Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

(this is a sample page of Penny Arcade for Elizabeth Kirwin to use on her website and only for Elizabeth's use and transfer, thank you, CAConrad)

3 poems by Penny Arcade


Today I read that a photographer was releasing a book
called "Laws of The Bandit Queens"
It features Sandra Bernhard, Janeane Garofalo and others
I had no idea how underground I am.


I am the dog under the table waiting for scraps
I am the beat bitch shuddering on the welcome mat at a closed door.
I am the empty road, the cloudless night
I am sorrow in sunshine
I am strength in the face of victory
That holds back it’s sword from the neck of the oppressor
That gives a drink of water to the enemy making thrice sure it is
cool and clean.

Is it true that I am a fool for love?
But what if I already knew, playing backwards, what I owe?
What if no price is too high?
What if it is worth every penny to me?

Yet what if my sacrifice does you no good?
if it is you who are called to sacrifice and my running out in front
of your
Sword negates the glory you aspire to?

I know every hair on your head
The curve of your neck to the shoulder
The place where your brow , inner eye and nose meet

The way you come at the back of my
throat or at my womb
Though right now it embarrasses me to say
What you have forgotten

I was your queen
Although I loved equally the role of your whore
The table laid with silk was my domain
And every role I played I relished
Because it was with you

The darkened house
Without you
To know no footstep comes
That once lifted my heart
My joy was only you
Though I possessed the world
A simple bench to sit next to you was enough
Despite the throne
That was our inheritance
It mattered not to me
And still does not
From my jail, my dungeon
Lank and fetid
With your abuse
Though unintended

But even if it were
Would thwart me not
Does this make me a fool
Or worse
One who throws herself on an
empty pyre
That burns not yet neither is it green?
Am I standing still to admire
A mirage
Made lovelier by my thirst?
And sacrifice if that is my lot
Is this less than victory
Or just a dream of a sleepless night
A fantasy of love conceived
By one who fears to live
Out their destiny?

Haiku # 1

I thought you were Kurt Cobain
but then he died
and you were still around.

Penny Arcade (Susana Ventura) is an internationally acclaimed and respected writer, poet, essayist, cultural critic, director and performance, theater and video artist and cultural icon. She is one of the few Performance Artists to gain international renown in the mainstream theatre and entertainment world. Penny Arcade occupies a rare position in the American avant garde and counter culture and is a link between the present and the ethos of the 1960’s. At 17 she debuted as an original member of The Playhouse of The Ridiculous, NY's famed queer, glitter/glam political theatre, that influenced everything from David Bowie to Punk to current performance. At 19 she was a teenaged superstar for Andy Warhol's Factory, featured in the film Women In Revolt available on DVD and is one of the few artists from that scene to become internationally known in her own right. She is one of the very few independent American artists able to sustain a 40 year career in the arts and she is at the top of her game in several arenas she helped define.

She is the author of ten full length perfomance plays and numerous solo shows, including) Bitch!Dyke!Faghag!Whore!, (1990-1995) her sex and censorship show, a blend of political humanism and erotic dancers, whose influence is incalculable as a mainstream, commercial hit in 22 cities around the world and left the new burlesque movement in it’s wake.In 1991 Quentin Crisp identified Penny Arcade as the woman he most identified with, naming her his soul-mate and anima figure and they performed many shows together for almost a decade. In 2009 Cynthia Nixon, of Sex in The City portrayed Penny Arcade in a film on Mr Crisp, An Englishman In New York. Her award winning documentary project LES Biography Project, Stemming The Tide Of Cultural Amnesia with long time collaborator Steve Zehentner, has broadcast weekly in NY since 1999. A hard cover book containing 3 of Arcade’s performance scripts: La Miseria, about growing up as a girl in a Southern Italian immigrant, working class, peasant family in America and the clash of compassion, racism and homophobia, Bitch!Dyke!faghag!Whore!, and the book’s title piece Bad Reputation about the commodification of the Bad Girl, the links between sexual abuse, drug addiction and prostitution and of how women betray women leading to the failure of feminism, with the first four essays on Penny Arcade’s theatrical philosophy and aesthetics and a full length interview, archival photos spanning 1968 to 2009 was published by Semiotexte(e) and MIT Press in 2009. She is a passionate and gifted lecturer, teacher, coach and mentor. Visit for reviews, essays, blogs and to contact Penny.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

FIRST OF ALL, Ed Baker I wouldn't WANT your filthy corpse in my city! So PLEASE DO die elsewhere!

SECOND, for those coming to the MLA there're some amazing art exhibits VERY NEAR the convention center, one being The Ryan Trecartin Show, and even though this link says until Summer 2009, Trecartin's show is still up by popular demand. Trecartin is like an amazing alchemy of Bruce Andrews meets David Lynch meets John Waters while on a cocktail of acid and crack. NOT TO BE MISSED! And it's just a couple of blocks away.

The other show is The Malcolm McLaren Show and The Barkley Hendricks Show, both at PAFA, also only a few blocks away. And when at PAFA, upstairs at the Hendricks Show in the permanent collection are amazing pieces of work by Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, and other great pieces! The Nevelson is one of my favorites, it's a sculpture she created from the remains of the St. Mark's Church on the Bowery's church organ after they had a fire many years ago.

Have a great time everyone, but only die here if you love it here. We'll give you a nice funeral.

Monday, December 07, 2009

CAConrad outside the Malcolm McLaren Show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (12/6/09), photo taken by Jaime Anne Earnest

CAConrad outside the Malcolm McLaren Show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (12/6/09), photo taken by Jaime Anne Earnest.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Is there a deceased poet who was alive in your lifetime who you never met, but wish you had met? A poet you would LOVE to correspond with, but it's too late? Take notes about this missed opportunity. What is your favorite poem by this poet? Write it on unlined paper by hand (no typing). If we were gods we wouldn't need to invent beautiful poems, and that's why our lives are more interesting, and that's why the gods are always meddling in our affairs out of boredom. It's like the fascination the rich have with the poor, as Alice Notley says, "the poor are universally more interesting." This poem was written by a human poet, and we humans love our poets, if we have any sense. Does something strike flint in you from the process of engaging your body to write this poem you know and love? Notes, notes, take notes. The poet for me in doing this exercise is Jim Brodey, and his poem "Little Light," which he wrote in the bathtub while listening to the music of Eric Dolphy, masturbating in the middle of the poem, "while the soot-tinted noise of too-full streets echoes / and I pick up the quietly diminishing soap & do / myself again." Take your handwritten version of the poem and cut it into tiny confetti. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and toss the confetti poem in. Add garlic, onion, parsnip, whatever you want, pepper it, salt it, serve it over noodles or rice. Eat the delicious poem with a nice glass of red wine, pausing to read it out loud and toast the poet, "MANY APOLOGIES FOR NOT TOASTING YOU WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE!" Take notes while slowly chewing the poem. Chew slowly so your saliva breaks the poem down before it slides into your belly to feed your blood and cells of your body. Gather your notes, write your poem. Allegiance.