Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia

Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia The Lower East Side Biography Project is a community media project, a television biography series and video oral history archive.

02/28/2021
Bina Sharif, Excerpt from The Lower East Side Biography Project

Coming this Monday, March 1st, to The Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia BINA SHARIF! Here's an excerpt from Bina's 28-minute biography. You can watch the entire 28-minute program in Manhattan at 11pm EST, on Cable TV in Manhattan FIOS 33, RCN 82, Time Warner 34 & 1995, and live stream everywhere. https://www.mnn.org/watch/channels/community-channel

Bina Sharif is an award winning Pakistani American playwright/actress/director/performer and a visual artist. She has over 25 plays produced in USA, Pakistan and Europe. She is a Joseph Jefferson award nominee actress from Chicago’s Goodman Theater.

Her highly acclaimed post Sept 11 play, Afghan Woman opened in NYC In 2002 and was performed in UK, Pakistan, Hawaii, Belgium, and in many universities such as Princeton, Wellesly College, UPENN, Ohio State University, Denver Colorado, Champagne Ill, Toronto, Temple University, Montclair University, Sacramento CA and prestigious Islamabad Club Pakistan. Afghan Woman is not yet translated into Arabic but an excerpt of it was published in a book called, Shattering the Stereotypes in the USA.

Her full length play called, My Ancestor’s House was published in an anthology, Contemporary American Plays by Women of Color by Ruttledge Press and is being taught in many universities in America and abroad. The follow up of, My Ancestor’s House, a play called, Another Journey Home/Eight Dialogues in a Mirror Cracked was produced in 2010 in NYC and Pakistan.

Her Play, Sleeping with Horses was comissioned and produced by Mabou Mines and eventually was invited to a theater festival, Desh Pardesh Theater Festival in Toronto. Her play, Kill, a response to the first Persian Gulf War was produced in 1991 and the her second play about the Iraq War was produced in 2006. It was titled, Republic of Iqra.

Her most poetic and a personal favorite play about the British Raj as a feverish love story between an English man and an Indian woman called, One Thousand Hours of Love was produced in 1992 and was brought back in 1993 for a second run at Theatre for the New City in New York where many of her plays have been produced.

Ms. Sharif holds an MD degree from Pakistan and a masters in Public Health from John Hopkins USA.
She is the founder and publisher of a theatre and film blog, Arts International. She also is the Artistic Director of a theatre company called Lower Levels of Society, which started as a salon in her own Manhattan apartment.

02/24/2021
ALFREDO IRIZARRY: Excerpt from 28-minute Biography from the Lower East Side Biography Project

We just uploaded to my Patreon page, one of my favorite biographies from our. Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia Alfredo Irizarry! You can now watch the entire 28-minute film on my Patreon page. https://www.patreon.com/Penny_Arcade
Here’s an excerpt. xoPenny

A little bit Basque, a little bit Indian and a little bit African, Alfredo Irizarry is a Nuyorican born in New York's Spanish Harlem who in the 1950's at the age of five moved to the lower east side, where he has lived ever since. A Vietnam Vet, and fierce urban activist, Alfredo comes from a long line of community activism and remembers the stories of his grandparents and the armed struggle to free Puerto Rico.

One of social critic and anarchist philosopher "Paul Goodman's kid's", Alfredo attended the famous First Street School, and the inspiring story of this free school was chronicled by George Dennison, in "The Story of the First Street School." Later after Goodman's death, his "kids" continued his legacy with the creation of the Second Avenue cultural center C.U.A.N.D.O. (Cultural Understanding and Neighborhood Development Organization)

Alfredo, a writer and poet, is a wonderful storyteller who was a friend of "Puerto Rico's Plato" poet Jorge Brandon, considered the father of Nuyorican poetry. Mix in a little Buckminster Fuller, Bimbo Rivas, Armano Perez, Chino Garcia, and the story of CHARAS, in Alfredo Irizarry's story, you can experience first hand some of the formative history of Loisaida.

The Alfredo Iriazarry Biography is a part of The Lower East Side Biography Project and was directed and edited by Kathryn Lewis in collaboration with Penny Arcade, Steve Zehentner and Dean Lance.

Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia's cover photo
02/22/2021

Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia's cover photo

Last week we uploaded our entire 3 hour 10 minute interview with Lee Breuer. Filmed in 2014 for my Lower East Side Biogr...
02/12/2021
Penny Arcade Performance is creating performances, biographies, livestreams, coaching & mentoring | Patreon

Last week we uploaded our entire 3 hour 10 minute interview with Lee Breuer. Filmed in 2014 for my Lower East Side Biography Project, the interview is now available on my Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/Penny_Arcade For as little as $2, you can watch this interview. On my Patreon, there are nearly 100 unique videos of my theater work, livestreams and biographies from the Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia Patreon is a monthly subscription…but you can cancel at any time. xoPenny Arcade

Become a patron of Penny Arcade Performance today: Get access to exclusive content and experiences on the world’s largest membership platform for artists and creators.

02/07/2021
Sarah Schulman, excerpt from The Lower East Side Biography Project

Coming this Monday, February 8th, to The Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, TAYLOR MEAD & SARAH SCHULMAN. Here's an excerpt from Sarah's 14-minute biography. You can watch the entire 28-minute program in Manhattan at 11pm EST, on Cable TV in Manhattan FIOS 33, RCN 82, Time Warner 34 & 1995, and live stream everywhere. https://www.mnn.org/index.php/watch/channels/community-channel-1

01/21/2021
My Life is Good, excerpt from Penny Arcade's Invisible on the Street, 1986

We just uploaded to my Patreon page, Invisible on the Streets, a very early show of mine from 1986. The excerpt here is, My Life is Good by Randy Newman. You can watch the entire 85 minute show by subscribing to Penny Arcade Performance for as little as $2.00. https://www.patreon.com/Penny_Arcade

Invisible on the Street: In 1985 at age 34 after performing in other people’s work for close to 20 years I created my first one woman show - first at The Poetry Project invited by Chris Kraus and then a few months later at PS122 invited by Mark Russell. The shows were a combination of three things: improvised characters based on real people I knew, songs with a crack band (the best musicians New York had to offer), and improvised rants directly to the audience.

In 1986/87 I moved the show to University of the Streets above the restaurant 7A, 4 nights a week in the 100 seat theater on 7th Street and Avenue A.

The show is out there and captures the rawness of East Village solo performance. No one in the downtown scene did anything remotely like me. I guess I picked up where I had left off in 1971. My work has the edge, that anarchic energy of what had left the punk scene in its wake. xoPenny

01/21/2021

Coming this Monday to The Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, JAYNE COUNTY. Here's an excerpt. You can watch the entire 28-minute biography in Manhattan at 11pm EST next Monday on Cable TV in Manhattan FIOS 33, RCN 82, Time Warner 34 & 1995, and live stream everywhere.

Stick It In Me! (You Are Entering Jayne County) by Dean Lance. In this episode of The Lower East Side Biography Project, we present transgendered punk legend Jayne County. Jayne (née Wayne) recounts how she made the tricky detour during the Summer of Love in 1967, taking a Greyhound bus from rural Georgia and landing in New York instead of San Francisco.

“I escaped from Georgia, you know—the conservative upbringing, the rednecks who carry guns and shoot you if you are different, shoot you if you have a hairstyle they don’t like.”

After meeting Lee Childers (who would go on to become a famous rock and photographer) at the The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, she showed up at his apartment three days later with her suitcase and moved in. They connected by chance with Andy Warhol's Factory superstars Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn. Jackie and Holly promptly moved into their tiny apartment on East 13th Street as well and they soon found themselves immersed in the chaos and lunacy of the underground art scene centered in the infamous back room at Max's Kansas City

01/13/2021

Coming this Monday to The Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, AL ORENSANZ. Here's an excerpt. You can watch the entire 28-minute biography in Manhattan at 11pm EST next Monday on Cable TV in Manhattan FIOS 33, RCN 82, Time Warner 34 & 1995, and live stream everywhere.

Al Orensanz (1942-2016) was the director of the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts. The Foundation is name after Al's brother, Spanish sculptor Angel Orensanz, who rescued the former Ansche Chesed Synagogue in 1986. The building is located at 172 Norfolk Street in New York City and is one of the oldest surviving gothic-revival synagogues in New York. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Orensanz_Center

Today, the Foundation acts as both Angel Orensanz’s studio and as a center for the arts - an artistic and cultural resource for, artists, writers, thinkers and members of the surrounding community. orensanz.org

A wonderful history of the synagogue and the arts center, "From Anshe Chesed to Angel Orensanz" written by Al Orensanz, Ph D., can be found here: orensanz.org/orensanz-booklet.pdf

The Al Orensanz Biography is a part of The Lower East Side Biography Project and was directed and edited by Eric Wallach in collaboration with Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner.

Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia's cover photo
01/13/2021

Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia's cover photo

01/13/2021
The Hasid, excerpt from Penny Arcade's Invisible on the Street, 1986

In 1985 at age 34 after performing in other people’s work for close to 20 years I created my first one woman show - first at The Poetry Project invited by Chris Kraus and then a few months later at PS122 invited by Mark Russell. The shows were a combination of three things: improvised characters based on real people I knew, songs with a crack band (the best musicians New York had to offer), and improvised rants directly to the audience.

In 1986/87 I moved the show to University of the Streets above the restaurant 7A, 4 nights a week in the 100 seat theater on 7th Street and Avenue A. One of the characters I did was the massage parlor Hasid based on a client who came to a massage place I worked in the West Village. I rewrote Muddy Waters “Mannish Boy” into “I’m A Mensch”.

The show is out there and captures the rawness of East Village solo performance. No one in the downtown scene did anything remotely like me. I guess I picked up where I had left off in 1971. My work has the edge, that anarchic energy of what had left the punk scene in its wake.

In a day or two, we’ll be uploading the entire show to my Penny Arcade Performance Patreon and you can watch by subscribing for as little as $2.00. https://www.patreon.com/Penny_Arcade?fan_landing=true

Despite running for 4 months four nights a week, the show was never reviewed by the Village Voice. It’s a great story with great commentary by none other than Jack Smith and a very amusing punchline which in itself is worth $2.00.

Music Director and Keyboards Jonathan Hardy, Singer Kay Funk, Slide Guitar Dave Tronzo, Bass Bob Milbeck, Drums Robert Bond, Lights Drew Gladstone. Sound, Stuart Lerman, The On Stage Stage Manager was Mr David Francis and Kate Huh was at the door. Special thanks to Daisy Wake for the subtitles.

12/25/2020
Feliz Navidad by Penny Arcade and Chris Rael

For over 22 years I have collaborated on art projects with Chris Rael, everything from Chris scoring shows of mine like Bad Reputation, producing tracks (absolutely NO ONE can go into a recording studio as Chris did and make a cast album from beds to final production as he did of Bad Rep in 4 days!) We have made videos, films, he has been part of The Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural AmnesiaAmnesia since its inception and operated as editor, camera crew, etc., whatever needed to get done. I became a better writer from living closely with him for ten years because of his love for language and literature, films, art and anything rich with culture and he has always been a great editor in any medium with an expansive overview for what any project needs. Like Steve Zehentner, like me, Chris is a worker - no slouch - and always brings MORE to everything he does - no stinting EVER! Not in his nature. So when I wanted to collaborate with him on Feliz Navidad! I was expecting excellence but what I got was so far beyond that! Chris played all the instruments on this track..produced it and edited the final video and imbued the tune with longing of moment in a dissonant under edge.

I chose Feliz Navidad for our mutual Spanish Iberian connection- from the moment I saw Chris i saw something very Spanish about him although he looked like a white dude with kind of slanted eyes - turned out he was Chicano on his dad's side, from early Raels, two brothers who were Maranno Jews, who sailed with Cortes from Spain to conquer Mexico, and eventually intermarried with Apaches and Navajos in New Mexico when it was still Nueva Espana - Chris and I discovered this living family of his in 2003 on a long road trip west and I who have long been identified with Spain and Spanish, bonded with his Aunt Ruthie, the Rael Matriarch, speaking Spanish fluently as I do. So to her memory, one of the most joyous, caring, no BS, dancing 90 year olds I have ever known, who died just shy of her 100th birthday, I dedicate Feliz Navidad! The spirit of the song touches me deeply in this year of Covid - of no work and so much cause for worry..."Happy Christmas! A prosperous year to you and happiness!"

12/20/2020
Excerpt from Jacks Waters Biography

Coming this Monday to The Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, JACK WATERS. One of our most popular biographies! Here's an excerpt. You can watch the entire 28-minute biography in Manhattan at 11pm EST next Monday on Cable TV in Manhattan FIOS 33, RCN 82, Time Warner 34 & 1995, and live stream everywhere. https://www.mnn.org/watch/channels/community-channel

Jack Waters works in all forms of visual, performance and media art. He is a BFA graduate in dance of the Juilliard School. His choreography credits include his Personifications staged for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center Repertory Workshop, and his works created as a founding member of POOL, the choreographer’s collective that was the resident dance company of the legendary Pyramid Club in New York City of the 1980s.

Jack’s films have shown on Sundance Channel, and on PBS. Among Waters recent screenings of note is his video short “Occupy My Ass, Not Iraq” at the Panorama section of the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival. As a journalist he has published articles on politics, cultural affairs, and reviews in visual arts, film, and media. He was a founding contributing writer for both Gay City News, New York City’s LGBT news bi-weekly, and Color Life, the news journal for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and two-spirited people of Color.

Waters and partner Peter Cramer, former co-directors of ABC No Rio, are co founders of Le Petit Versailles, a Green Thumb garden presenting screenings, music, performance, visual art exhibitions, and new media. They are ongoing and frequent collaborators with the Inbred Hybrid Collective, whose mandate is: to stimulate a consciousness of the external factors affecting our human existence. www.alliedproductions.org

The Jack Waters Biography was produced by The Lower East Side Biography Project and was directed and edited by Justin O. Silverman and Steve Zehentner in collaboration with Penny Arcade.

12/20/2020
December 1992 excerpt from Penny Arcade at The Village Gate

Yesterday we uploaded to my Patreon page, a December 1992 performance of Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! from Art D'Lugoff's Village Gate. We thought it would be fun to offer our Patreon pals a glimpse into that show then!

Filmed by Charlie Steiner on December 11th, Steve Zehentner, my dancers and I showed up at The Village Gate to perform for the eight brave souls who turned out to see Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! during a record setting blizzard. You will hear me exclaim "I finally got what I wanted! a show with more dancers than audience!”

In December of 1992 B!D!F!W!, then in its 6 month of ongoing performances, continued to be improvised each night and there were so many monologues and “bits” that were added and dropped and replaced as B!D!F!W! developed over more than a two year process from 1990 to 1993. Neo Burlesque was unheard of back then and I had no idea of what I was pioneering by merging performance art with erotic dance and burlesque.

The performance you will see is raw but has the charm that spontaneity offers and that sense of ‘wildness” that my work had in the 1980’s and 1990’s. You will recognize some of our dancers: Ken Angel Davis, Betsy Brock, Jason Jaworski, Bill Graber, Tigger-James Ferguson, Jill Morley, Leta Davis, Alicia Hopkins, Diana Moonmade, Noel Robichaux, Benjamin Pride. The audience dance break, a popular part of B!D!F!W! happened despite the self consciousness that usually occurs with a small audience.

As I enter my 70th year it is fun to see myself naked at 42! I know for certain I did not know I would be doing B!D!F!W! 28 years later nor that those improvised monologues would become so polished without losing their authenticity!

In this excerpt, you will see a bit I used to do about the famous muse of not only Jack Smith, but of Andy Warhol, Charles Ludlam, Ronnie Tavel and John Vaccaro: MARIA MONTEZ. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Montez It was their fascination with that B movie star that cemented their friendship and led to many collaborations.

You can join Penny Arcade Patreon for as little as $2/month to see this show in it's entirety and many many others as well as Lower East Side Biography Project - Stemming The Tide of Cultural Amnesia, and all my archived talks and special live events! You can cancel any time. https://www.patreon.com/Penny_Arcade?fan_landing=true. xoPenny

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The Lower East Side Biography Project is a community media project, a television biography series and video oral history archive begun by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner, who have collaborated on creating theatre projects, video and sound installations and social practice since 1992.

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While everyone is patting themselves on the back for their activism and organizing, check out our Lower East Biography Project profile of veteran activist, the late Carmen Pabon who was fighting for the LES for decades. Airing and streaming tonight, Monday, July 6 at 11 pm. Details below. SarahJackPeeweeJackieKenRickyMarciaJeffTed
After 20 years I am just angry and sad that Lincoln Anderson who allowed so many of us to use the Villager as a publication resource for articles and for me especially photos of major national events has been fired by a family of greedy NY pissant scumbags who have destroyed a vital and long, long time source of community news unlike any other publication in the city.
In case you need to see a clip...
Thanks for the introduction
If you didn't have plans for tonight... (And if you did, there are two more performances before Penny and Steve retire "Longing Lasts Longer," Tuesdays Aug. 20 and Aug. 27. StaceyAnneOrinEllenSima
Come to HOWL! Happening tonight, Thu., June 13, 7 pm to see David Weissman's film about Eugene N. Fedorko followed by a panel about Gay Elders. And while you're there, check out my show "Mourn the Dead. Fight Like Hell for the Living" which will be up through Sun., June 16. There will be a CLOSING RECEPTION for the show at 4:00-6:00 at which time you can sign up to march with HOWL in Reclaim Pride on June 30. HOWL! Happening 6 E. 1st St. (bet. 2nd Ave. and Bowery) Gallery Hours: 11-6.
Penny Arcade will be in Woodbridge this week! Enjoy and please share!
This is great, congrats and good luck to all! I wish I could participate, maybe next time. I lived on the LES thru the 80s, and had the lowest and highest points of that experience, saw the noeveau riche embrace the "starving artists" and turn them into nouveau somethings, and then saw everyone else do the million things that we all did after the 80s.
Some time ago LESBP interviewed an artist named Kasoundra Kasoundra that I’ve quite lost track of. She may no longer be alive. If she is OK, please let me know. Here’s a relevant youtube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AQqoGJxBAU0.
Nov. 15, Bristol, UK, one time only screening of DOPE (1968) by Sheldon Rochlin and Diane Rochlin (now Flame Schon). Pass it on to anyone in the area.
This poster for upcoming screening of DOPE just arrived this moment-- Nov.15th - Bristol, UK pass it on to anyone in the area
Please upload the full video of this, thanx in advance: Jayne County, The Lower East Side Biography Project, excerpt from 28 minute biography