St Ann’s Warehouse welcomes Penny Arcade, legendary downtown New York writer, performance artist, actress and force for artistic resistance, for the American Premiere of her internationally acclaimed Longing Lasts Longer, December 1-11, 2016.
In this thought-provoking and subversively funny solo performance piece produced by London Artists Projects, Arcade offers a fierce, visionary and ultimately hopeful critique of gentrification—not just of cities and neighborhoods, but of the mind and culture. The production won both Scotsman Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and will have been performed over 130 times when it arrives at St. Ann’s Warehouse as part of an acclaimed world tour that extends until at least the fall of 2017.
Penny Arcade will perform Longing Lasts Longer December 1-3 and 6-10 at 8pm; December 3 & 10 at 3pm; and December 4 & 11 at 5pm. Tickets, $35 - $55, can be purchased at www.stannswarehouse.org, 718.254.8779 and 866.811.4111. Running time is approximately 80al minutes. The new St. Ann’s Warehouse is located at 45 Water Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
In a singular career now spanning five decades, Penny Arcade has brought her brand of East Village rock ‘n roll showmanship and her signature combination of experimental theater and performance-art based memoir to stages around the globe. The New York Times recently wrote, “[A] strain of solo performance art flourished downtown in the 1980s, in the work of artists like Eric Bogosian, Karen Finley and Spalding Gray. On modest stages and with minimal production, they relied on their wits and autobiographical wealth to court, challenge and cajole their audiences into rethinking their deepest personal and political commitments. As many of her peers exchanged the intimacy and experimentation of their early monologue days for more lucrative and visible gigs on cable TV and Broadway and in Hollywood, Penny Arcade stayed faithful to that ethos, serving as mainstay and muse with her blend of high-art seriousness and punk-scented humor.”
At 18, Arcade made her debut with John Vaccaro’s explosive Playhouse of the Ridiculous before becoming a teenage Andy Warhol Factory Superstar, featured in the Warhol/Morrissey film Women in Revolt. She went on to collaborate with such seminal countercultural instigators as Charles Ludlum, Judith Malina and Jack Smith. The late Quentin Crisp described her as his soul mate and the woman with whom he most identified. The New York Times’ T Magazine featured her in its recent photo essay “They Made New York,” alongside other artists that helped shape New York City’s cultural landscape, including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Sarandon, Philip Glass and Chuck Close.
Arcade’s three-decade body of work, made up of both solo and group pieces, includes her internationally renowned show about sex and censorship, Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! With its international troupe of strippers and erotic dancers, the work spearheaded the neo burlesque performance movement and counts many of today’s burlesque stars as alumnae. B!D!F!W! has been performed in over 30 cities, including a year-long Off Broadway run and a 48-performance 20th anniversary revival in London in 2012. London’s The Times called it “the smartest, most quotable theatrical party in town” solidifying Arcade’s reputation for powerful one-liners. In a five-star review, Time Out London wrote, “[This] signature piece and its exploration of misogyny and repressions in capitalist society remains as challenging, witty and germane today as when it premiered two decades ago—acute, humane, unmissable.”
Arcade is at the peak of her powers in Longing Lasts Longer. The show builds upon Arcade’s many writings and performances since the early 1980’s about the effect of gentrification and capitalism on the creative mind, individual freedom and the unique character of New York City, whose “queers, junkies, whores, stars, deviants and geniuses” attracted her, at 14, to climb out her bedroom window from the small factory town of New Britain, Connecticut, where, as Susana Carmen Ventura, she grew up the daughter of Italian immigrants.
Conceived, written and performed by Arcade, Longing Lasts Longer combines her signature, poetic text-based performance art—a combination of memoir and cultural criticism—with a live-mixed soundtrack of over 100 sound cues, drawn from popular music of the past five decades. The show critiques the current moment—the suburbanization of New York City, which has turned it from the Big Apple into the Big Cupcake, and from the city that never sleeps to the city that can’t wake up. Longing Lasts Longer does not traffic in nostalgia; rather, it refutes nostalgia while offering a passionate exploration of cultural amnesia and the erasure of history. Arcade sends up every decade from the 1960s through to the present day, celebrating the spirit of individuality that still draws people to New York and inspires young and old alike. Arcade created Longing Lasts Longer with designer and co-director Steve Zehentner, her collaborator of 24 years, with support from creative producer Jeremy Goldstein. At St. Ann’s, Arcade will perform a show she has continued to refine on tour over the last two years; the American Premiere at St. Ann’s Warehouse will feature lighting design by Tony Award nominee Justin Townsend (The Humans, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Here Lies Love).
Writing about an improvised, work-in-progress performance of Longing Lasts Longer at Joe’s Pub in 2014, The New York Times described it as “a meditation on gentrification [that] mixes social criticism and pop culture, history and humor to present the artist’s distinctive picture of New York’s past, present and future, against a musical backdrop.” In a profile of Arcade on the occasion of the show’s recent Australian tour, The Australian characterized Longing Lasts Longer as “a rampage through opinions and themes garnered over four decades spent perched on society’s edge, a wake-up call to a younger generation rendered comatose by consumerism [and] capitalism.”
Susan Feldman, St. Ann’s Artistic Director, said, “Here comes Penny, just when we need her! We are so grateful to have her voice now.”
About St. Ann’s Warehouse
St. Ann’s Warehouse plays a vital role on the global cultural landscape as an American artistic home for international companies of distinction, American avant-garde masters and talented emerging artists ready to work on a grand scale. St. Ann’s signature flexible, open space allows artists to stretch, both literally and imaginatively, enabling them to approach work with unfettered creativity, knowing that the theater can be adapted in multiple configurations to suit their needs.
In the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, St. Ann’s Warehouse has designed a spectacular waterfront theater that opened in October 2015. The new theater offers St. Ann’s signature versatility and grandeur on an amplified scale while respecting the walls of an original 1860’s Tobacco Warehouse. The building complex includes a second space, a Studio, for St. Ann’s Puppet Lab, smaller-scale events and community uses, as well as The Max Family Garden, designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and open to Brooklyn Bridge Park visitors during Park hours.
Susan Feldman founded Arts at St. Ann’s (now St. Ann’s Warehouse) in 1980 as part of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, to help save the National Historic Landmark Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. For twenty-one years, St. Ann’s presented a decidedly eclectic array of concert and theater performances in the church sanctuary.
From Fall 2001 through the 2014-15 season, the organization activated found spaces in DUMBO with the world’s most imaginative theater- and music-makers, helping to make the burgeoning neighborhood a destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. After twelve years (2001-2012) in a warehouse that was located at 38 Water Street, St. Ann’s transformed another raw space at 29 Jay Street, turning it into an interim home for three years (2012-2015) while the organization adapted the then-roofless Tobacco Warehouse at 45 Water Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park into the new St. Ann’s Warehouse.
The Inaugural Season, November 2015 – June 2016, featured signature international presentations that continually demonstrated the flexibility of the new St. Ann’s Warehouse. The season began with the Donmar Warehouse all-female Henry IV, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter, and continued with The Last Hotel, a new opera from Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh; Nice Fish, written by Mark Rylance and prose poet Louis Jenkins after Jenkins’ prose poems, and performed by a cast led by Rylance; the Young Vic’s immensely acclaimed production of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Benedict Andrews, with an explosive cast led by Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster, Vanessa Kirby and Corey Johnson; and Bianco, from the Cardiff-based international contemporary circus company NoFitState, which St. Ann’s presented in a flying-saucer shaped tent erected under the Brooklyn Bridge in May 2016.
Almost four decades of consistently acclaimed landmark productions that found their American home at St. Ann’s include Lou Reed’s and John Cale’s Songs for ‘Drella; Marianne Faithfull’s Seven Deadly Sins; Artistic Director Susan Feldman’s Band in Berlin; Charlie Kaufman and the Coen Brothers’ Theater of the New Ear; The Royal Court and TR Warszawa productions of Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis; The Globe Theatre of London’s Measure for Measure with Mark Rylance; Druid Company’s The Walworth Farce, The New Electric Ballroom and Penelope by Enda Walsh and Walsh’s Misterman, featuring Cillian Murphy; Lou Reed’s Berlin; the National Theater of Scotland’s Black Watch; Kneehigh Theatre’s Brief Encounter and Tristan & Yseult; Yael Farber’s Mies Julie; Dmitry Krymov Lab’s Opus No. 7; the Donmar Warehouse all-female Julius Caesar and Henry IV; Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients; Tricycle Theatre’s Red Velvet and, most recently, the National Theatre of Scotland’s Let the Right One In. St. Ann’s has championed such artists as The Wooster Group, Mabou Mines, Jeff Buckley, Cynthia Hopkins, Emma Rice and Daniel Kitson, and presented an historic David Bowie concert in 2002.
The new St. Ann’s Warehouse retains the best of its past homes: the sense of sacred space of the organization’s original home in the Church, and the vastness and endless capacity for reconfiguration artists have harnessed in St. Ann’s temporary warehouses in DUMBO.