A book release party with erotic dancers, the glamorous Debbie Harry and the fabulous DJ Lady Miss Kier? Leave it to Penny Arcade to redefine the book party and bring together her friends to read from and dance to her book, Bad Reputation. Featuring readings and performances from Sarah Schulman, Jennifer Belle, Mario Giacalone, Tigger, Judith Malina, Taylor Mead, Debbie Harry, Chris Rael, Reno, Bruce Benderson, John Kelly, Penny Arcade; dancers Akynos, Deity, Freeze, Alicia Hopkins, Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, Heather Rabbit, Tigger and Xavier.
Bad Reputation is an autobiographical trilogy of plays that represents Penny Arcade at her best. Bitch!Dyke!Faghag!Whore!, (vimeo.com/37031426) is Penny's raucous, cutting-edge sex and censorship show, (which continues to be a commercial hit around the world), featuring the daily life of a receptionist in a brothel, the upbringing and rearing of a "faghag," the evolution of the New York gay scene in the 1990s, and a participatory "audience dance break." The funny and heart-rending title work, Bad Reputation, (vimeo.com/37455437) portrays a young teen runaway's coming of age in a Catholic reform school (run by nuns who are former fashion models) and her subsequent life on the streets of 1960s New York. La Miseria, a rare depiction of working-class Italian-Americans from a woman's point of view that portrays the clash between working-class morals and compassion during the 1980s AIDS epidemic, rounds out the trilogy.
Bad Reputation is the first book by and on Penny Arcade. The complete scripts are accompanied by a new interview with Penny Arcade by Chris Kraus, a range of archival photographs of the East Village scene and Arcade's performances, an introduction by playwright Ken Bernard, and contributions by Sarah Schulman, Steve Zehentner and Stephen Bottoms. semiotexte.com/?page_id=213
Penny Arcade: A runaway at thirteen, a reform-school graduate at sixteen, a performer in the legendary New York City Play-House of the Ridiculous at seventeen, and an escapee from Andy Warhol’s Factory scene at nineteen, Penny Arcade emerged in the 1980s as a primal force on the New York art scene and an originator of what came to be called performance art. Arcade’s brand of high camp and street-smart, punk-rock cabaret showmanship has been winning over international audiences ever since.
Penny Arcade is the author of ten full length performance pieces including the mainstream hit Bitch!Dyke!Faghag!Whore! Her work been presented in venues as celebrated as the Sydney Opera House and as sordid as New York’s Pyramid Club. She was portrayed by Sex in the City actress Cynthia Nixon in the film, Englishman in New York, the biopic about her friend Quentin Crisp. pennyarcade.tv
With long-time collaborator Steve Zehentner, Arcade is the co-producer of The Lower East Side Biography Project, a video oral history project. The project’s biographies cablecast in New York City every Monday at 11pm EST.
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If there is an underlying thematic in all of Arcade’s work, it is perhaps this concern to advocate the full expression of our “life force”—creative, sexual, physically and verbally expressive—and to speak out against those societal and political forces that would repress such energizing self-realization.
– Stephen Bottoms, University of Leeds, U.K.
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Bad Reputation Book Party
Created by Penny Arcade & Steve Zehentner
Design/Co-direction/Sound Score, Video edit: Steve Zehentner
Camera Operators: Melissa Donovan, Rick Jungers, Jasmine Hirst, Dean Lance, Carol Martinez
Promotion and Marketing: Earl Dax
Stage Manager: Lori E. Seid
Assistant Stage Manager: Ken "Angel" Davis
(le) Poisson Rouge: Justine Delaney, Matthew Duane, Jonathan Talley
Production Assistants: Jessica Funaro, Justin O Silverman
Design Consultant: Tony Melian