Artist Releases

Penny Arcade A Cunt is a Useful Thing KRS104 12/01/92

About Penny Arcade

Legend, icon, wild-hearted demoness bad-girl bitch. It is impossible to describe the juggernaut that is Penny Arcade without entering the world of hyperbole that she not only inhabits but also personifies. Since first climbing out of her bedroom window at age 13 to join the fabulously disenfranchised world of queers, junkies, whores, stars, stalkers and geniuses she has become one of the most influential performers in the world. By fearlessly displaying her singular brand of feminist sexuality and personal conflict she has garnered countless fans worldwide with an emotionally and intellectually charged performance style. Internationally revered as writer, director and actress, she has become the very bedrock that many of the biggest names in the entertainment industry have built their careers upon.

Born Susana Carmen Ventura to an immigrant Italian family in the small factory town of New Britain, Connecticut, she became Penny Arcade at age 17 while on LSD in an effort to amuse her mentor and patron, openly gay photographer/artist Jaimie Andrews. It was Andrews, a member of The Playhouse of the Ridiculous, who introduced the young Arcade to legendary director John Vaccaro. Vaccaro, then directing Kenneth Bernard's potent play The Moke Eater, subsequently gave Penny her theatrical debut in the groundbreaking production. Soon after, Arcade became a teenage superstar for Andy Warhol's Factory with a featured role in the Morrissey/Warhol film Women In Revolt but quickly found the life of an upcoming pop tart too one dimensional and fled to Amsterdam.

In 1980, La Mama’s Ellen Stewert and Vaccaro invited her to recreate her 1970 New York role in Ken Bernard’s play Nite Club. She returned to New York after nearly a decade of globe hopping and international intrigue to resume her apprenticeship with many of the greats of American experimental theatre including Jack Smith, Jackie Curtis and Charles Ludlam. In 1985 Arcade began creating her own improvisational and unscripted solo work. In 1989 she began to create group work, beginning with her commission from Engarde Arts for whom she created A Quiet Night for Sid and Nancy at the Chelsea Hotel.

1990-91 was a prolific period for Arcade during which she wrote four full length shows, including the core of her autobiographical trilogy; Based on A True Story, Invitation to The Beginning Of The End Of The World and La Miseria. It was also in 1990 that she created her most famous work, her sex and censorship show, BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE! A blend of political humanism, freedom of expression and erotic dancing, BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE! toured the world twice both as an international festival as well as a commercial hit in 20 cities around the world.

In the time since BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE! Penny has seen Bad Reputation her all girl show (with a few gay men who wanted their own dance number!) premiere in NYC at Performance Space 122 in March of 1999 and later in Manchester, England, and Glasgow Scotland. Her New York Values - an autopsy on the death of Bohemia and the commodification of rebellion - also had its premiere at PS 122 in spring of 2002 as a group show and has been performed as a solo show in Los Angeles, Austin, Frankfurt, Heldelberg and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Since 1999 Penny has spearheaded the award winning documentary series Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, The Lower Eastside Biography Project, an oral history and downtown performance project cum training program sponsored in part by Manhattan Neighborhood Network. She is a member of Feminists for Free Expression, The National Coalition Against Censorship, Visual Aids, and the artist/art professional caucus that produces Day Without Art each December 1 st. In addition, she is a founding member of FEVA (Federation of East Village Artists) the producer of The Howl! Festival of the Arts.

Born Susana Carmen Ventura to an immigrant Italian family in the small factory town of New Britain, Connecticut, she became Penny Arcade at age 17 while on LSD in an effort to amuse her mentor and patron, openly gay photographer/artist Jaimie Andrews. It was Andrews, a member of The Playhouse of the Ridiculous, who introduced the young Arcade to legendary director John Vaccaro. Vaccaro, then directing Kenneth Bernard's potent play The Moke Eater, subsequently gave Penny her theatrical debut in the groundbreaking production. Soon after, Arcade became a teenage superstar for Andy Warhol's Factory with a featured role in the Morrissey/Warhol film Women In Revolt but quickly found the life of an upcoming pop tart too one dimensional and fled to Amsterdam.

In 1980, La Mama’s Ellen Stewert and Vaccaro invited her to recreate her 1970 New York role in Ken Bernard’s play Nite Club. She returned to New York after nearly a decade of globe hopping and international intrigue to resume her apprenticeship with many of the greats of American experimental theatre including Jack Smith, Jackie Curtis and Charles Ludlam. In 1985 Arcade began creating her own improvisational and unscripted solo work. In 1989 she began to create group work, beginning with her commission from Engarde Arts for whom she created A Quiet Night for Sid and Nancy at the Chelsea Hotel.

1990-91 was a prolific period for Arcade during which she wrote four full length shows, including the core of her autobiographical trilogy; Based on A True Story, Invitation to The Beginning Of The End Of The World and La Miseria. It was also in 1990 that she created her most famous work, her sex and censorship show, BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE! A blend of political humanism, freedom of expression and erotic dancing, BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE! toured the world twice both as an international festival as well as a commercial hit in 20 cities around the world.

In the time since BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE! Penny has seen Bad Reputation her all girl show (with a few gay men who wanted their own dance number!) premiere in NYC at Performance Space 122 in March of 1999 and later in Manchester, England, and Glasgow Scotland. Her New York Values - an autopsy on the death of Bohemia and the commodification of rebellion - also had its premiere at PS 122 in spring of 2002 as a group show and has been performed as a solo show in Los Angeles, Austin, Frankfurt, Heldelberg and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Since 1999 Penny has spearheaded the award winning documentary series Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, The Lower Eastside Biography Project, an oral history and downtown performance project cum training program sponsored in part by Manhattan Neighborhood Network. She is a member of Feminists for Free Expression, The National Coalition Against Censorship, Visual Aids, and the artist/art professional caucus that produces Day Without Art each December 1 st. In addition, she is a founding member of FEVA (Federation of East Village Artists) the producer of The Howl! Festival of the Arts.


Booking Info

No Booking Information is available for this artist

Newsworthy

There is no current news for this artist.

Artist Info

Members

  • Penny Arcade

Upcoming Tour Dates

There are currently no tour dates available for this artist