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Sketcherei: Berlin’s high-concept life drawing class

Sketcherei isn't your typical life drawing class, with a rotating cast of performers who know how to entertain even while standing still.

Photo: Alexandra Ru

Sketcherei is a life drawing night with a high-concept twist: their rotating cast of performers – including kinky cabaret scene regulars like Hottie de Paris, Inga Salome and Heretic Dream – put on a live burlesque show, complete with costume changes and dancing, stopping throughout to pose for everyone’s pens and pencils.

Photo: Chris Bellevue

The event series, hosted at the circus-themed cocktail lounge Zum Starken August, was born in 2020 when organiser (and de facto ringmaster) Alexandra Ru grew tired of the stiffness of traditional life drawing and wanted to combine her artistic endeavours with playful entertainment. Attendees can bring their own art supplies (or buy some at the door) and sketch the show during the 2-10 minute breaks in performance. The shows have become a fixture of Berlin’s cultural calendar, a celebration of movement, flesh and fun – all set to a deliciously nostalgic soundtrack of 50s and 60s hits.

Photo: Kay Hues

Sketcherei marked its 100th session in January with a raucous knees-up featuring Lucille Spielfuchs as a sequined mouse (whose phallic tail-stroking to Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me inspired some particularly evocative artwork). If the idea of bringing your creative efforts outside of the confines of your home fills you with dread, never fear – Sketcherei is open to all levels. And if you and your sketchpad can’t make it in person, you can doodle along via Zoom anytime. But attending could prove lucrative; at the end of each session, the performer picks a handful of their favourite pieces to win a prize. Come for the drawing and costumes, stay for one of the most joy-fueled, inclusive evenings in Berlin.

  • For more info on upcoming events, follow @sketcherei on Instagram.