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The Marsh is Proud to Present Penny Arcade’s New York Values, an Autopsy on the Death of Bohemia

“Bourgeois and Bohemia are two entirely different value systems,” says Penny Arcade. ”You can no more be a bourgeois bohemian than you can be an atheist catholic."

San Francisco, CA, November 07, 2009 --( The Marsh is proud to present Penny Arcade’s New York Values, her autopsy on the death of Bohemia. The show engages the concepts of individuality and rebellion in a world that currently markets what she considers the corrupt idea of Bourgeois Bohemia. “Bourgeois and Bohemia are two entirely different value systems,” she says. ”You can no more be a bourgeois bohemian than you can be an atheist catholic. New York used to be the Mecca for the misfit. Now it's filled with college students pretending to be writers, painters, poets, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, junkies, whores and weirdos. In other words, the ten most popular kids from every high school in the world are now living in New York! Those are the people that most of us who moved to New York came here to get away from.”

The show plays for three performances only on Friday, November 20 at 8:00 pm, Saturday, November 21 at 5:00 pm and Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 pm at The Marsh San Francisco Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia Street. For tickets, the public may call Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006 or visit

A runaway at thirteen, a reform-school graduate at sixteen, a performer in the legendary New York City Play-House of the Ridiculous at seventeen and an escapee from Andy Warhol’s Factory at nineteen, Penny Arcade emerged in the 1980s as a primal force on the New York art scene and an originator of what came to be called performance art. Miss Arcade’s brand of high camp and street-smart, punk-rock cabaret showmanship has been winning over international audiences ever since.

New York Values is about the complex tapestry of art, criminality, rebellion and iconoclasm from which the great tradition of the 'underground’ is woven. "The underground is inviolate,” she says. “It is not a street, it is not a place, it is not a neighborhood. It is a metaphysical space. It is where Bohemia intersects with the demimonde, the criminal world. If you do not have a functioning criminal class in your art scene, you have academia. And while academia is a reflection of the art world, it is not, and never will be, the art world.” The show uses the fragmented, disjointed vocabulary of today's culture. Music, movement and frequent dance breaks intersect with crackling observations about the current commoditization of rebellion and an exploration of the nobility of failure in a society obsessed with youth and success. ‘I am an artist in decline,” she says. “Soon, at some point, all of you will be in decline. Just as the rose blooms, so it starts to fade. It’s okay. That’s the way it works. You see, I never thought that I was going to end up like all the artists I grew up knowing – incredible geniuses who lived and died in poverty and obscurity. I watched all these amazing artists go into decline, so it's not a problem: I am primed for failure.”

An emotional, informative, interactive piece of theater, Miss Arcade’s improvisational performance uses storytelling, monologues, music, rants and dance with the aim of eliciting a sense of freedom & individualism in the audience itself.

The script for New York Values was recently published in the journal Performance Research, Volume 14, Issue 1. In his introduction, editor Stephen Bottoms wrote, “New York Values explores some of the consequences of that neglect and amnesia in the early twenty-first century – mercilessly attacking, among other things, academic forms of performance study that consider themselves transgressive and ‘avant-garde’, but which, in their lack of historical awareness, simply end up reinventing the wheel. Academia, Arcade suggests, may simply be a cog in the technobureaucratic machine that is rapidly erasing and forgetting what little is left of New York’s alternative cultural and literary traditions.”

The first book by Penny Arcade, “Bad Reputation,” was published by Semiotexte/MIT Press this fall. Three complete scripts, “Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!,” “La Miseria” and “Bad Reputation” are accompanied by a new interview with Penny Arcade by Chris Kraus, a range of archival photographs of the East Village scene and Arcade’s performances, an introduction by playwright Ken Bernard and contributions by Sarah Schulman, Steve Zehentner and Stephen Bottoms. Miss Arcade will be reading from Bad Reputation in San Francisco at City Lights Bookstore on November 17th.

For this performance at The Marsh, she will be joined by Steve Zehentner, her long-time collaborator, who will create a live sound score that will have you rocking in your seat.

For Calendar Editors

When: Friday, November 20 At 8:00 Pm
Saturday, November 21 At 5:00 Pm
Sunday, November 22 At 3:00 Pm

Where The Marsh Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia Street @ 22 Street, San Francisco

Tickets: $15–$35 sliding scale
For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or visit

For more information, call 415-826-5750 or visit The Marsh website at
For a high-resolution downloadable press image, please visit: the media page at

Contact Information
The Marsh
Diana Rathbone

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