Portrait of Grossi, 2001

Frick took this photo of her friend Grossi at the BKA Luftschloss venue in 2001.

Exaggerated lashes and dramatic makeup contribute to the excess synonymous with Grossi’s drag. A unique character of Berlin’s queer scene, Grossi never revealed his legal name and was thereby able to move around Berlin during the day and the gay clubs at night. This duality was met with significant success as he appeared on talk shows, played small roles in films and video clips, and was also available to be booked for his “Ulk-Striptease”. Most regularly, Grossi, a self-proclaimed travesty artist, could be seen Tuesdays at the Friedrichshain “Jamboree” and became a star there through his comedy, singing and overall infectious personality. Frick recalls meeting Grossi through Juwelia, after seeing him running around near her apartment with a record on his head.

It was also said that Grossi ate a full chocolate bar before every performance – a tradition of significant importance to the character that was Grossi. The name is derived from the medieval name Grossus, meaning ‘corpulent, of considerable size’. This reference to his stature and size was very much part of his physical and oral comedy of excess. Often clad in many chains of jewelry and figure-hugging dresses, Grossi made the idea of “too much” part of his appeal.

His size, which in some ways made him an outsider to mainstream society, was the highlight of his drag persona. As was his proclamation of his bisexuality. In Frick’s photo, he stands proud with one leg stepping grandly on a chair, mimicking a militant pose.