Gunter, 1995

This series shows Gunter Trube (b.1960, Puttrich-Reignard – d. 2008) getting into drag. Trube, best known simply as Gunter among friends, was an icon in the German drag scene during the 90s, having won America’s Best Drag Queen in 1994 and the title of Marilynn 2000 in Los Angeles. He also toured worldwide across countries such as Japan, England, Australia and Italy. Trube was an important figure in the AIDS education movement and disability awareness as a hearing-impaired drag queen, participating in the Deaflympics in 1977 and 1985. His love and talent for performance were not limited to drag; he was also a sign poet and once took Frick to the Bios Bahnhof when he was a guest on Alfred Biolek’s show. In 2008, Trube passed away suddenly to heart failure. To mourn his passing, over 500 people came to celebrate his life.

Here we see Trube putting on his drag makeup with careful precision; placing large fake eyelashes; putting on lipstick; taking one final look. Frick often documented her friends in these symbolically transformative, liminal stages of their performances. The photos were taken at Trube’s flat, located above the bar Kumpelnest 3000. Previously the Club Maitresse brothel at Lützowstraße 23, the new owners opened it without any major renovations on May 1, 1987. This was an important spot for Trube as it was not only his home, but also where he worked as a bartender. Frick first met Trube here, recognizing him a few days after seeing him perform in the premiere of Tima die Göttliche’s “Trinklieder die zum Tode führen” (Drinking Songs That Lead to Death) at the CheckPoint Theater. Throughout the evening, they communicated with small pieces of paper and beer mats, taking turns writing down questions and insights. For this reason, and also because the spot was a popular rendezvous among friends, the bar is a meaningful backdrop in several of Frick’s images.