Drag-A-Lister Sherry Vine is back in Berlin. For gigs, for friendship, to promote her successful TV Network gaySVTV and maybe even for love. Between her catching up with old friends and doing rehearsals for her shows we’re meeting at the Wyndham Excelsior Lobby. Upon entering I find myself looking out for any of her signature wigs and high heels, until I finally spot a smart looking guy staring at me and wondering if I recognize him. I sit down with the artist underneath, Keith Levy, whose creative buzz outshines even the sunny spell he seems to have cast over the city.
Keith, Sherry? Thanks for meeting with us. Why are you back in town?
Honey you can call me both. It’s Gloria Viagra’s 50th Birthday and of course I couldn’t miss it. She’s my sister.
Your latest piece of legerdemain, the queer TV Network gaySVTV, is a Comedy-Channel on youtube. How did it all come about and how is it going?
We’ve been doing the video parodies for seven years and I kind of felt like I don’t wanna stop doing it but I don’t want it to be my main focus. I’ve done that and now that everybody is doing it, it was time for me to do something different. So, we’re like let’s start a show and do one a week and it grew into one a day somehow. We’re trying to keep going with that, I mean it’s so much work. I had no idea.
You must have countless talented entertainers wanting to work with you.
Luckily, because otherwise it wouldn’t be what happened. I didn‘t want it to be all about Sherry Vine, but a collective of different artists. The idea was also for someone in let’s say Toronto to be able to say: Hey I’ve an idea for a show and I’d like to do it. So, that’s now starting to happen and it makes me very excited.
Are there any European acts you’ve got your eye on?
Yes, well we’ve a series called Short Film Festival and we’re getting films sent in from all around the world. That’s really cool.
So much has changed in the world of Drag. Drag Race is in its eighth season. Is there a particular performer you feel strong about?
It’s funny, because this season I have four friends on the show. So I’m watching and I’m excited and I’m happy for my friends. I think Germany has more a culture of an artist being able to make a living as an artist. Drag Queens that are famous get to tour all over Germany and make a living. And in the United States it’s not so new, but it’s always been kind of difficult. Unless you’re in New York. But now because of Drag Race you have all these queens making so much money. They can be from Missouri or whatever and get on the show and become TV Stars. It really has changed a lot. It’s also kind of upped the stakes a little bit. With so many out there you really have to have something special. I love it when someone comes on stage and really has an act as opposed to just putting on a wig and wanting to be famous.
You’ve mentioned New York. How debaucherous is gay life in the Big Apple?
Oh god honey, no! Not in New York at all. It’s so Vanilla. New York is so not what people think it is. I mean Berlin’s crazy in nightlife but not New York. But I’ve done it and so I don’t need to do again and it’s fine.
Are you gonna move back to Berlin?
No, not again. I’ve lived here already for three years and it was fun, but no. I think if I left New York, I’d go somewhere completely different like Sydney, something I haven’t done before. Right now I still love New York. But it’s not debauchery at all. When visitors ask me where to go to have some fun I tell them to go on Grindr.
Any love interest in your life?
You know it’s so sad, because I was just in Athens last week to perform and I had never been before and was thinking I’m gonna get so much trouble. I was really excited because I like the stark Greek men but didn’t get any.
Not a big scene there?
You know if you’re in Drag the gay boys don’t wanna fuck you. And if you’re out of Drag then the straight guys only want you in Drag. It just didn’t happen which is fine.
That’s alway a bit of a conundrum for Drag Performers, isn’t it?
A little bit, but you know, also I’ve done that. So these days I don’t look for sex but when it happens I’d go like yeah this will be fun. But I don’t go on Grindr or any of that shit. So there’s no love right now, but the weekend is upon us, so if you’re out there …
What are the next steps with gaySVTV?
It’s literally so much work every single day. Because you always think oh what do we have for tomorrow. Do we have something for tomorrow? And part of committing to put up something very day really means doing something every day. It’s a lot. And sometimes we don’t have anything for Friday and then I have to get in Drag and do something. But it’s fun. We have a couple of new series starting up in June so everything is kind of like a circle. We’re starting a thing called poop-up video. Like the old-school pop-up video from MTV. So we’re taking some of my parodies and watch the video and stop and talk about how we made it. We’re also busy with developing something very sexy, with hot sexy guys in it, which I did’t really want to do, because the sexy guy thing has been done so often. But I wanted to do something different that I had not seen before …
People keep coming with new ideas and we’ll see how long we can do this. The next step is to find someone to pay us to do it. A TV Studio would be awesome. We do almost everything at Youtube Studios. That’s why we launched it there. Youtube has opened these studios and if you have enough subscribers you can film there for free. You get all the lights, the camera, the set for free. The only thing is that you have to then put it on a youtube channel. They take no cut and I own the content completely, so it’s a really good deal. Otherwise we’d need thousands and thousands of Dollars that we don’t have. It’s amazing.
Congratulations, we’re excited to see what more is to come.
Interview: Torsten Schwick