Event Reviews: Penny Arcade – Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!

Now 61, performance artist Penny Arcade is one of life’s true originals. Growing up in New York in the 60s within the city’s community of queers and trannies, Penny became an uber faghag and outspoken commentator on sexuality and censorship. She was best mates with Quentin Crisp, supported her friends through the horrors of the AIDs-ridden 80s, and now has plenty to say about the evolution of the gay scene over the years,  in Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!

The show’s series of sketches and improvised audience chats offers a rollercoaster ride through queer history – heartwarming, scary, political, sad, hilarious and educational. Her comments about lipstick lezzers (“There used to be hardly any lesbians because in the old days, if one wore lipstick, the other lesbians would kill her. Lesbian-on-lesbian violence was huge…”) and biphobia (“My lesbian friends think I’m just not trying hard enough”) made me laugh particularly hard, but then I would say that.

Anyone with the slightest interest in gayness will come away from this event feeling part of something precious – Penny’s emphasis on the importance of inclusivity and the dangers of letting the scene split into factions have never been more valid.

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