I actually got a tiny bit nauseous from it, like when Tom and Joe and Huck smoke corn-cob pipes on the island.

Bootblack at Berlin Cigar Men by Suzanne Forbes Nov 12 2017I had a fabulous time, and everyone was super friendly and nice.

The crowd was international and relaxed. It was like travelling back in time to the Chelsea of my childhood, the Chelsea and Christopher St of the ’70s and ’80s, and I felt very much at home.

I didn’t know much about bootblack fetish and culture until I worked at Wicked Grounds kink coffee shop in San Francisco in the Oughts. We had a young woman bootblack there who came in to do boot nights, and I saw the passion that people have for boot care and wear. So I was delighted to get a chance to draw Andrew the Bootshiner, above. Sadly, I missed the headshaving this time!

Check out the bottle of Tom of Finland Organic Vodka in the top pic- it has a Tom drawing on the bottle and a percentage of the profit from sales is donated to the wonderful Tom of Finland Foundation!

The Berlin Cigar Men event is produced by Olaf Hartmannsgruber. He is the same gentleman who puts on the MaleSpace main stage at Folsom Europe, which was wonderfully diverse and inclusive despite the name. I am looking forward to the next event!

Drawings from Folsom Europe here and hereIt’s the monthly financial support of my Patrons on Patreon that makes it possible for me to document gay life in Berlin and publicly share it. You can help, for a dollar or less than a euro a month!

Another fabulous Uke Boogie!

Dara Star at Uke Boogie by Suzanne Forbes Nov 9 2017This month’s theme at Uke Boogie Berlin was X for Xtra-Terrestrial.

No way was I gonna miss that! Check out alien co-host Dara Star getting some psychic energy from her glowing eyeball orb.

Toby playing theremin Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesToby performed with his torso-mounted theremin, described by Crayon Jones as the world’s first Theremin Cock!

Rah Hell at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesHost Rah Hell kept things running smoothly.

Follow her on the Instas and twitter for drum, ukelele and CAT FUN.

Women performing at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesNice to see these lovely women singing German folk music again!

Dancers uke boogie nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesSome young folks were dancing.

Alfred Ladylike at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAlfred Ladylike was in fine form, rocking out on several songs.

Davepool at Uke Boogie Nov 9 2017 by Suzanne ForbesAt the end of the night, surprise guest Deadpool AKA Davepool!

You may remember David Hawkins performing at the Donut Heart video release party.

As always, a wonderful, free evening in Berlin at Uke Boogie. You can see the previous Uke Boogie drawings here. Thank you so much Rah and everybody!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beau Belle Brothers!

The Beau Belle Brothers at Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017I got to meet and draw the Beau Belle Brothers in October at Vaudeville Variety Revue!

What a thrill! They are the most gorgeous, creative boylesque pin-up models. I have been a fan of these multitalented muses since I discovered them through the work of master gay erotic artist Ali Franco. He has made a whole series of amazing paintings of them, collected in this beautiful calendar which I got myself earlier this year.

Beau Belle Brothers usherettes Wintergarten Berlin by Suzanne Forbes Nov 4 2017The Beau Belle Brothers started three years ago as an art project for a photo shoot. Now they are muses to artists all over the world!

Deathbirds makes incredible costumes and loves comics, like me! Mybeautyspace is the genius hair and makeup artist behind their superb vintage aesthetic, and also loves comics.

The Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Nov 5 2017I had never drawn twins before, and it is a perfect challenge for a portraitist!

The Brothers are the kind of inspiration that make artists gleeful with happiness. And they are super nice!! It took me forever to finish these drawings, because I was wanted them to be perfect and to do justice to their beauty. I’m still not sure if the colored versions are better than the black and white.Beau Belle Brothers by Suzanne Forbes Oct 15 2017 wip

So I am just very much hoping to get a chance to draw them again sometime soon, perhaps at Dr. Sketchy’s Berlin 🙂Beau Belle Brothers and Suzanne Forbes at Wintergarten Berlin Oct 2017

More drawings from Vaudeville Variety Revue here, here and here; thank you Sheila Wolf for having me as your guest!

BTW, If you like hot, tender, superbly rendered man-on-man love, check out Ali Franco’s Patreon!

Sheila and the Shark, Vaudeville Variety Revue

Sheila Wolf and the Shark Vaudeville Variety Revue Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesThis time at Vaudeville Variety Revue, I got to come to the Wintergarten early for dress rehearsal.

I mostly drew the performers practising, as seen with the aerial duo LIttle Finch at the bottom of this page. But I did also capture a couple of special moments in the empty venue.

Drone shark Wintergarten Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesI don’t know why Sheila Wolf, the event’s producer, has a floating robot shark.

It looked really cool though! As did everyone who wrangled it.

Little Finch aerials Vaudeville Variety Revue by Suzanne Forbes Oct 15 2017Previous drawings from this event here and here, and more to come as soon as I get a second to finish them! Having the extra hours of dress rehearsal really gave me time to get into each performer’s style.

Thank you so much  Sheila Wolf, producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, for having me as your guest again!

Boylesque, white tie and more at Vaudeville Variety Revue!

Sarah Goody at Vaudeville Variety Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesSarah Goody was an amazing aerial performer!

Look, I lived in the Bay Area for eighteen years. I’ve seen some aerial performers. Sarah Goody brought so much lusty power to her rope performance, and I hope I captured some of it.

Yvonne at Vaudeville Variety Revue October 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesI drew Yvonne in the lobby during the interval.

This is one of those incredibly rare drawings that is so perfect I actually knew not to mess with it.

performers at Vaudeville Variety Oct 15 2017 by Suzanne ForbesThese two performed to the Dresden Dolls song “Missed Me.”

It’s a long song, and their performance was extremely complex and precise; they never missed a beat. I had no idea you could do put a ping-pong ball there!

Previous drawings from this event here, and more to come as soon as I get a second to finish them! Having the extra hours of dress rehearsal really gave me time to get into each performer’s style.

Thank you so much  Sheila Wolf, producer of Berlin’s fabulous Vaudeville Variety Revue, for having me as your guest again!

Finishing my big new portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux!

Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux before bifurcation by Suzanne Forbes Oct 17 2017

Portrait of Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux before bifurcation by Suzanne Forbes, Oct 17 2017

I finished my biggest painting in like twelve years!

At 30″ by 80″ (76cm by 204cm), these conjoined canvases form a fine large surface. I could have gone the traditional route, setting my sitters deep within the pictorial space with plenty of air around them. But I wanted something more demanding of my abilities and more interrogative of the viewer, a compressed space with an exploded perspective that tips the viewer into the painting’s world.

Portrait Sadie Lune cu by Suzanne Forbes Oct 17 2017Into the dangerous, powerful air breathed by artists Sadie Lune and Jo Pollux.

Portrait of Sadie Lune by Suzanne Forbes Oct 18 2017I set up the perspective of the picture with the idea that Sadie and Jo should take up as much space in it as possible.

At some point in the 90s I read a quote from Roseanne Barr, where she advised young actresses to “take up as much space as you possibly can.”

I think this is a great idea for women, to just occupy space with our presence and authority and strength and certainty, and in Sadie’s case, coiled professional menace.

I had done a painting that utilized an exploded perspective in 2005, the portrait of Khris Brown that is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever done (below right).

I approached the portrait I did of Rah Hell this summer the same way, opening and flattening the pictorial space to force the viewer to acknowledge her carelessly confident drummer’s body (below left). Our Art Nouveau herringbone wood floors work even better for distorting the perspective than the floors in my Berkeley Craftsman did.Portraits by Suzanne Forbes 2005 and 2017

To get the exaggerated foreshortening of my model’s forms, I simply alternate between sitting and standing with the easel very close to the model.

Then I make decisions about scale and positioning, as described in the previous post, and position one foot to break the frame, my signature! This is a straightforward way of suggesting that the power of the woman in the portrait can’t be contained by the picture plane. And it also references my career in comics and my love for comic panel design.

You can see here how close I was to the model chair.After the third sitting Sadie and Jo WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017

During the long third sitting, Sadie and Jo and I talked about art and sex and power.

Sadie and I reminisced about the wonderful Oughts’-era climate for sex-positive kinky art in San Francisco. We talked about the many performances and shows we did for Madison Young’s queer art gallery Femina Potens and the events, like Sadie’s birthday party, at the Center For Sex and Culture. For a while the background of the painting looked like the Leather Pride Flag!After the third sitting Sadie and Jo WIP by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017

Jo, who is a photographer, told us an amazing story of when she met Nan Goldin.

The whole process of making the painting has been nourishing and strengthening, a collaborative meeting of minds and talents. Sadie and Jo both brought their A game to the work, serving tremendous presence and face and great physical stamina.

Portrait of Sadie and Jo detail by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017After the final sitting I dug in and sorted out the background and details. As much as I liked the Leather Pride colors, I wanted to paint the realistic space of my salon, to ground the figures in a real world and place the viewer in it with them.

I adjusted the perspective of the floor over and over, to give the immanence I wanted to Sadie and Jo.

And I repainted Jo’s hands like a million times, so they would only be substantial artist’s hands, not disorientingly large! I had fun painting the Autumn goddess head-dresses of leaves and rosehips Jo and Sadie wore to Folsom Europe for a performance this year.

I very carefully composed the shadows at Sadie’s feet to guide the eye to the vicious tip of her singletail, which actually is the dark blue and black colors I painted it.

I gave Jo a branch to hold because I was like, “Needs moar witch!” Once the details were done, it was time to separate the two canvases for transport to Ludwig, where they will be shown. I didn’t know what would happen once they were separated; the painting looked finished and resolved with them conjoined but….

With the canvases separated, the blue background wall panel behind Jo (right side) became a dead space!Portrait of Jo Pollux by Suzanne Forbes before and after Oct 18 2017I had to activate it visually with shadows.

Which was good, really, as it made the unused pink velvet boudoir chair more significant. I like to include pink velvet furniture, like my sadly lost dusty rose velvet model’s armchair, in my paintings. Not only is pink velvet a great visual reference to pussy, it references a powerful moment in my experience as an artist.

In 1993 I went to Philadelphia with my first husband. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where we saw the Cornells, Duchamp’s Étant donnés and the Degas known as both “Interior” and “The Rape”. I can’t begin to describe the impact that group of works had on me, but I can tell you the most important thing I carried away: that women need to make paintings of women.

Jo Pollux detail by Suzanne Forbes Oct 18 2017For decades I have been both inspired by the great male painters and furious that men have made most of the great paintings of women.

My spiritual master as an artist, John Singer Sargent, was not sexually involved with women. He made pictures of them as beings. Numinous, sensual, prickly, elegant, fearless beings. I am hoping in the next few years to really move into my abilities as a painter, and to begin painting women with all the strength I see in them.

It really helps to make big paintings, when you want to depict strength and grace, and I hope this diptych is a step towards that.

This work was made possible by the generosity of my Patrons on Patreon, who contribute monthly support to enable me to make art. I am so, so grateful.

You can help for as little as a buck a month!

In Berlin and wanna see it in person and hear me and Sadie talk about art, gender, portraiture as service and more? Come to Ludwig this Sunday, Oct 22, at 8pm for an artist’s talk and vernissage!

Sadie and Jo are both brand-new on Patreon, you can help them make feminist art!

 

 

The men of Folsom Europe!

Lovers at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 13 2017FInally had a minute to finish the last of the drawings I made at Folsom Europe. I really enjoyed my time there.

It was a very comfortable and relaxed scene. On my way in I saw what I thought for a moment was security frisking backpacks. Then I realized it was just a group of uniform fetish players looking for their beer or gear or something!

Rope bondage at Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 13 2017

Folsom Europe really shines with Tom of Finland archetypes.

Because I was a child in Chelsea in the 70s, I really love the classic leather daddy and uniform looks. It feels like being wrapped in a warm blanket to see gay men rocking the old school Christopher St Clone style.

This performer, Georg Kroneis, was wonderful.

Georg Kroneis Folsom Europe by Suzanne Forbes Oct 10 2017However there were also plenty of casually dressed lovers just sporting crew socks and sweats, as seen in the first picture!

I was very casual myself, unlike my friend Sadie Lune who wore gorgeous high leather regalia and an Autumn goddess headpiece, which inspired the big diptych of her and her girlfriend Jo Pollux I just finished. You can see my previous Folsom Europe posts here:

Women of Folsom Europe 2017

Puppies of Folsom Europe 2017

Women who rock Berlin – Donut Heart at Arcanoa

Alfred Ladylike and Baron Anastis at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017I drew the Donut Heart folk at an amazing and magical Berlin bar, the underground wonderland that is Arcanoa.

The show was called the “Sunken Ship Show!” Check out Alfred Ladylike and Baron Anastis, above. I feel like I got a very good likeness of Baron, who is a professional life model as well as rocking out with both Donut Heart and Baron and the Erinyes.

Rah Hell and Donut Heart at Arcanoa Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017Pirate costumes were on point! Here is Rah Hell drumming in high seas style.

Donut Heart at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 2017Well and truly is it said that she is the sexiest and most amazing dork in all Berlin. Also kinda cool, the drawings form a panorama of the stage! By accident mostly, I’ve never done that before.

Natascha Artworx came down from Hamburg and she wore an amazing mermaid outfit she had made herself, much like she created her outfit for our A(RT)ffair.

I also wore an amazing mermaid outfit, although I only made the jewelry and headpiece of mine!

Suz Natascha Artworx and Alfred Ladylike at Arcanoa Oct 2017Here we are with Alfred Ladylike posing like merpirates or something!!

Check out how great we look and how cool Arcanoa is! There is a running stream built into the bar. It is probably neither safe not sanitary, but it is beautiful. Living in Berlin is heaven.Natascha Artworx and Suzanne Forbes at Arcanoa Sept 28 2017

Last but not least, the show opened with a thrilling oceangoing yarn spun by the shifty Old Tom Haggardy!

He belted out some fine sea shanties later as well.Tom Haggardy at Arcanoa by Suzanne Forbes Oct 20 2017

New Donut Heart video online here.