Home' LOTL : MarApril16 Contents You’ve no doubt had your life described
as ‘colourful.’ You were part of a political
puppet theatre group in Mallorca; fell
into a world of ‘prostitutes who drank
with U.S. sailors’; had a vintage store
in Amsterdam; lived without heat or
water in the back woods in the ‘Back To
The Land Movement.’ Do you regret a
second of it?
I do not regret any of the adventures I had.
However, I regret that I had so little choice
in the trajectory of my life. Everything that
came to me came by synchronicity. I didn’t
have the emotional self-confidence to
make actual choices that were based on
goals and planning for one’s life direction.
That said, I think I got pretty lucky in the
lottery of destiny.
What makes you angry?
I have no patience for hypocrisy and lies, nor
for dysfunction and people not doing their
best in their jobs. When those attributes are
in the character of elected and paid officials,
I go berserk!
Can you imagine not being an activist?
Activism is a personality trait. I am a natural
helper. I do not call myself an activist; I say I
have done activism. Activist is not a noun to
me, it is a verb - it is connected with doing,
with action. But that said, I believe that like
art, activism is a vocation not a profession.
Instead of Gay Pride you went to Gay
Shame in Brooklyn in the late ‘90s?
I have been advocating a return to Gay
lotl.com • Lesbians On The Loose Magazine
What did you find striking about Australia
when you toured here?
First and foremost, the respect and friendship
among women was overwhelming to me.
The way women put their friendships with
other women up front and central in their
lives - the real cooperation between women,
the rejection of competition between
Is it true that you moved to New York City
with money stolen from the sandwich
shop where you worked?
Yes, it is true. I worked in a little diner in
Boston and realised I could easily not rung
up a certain amount of orders. It was a
misuse of my creativity at 17, and a symptom
of having no one to whom I could turn to
What was it like to have Andy Warhol want
to groom you as a Factory Superstar?
I came into Warhol’s circle after he was
shot. I think he was making a second stab
at becoming a successful entrepreneur
through his voyeurism. I was part of The
Playhouse of The Ridiculous, a powerful
seminal queer, political, glitter glam rock
and roll theatre group. I think Andy saw in
me someone who was a rather fearless
performer but who was an ensemble player.
I would have done a lot more work with
Andy if I could have stomached the scene
around him. It was too stagnant for me.
And Patti Smith approached you and said
she wanted to be your friend?
Jackie Curtis cast Patti in his play Femme
Fatale. During the early rehearsal period,
Patti approached me with a page she had
supposedly torn out of her diary: Today I
met a girl named Penny Arcade. She is really
cool. I think she could be my friend.’
You were featured in Vogue’s 1988 People
Are Talking About issue, and it was the
first mention of performance art in a
national fashion magazine. In fact, you
were one of the few artists who created
Yes, it was an unusual opportunity to be in
... [that] section of the magazine, which still
exists. It was written by rock and roll writer
Lisa Robinson. She wrote, ‘Penny Arcade’s
performance makes Whoopi Goldberg and
Lily Tomlin look old-fashioned and tame.’
Shame since Political Correctness first
reared its judgemental head in the ‘80s,
when the Official Pride events became
more and more inhospitable to marginalised
groups such as Transgender people, Leather
Men & Dykes, drag queens etc., and wanted
the social approbation of the white middle-
class so as to be seen as ‘NORMAL.’
Even though you’ve been critical of
marriage, you’ve been vocal about
its importance in terms of achieving
real equality. What would you say to
Australia’s politicians who have still not
legalised same-sex marriage?
That it is archaic and must be changed as
soon as possible. I believe people need to
be free to do what they want and to own
their own lives. That includes marrying for
the rights and protections it gives. I am
shocked that Australia has not legalised
I love that you find ‘the laughter loophole
in every personal tragedy.’
Patti Smith wrote that about me when I was
21, and it is true that I have mediated my life
and my experiences through my humour
What would the stage play of your life be
The Broken Genius Girl Must Always Be
Sacrificed, Or The Greatest Story Never Told.
2016 Australian Tour –
LONGING LASTS LONGER
Where: The Famous Spiegeltent
When: Thursday 24th March - Sunday 3rd
April at 7pm (Sundays at 6pm)
Age suitability: Rated M
Where: Giant Dwarf Theatre - 199 Cleveland
St, Redfern, NSW 2016
When: Wednesdays 6th April - 13th April at
Being an outsider,
being different, marks
you. I was a first
Italian child. In
many ways I spent my
childhood looking in
from the outside.
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