Arcade’s fire: Penny Arcade brings incendiary show to Dumbo • Brooklyn Paper

Arcade’s fire: Penny Arcade brings incendiary show to Dumbo

Penny for your thoughts: Performance artist Penny Arcade will stop at St. Ann’s Warehouse starting on Dec. 1 for the American premiere of her one-woman show “Longing Lasts Longer.”
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

She’s putting in her two cents!

Legendary political performance artist Penny Arcade will stop in Dumbo next month for the American premiere of her incendiary one-woman show, after a year-long world tour. In “Longing Lasts Longer,” opening at St. Ann’s Warehouse on Dec. 1, Arcade takes on gentrification and the city’s changing neighborhoods — something Brooklyn residents are very familiar with, she said.

“Brooklyn is a simulation of what Brooklyn was. It’s like a board game now, it’s not a real place, it’s not a real city,” said Arcade, who lives in Manhattan. “It’s impossible not to be part of gentrification because New York City has been colonized — this has befallen all of our inner cities, invaded by a culture of wealth that creates a mall-like character.”

But more insidious than yuppies buying up real estate is the way that moneyed gentry have co-opted the symbols and language of society’s outsiders, said Arcade.

“There is a gentrification that happens to neighborhoods but there is also a gentrification that happens to ideas,” she said. “Once bikers and strippers had tattoos and those tattoos were a rite of passage — now every stock broker has multiple tattoos. The word ‘queer’ denoted a person who had experienced a period of societal exclusion that marked them as an outsider forever. Now people who have never had an outsider moment in their lives call themselves queer.”

In her show, Arcade will share personal stories of protesting the Vietnam war and coming of age in the city, against a soundtrack of music from the last five decades. She hopes the stories will inspire young people to take up their own crusades, she said, and give them some context from someone with experience standing up to the Man.

“ ‘Longing Lasts Longer’ is really directed to young people. Young people need an ally and I have chosen to be that ally. The engine of evolution has always been the hunger and energy of young people with the wisdom of older people,” said Arcade. “And I have faith — I’m part of a generation that helped stop the Vietnam war, threw Nixon out of office. I believe we can make a difference but we need to be awake and form coalitions. And that’s what ‘Longing Lasts Longer’ is about — it’s to inspire individuality and authenticity in all of us.”

“Longing Lasts Longer” at St. Ann’s Warehouse [45 Water St. at Old Dock Street in Dumbo, (718) 834–8794, www.stannswarehouse.org]. Dec. 1–11, Tue–Fri at 8 pm, Sat at 3 pm and 8 pm, Sun at 5 pm. $35–$55.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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