Penny Arcade (aka Susana Ventura) is an internationally acclaimed and respected writer, poet, essayist, cultural critic, performance, theater and video artist. An icon of artistic resistance, her long performance history goes back to her 1960's involvement as an original member of John Vaccaro’s Playhouse of The Ridiculous and her years as a teenage superstar for Andy Warhol's Factory, where she was featured in the film, Women In Revolt.
Penny Arcade occupies a rare position in the American avant-garde,though her long association with the architects of the counter culture including Vaccaro and Warhol, Jack Smith, Judith Malina, Jonas Mekas, Charles Henri Ford, HM Koutoukas, Charles Ludlam and Tom O’Horgan. She is the author of ten full-length performance plays, including “True Stories” (1989), “Based on A True Story” (1990), Invitation to the Beginning of the End of the World” (1990)“Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!, her 1990-present sex and censorship show, a blend of political humanism and erotic dancing that was a commercial hit in 35 cities around the world. B!D!F!W!'s influence is incalculable and it spearheaded the neo-burlesque movement, La Miseria”(1991) an expose on racism and homophobia in working class Italian America, “The Last Will and Testament of Quentin Crisp” (1995), “Sisi Sings the Blues”, (1996) Arcade’s fin de siecle POP-era (music and dance), commissioned by The Vienna Festival, “Bad Reputation” (1999) how women betray women and the failure of feminism. “New York Values”, (2002) about the commodification of rebellion and Longing Lasts Longer (2016) a refutation of nostalgia in a world suffering from the erasure of history, the loss of empathy and cultural amnesia.
She is also the author/auteur of numerous one woman shows and has continued to define both solo and group performance art for 35 years.
She has been published in numerous poetry/prose journals.
Her highly acclaimed, award winning documentary video series which she co-helms with her long time collaborator Steve Zehentner, "Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia", The Lower East Side Biography Project, is a series of in depth interviews with some of America's most self individuated artists and thinkers, has broadcast and cyber-cast weekly since 1999. www.facebook.com/TheLowerEastSideBiographyProject
A partial collection of her performance scripts, BAD REPUTATION, was published by Semiotext Press in 2010. In 1991 Quentin Crisp named her as his anima figure, ‘the woman he most identified with" in London Sunday Telegraph Magazine. She was recently portrayed by the actress Cynthia Nixon in a film which focused in part on their friendship and work together “An Englishman In New York”.