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2024 Village Awardee: Penny Arcade

Village Preservation is very proud to honor Penny Arcade as a 2024 Village Awardee! Join us in recognizing Penny and five other amazing awardees at Village Preservation’s Annual Meeting and Village Awards on Wednesday, June 12 T the historic Great Hall at Cooper Union. The awards ceremony will be emceed by legendary musician, writer, producer, and music historian Lenny Kaye, with registration free and open to all. Click here to register.

East Village icon Penny Arcade is known as “Queen of the Underground.” She says she is “fundamentally a poet,” but also sings, dances, acts, and helped define performance art in the 1980s.

Penny’s performance career started in 1968. She is known for her comedic wit, forthright delivery, and stage presence. Her performances explore topics such as gentrification, humanity, womanhood, LGBTQ+ culture, and the life of the outsider.

Her performance life has thrived in legendary downtown venues including LaMama, Playhouse of the Ridiculous, University of the Streets, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s in the Bowery, Kenny’s Castaways, Theater for the New City, The Bitter End, Barrow Street Theater, and The Actors Playhouse.

Long a friend to Village Preservation and our work to protect architectural and cultural history, we have been honored as Penny emceed prior Village Award ceremonies in 2018, 2022, and 2023. 

Penny welcoming small business owner Danilo Romero as he accepts the 2022 Village Award for Bonsignour.

In 2018, Penny sat down for an oral history with us which covers her life in New York City since leaving home as a teenage runaway and other topics such as her association with Andy Warhol, the AIDS epidemic, and her work giving voice to female and transgressive sexuality through her art.

Watch Penny speak about her life in this 2020 Village Preservation program “Penny Arcade Herself, Celebrating Her Village Preservation Oral History.”

Beyond our gratitude for Penny’s long term support for Village Preservation and all that her visionary art has done for New York and beyond, we are also thankful for her leadership in founding and stewarding The Lower East Side Biography Project.

Click here to register for the 2024 Village Awards.

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