ABOUT PENNY ARCADE: She (born Susana Carmen Ventura, July 15, 1950), is an American performance artist, actress, and playwright based in New York City. Susana Ventura was born in New Britain, Connecticut, and grew up in a working class Italian immigrant family. Her mother was abusive and her father was mentally ill. At age 13 she ran away from home and spent a summer homeless in Provincetown. She was sent to Sacred Heart Academy for Wayward Girls, a reform school, where she was released at age 16. With money stolen from a sandwich shop where she worked, she left for New York City, where she changed her name to Penny Arcade after an LSD trip. Jamie Andrews of MainMan management company rescued her off the streets.
Arcade is a co-founder of the Lower East Side Biography Project, a video production and oral history workshop that trains participants in documentary filmmaking and preserves the stories of Lower Manhattan artists and activists. Recently profiled individuals have included Herbert Huncke, Jayne County, and Marty Matz, among others.
In 2002 Arcade ran for the New York State Assembly as a candidate of the Green Party. She received 1,054 votes out of 32,976 in the 74th Assembly district, losing to incumbent and anti-rent control advocate Steven Sanders.
In January 2011 Arcade had an on-stage spat with notorious performance artist Ann Liv Young who was in guise as her alter ego Sherry. In 2012 she took up residence at London's Arcola Theatre for a run of her show Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!
In 2013 Arcade appeared in a revival of Tennessee Williams one-act play, The Mutilated. The production was directed by Cosmin Chivu with music by Jesse Selengut, and produced as part of the eighth annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in Massachusetts. It later opened for a run at the New Ohio Theatre in the West Village.
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