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Adelaide Fringe

The wild, wild world of Penny Arcade

Adelaide Fringe

Eccentric New York performance artist Penny Arcade, who drew the attention of Andy Warhol when she was just 17, is bound for Adelaide Fringe with a show she says will be full of laughter and nostalgia – but not political correctness.

“Most people describe my work as being like theatre, but not as boring,” she tells InDaily.

“Imagine, if you can, observational cultural criticism that’s extremely non-politically correct, that owes nothing to anybody, [and] an amazing rock ’n’ roll soundtrack that reflects what I say.

“That’s what makes me unusual – you have to see me to believe it.”

A veteran of the entertainment industry, Penny (aka Susana Ventura) says leaving home at just 13 helped shape her as a performer.

“Obviously, when you leave home when you’re 13 and you’re not in prison, and still performing and being a worldwide superstar, it gives you a tremendous power of survival.”

The performer, who claims she can “out-rock any 20-year-old”, has enjoyed a 50-year career that has seen her mingle with some of the art world’s most influential personalities.

At 17, she drew the attention of Andy Warhol while performing for the boundary-pushing Playhouse of the Ridiculous underground theatre company in New York.

“Warhol was a fan of my theatre house when I was 17 … Rocky Horror was based on our theatre and David Bowie was inspired by us.”

She became one of Warhol’s “Factory Superstars”, a clique of New York personalities who appeared in his artworks and films.

“He [Warhol] wanted people who were really out-there, but who could act,” she says.

After spending more than a decade travelling the world with her unique performing style, Penny Arcade returned to New York and created her most famous work, the sex and censorship show BITCH!DYKE!FAGHAG!WHORE!, with which she toured Australia in 2005.

Her 2016 Adelaide Fringe show, Longing Lasts Longer, is described as “equal parts memoir and manifesto”, mixing satire, cultural observation and a soundtrack reminiscent of the past four decades of pop culture.

Penny promises Fringe-goers will be wildly entertained.

“The audience can expect to be in an atmosphere where their intelligence is respected and their wicked sense of irony is also being respected, because we’re living in a world at the moment without irony.

“We are living in the golden age of stupidity right now. Just look at Donald Trump. Can it get any more ridiculous than that?”

Penny Arcade will be performing at Ukiyo in the Royal Croquet Club from February 12 to March 14 as part of Adelaide Fringe.



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