Penny Arcade is an American performance artist, actress, and playwright based in New York City.
Penny Arcade is an American performance artist, actress, and playwright based in New York City.

Warhol star brings satire show to Brunswick Heads

PENNY Arcade has been the queen of New York's underground from the age of 17, when she became a member of John Vaccaro's Playhouse of the Ridiculous, and 50 years later she is visiting the Byron Shire.

Ms Arcade has an impressive artistic background.

In 1969 she starred in the Jackie Curtis play Femme Fatale at La MaMa Etc with Curtis, Mary Woronov, Jayne County and Patti Smith, followed by a small role in the Paul Morrisey / Andy Warhol film, Women in Revolt.

In 1970 Arcade was featured in her first interview in Rags Magazine, an alternative fashion magazine.

Returning to New York in 1981, she worked with underground theatre artists including Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam and the Angels of Light.

She co-starred with Quentin Crisp in the long-running performance/interview piece, The Last Will and Testament of Quentin Crisp.

In the spring of 1982, she improvised her first performance piece in Tinsel Town Tirade at Theater for The New City, receiving her first writer's credit.

In the late 1980s, she created a character named Margo Howard-Howard, a 50-year-old drag queen with a scandalous past, for her performances.

The New York Times refers to the character as "patently unbelievable", but in a later article acknowledges that her monologue was "based on real Lower East Side residents."


Her life

Penny Arcade, 67, was born Susana Ventura in New Britain, Connecticut, and grew up in a working class Italian immigrant family.

Her mother was abusive and her father was mentally ill.

At age 13 she ran away from home and spent a summer homeless in Provincetown.

She was sent to Sacred Heart Academy for Wayward Girls, a reform school, where she was released at age 16.

With money stolen from a sandwich shop where she worked, she left for New York City, where she changed her name to Penny Arcade after an LSD trip.

Jamie Andrews of MainMan management company rescued her off the streets.

Penny Arcade has been married three times, although she refers to the first two marriages as adoptions.

Her third marriage in 1998 was to singer-writer-composer Chris Rael.

It was an artistic collaboration that included happy, romantic, and domestic components.

They lived together until January 2008.

Longin Lasts Longer is her new award-winning show, the thought-provoking and subversively funny turns contemporary stand-up on its head in an outrageous blend of satire, memoir and comedy.

At the Brunswick Picture House this Sunday from 4pm.

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