Penny Arcade reminds us that she was in our fine festival town twenty two years ago, doing Bitch Dyke Fag-hag Whore. I was at that show and loved it; hence ticking to review this one.
“I wanted to be the witch in Snow White; not the girl,” she says… and with that begins her performance, which is (refreshingly) not so easy to define in both style and form.
In many ways Longing Lasts Longer, is a kind of lecture/chat and rapid-fire trip down memory lane, and passionate share from a passionate sixty six year old (she tells us) woman, about the way the world is now, and how it all was before.
Within a wonderful weave of poetic psycho-analysis, peppered with sound (from Steve on tech), a strong volley of issues about capitalism, conservatism, consumerism, ageing, moving forward and imparting knowledge flows forth gloriously. And (for me) it is the sharing of wisdom that comes from living life that is the most wonderful thing in Longing. Really, how often do we give voice to the older person (and I say that as compliment), who has done and seen so much, in this world and way which now mostly worships youth, beauty, and an increasing swirl of arrogant inflexibility of what should and should not be done… and said.
Arcade launches into a rave about the gentrification of New York; the authentically human, edgy and alternative which has disappeared under the cloud of political correctness that has become mainstay; and how those of us who roamed on the very edge and played hard core, don’t have anywhere to dwell anymore as yuppie-dom and the preferred sex-in-the-city type existence sweeps over the seedy gorgeous back-lanes where creativity and anarchism blossomed.
Out with the off-beat coffee shops, cutting edge bookstores and clubs where we slunk, the passing around roaches and the chaos that we devoured, and in with the goody-two-shoes cupcake shops, the silencing of rebels and outlaws and the applause for new-age parents making best friends with their film-school kids as they do soy-lattes in the “right” place to be, dressed in the “right” clothes to wear. New York life and change is a reality and a clever metaphor from Penny re: our entire world and the changes sweeping over it in this technological time. This spreading genocide is what Penny Arcade wants us to realize with her and fall into thinking about… and we do.
If you weren’t with Penny entirely (and most of us were), Longing Lasts Longer could be seen as opinionated, even preachy; but that is not a criticism, for it is a choice from this fine artist to use what she knows and believes in, to make us all look at the current time. And ourselves.
Longing Lasts Longer is an exhilarating, zealous plea to those who care to grasp her words and energy for them. “The roses in flower shops don’t have a scent anymore,” she says. Oh how true. I’ve noticed that too!
Thanks Penny. See you next time, I hope.