Time to move outside SLC and check out some talent outside of Utah. And where better to start then NYC? I recently recieved a book in the mail called “Verses That Hurt”, which is an anthology of poems from the NY Poemfone Poets-who will make up a later slam-related blog entry. The book opens with a few pieces by the NYC performance artist known as Penny Arcade (real name: Susana Carmen Ventura). Prior to this book, I’d never heard of Penny Arcade. But she caught my attention with the very first poem included, the first few lines which I’ll share here:
Here is my personal message to all of you
careerist, slime bucket, fame seeking, sychophantic,
backstabbing, envying, self serving assholes
who are littering the downtown scene in ever increasing
numbers while you choke the creativity out of yourselves as
you turnoff thousands of potential power of the word
lovers by the oxygen you use up on the performing stages of
New York City…
And the poem goes on thus–assertive, demanding, and completely blunt and to the point. The other poems included in her section are very similar. With just a few pieces, it’s clear Penny Arcade is a strong feminist poet who’s not afraid to declare her independence as a freethinking, sexually liberated woman-and loudly.
In addition to making her voice part of the NYC poetry scene, she’s been an actress (she had a role in Warhol’s Women in Revolt) and she’s written/produced several original one-woman shows, becoming well known even outside of the US. The act that took her from being just a New York-based artist to being PENNY ARCADE, someone talked about in art circles left and right, was her work, Bitch! Dyke! FagHag! Whore!
The piece has been performed in the states, including Off Broadway, and in multiple other countries, including England and Scotland
Says TheaterMania.com: “The piece blends political humanism and erotic dancing to respond to the politics of sex and censorship. Originally created in 1990, the show had a prolonged run Off-Broadway and started an international queer/alternative erotic dance/burlesque movement. Arcade hires local erotic dancers in every city she presents B!D!F!W! to expose the dancers and their art form to their own communities.”
Basically: what Penny Arcade has achieved in the span of her career (which is still continuing) is what most artists and dreamers aspire to. Art that is more than just art. Art that goes beyond the artist and makes a resounding impact in the surrounding community and beyond.
For more info on Penny Arcade, please visit her website: Penny Arcade.
More audio of Penny Arcade can be found here.