How do you feel about the changing face of the queer world?
The gay world I grew up in was a world filled with eclectic, independent thinking people who would not go for this soft skull option of the attention span of two Madonna videos.
Do you think the queer word has sold out?
The word queer now is a brand. It is a marketing term. The queer community is what it always been -“ a group of loser, deviant outsiders who don’t like being told what to do by people who come out of the closet and form committees.
Is your show Rebellion Cabaret a response to this?
This show is a lot about dealing with depression and confusion. How can you possibly be alive and not be depressed? As far as I am concerned, if you are depressed and confused, you are on the right track and you are in the right place.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Well, I am wildly accessible as I give my email and number out during my show and tell people to get in touch with me -“ it seems to keep the creeps away.
I created my show New York Values from a phone call with a guy who said he needed a Penny Arcade show as I seemed to be going thorough the same things he was going through. I think my relationship with the public is like that.
You have said America has invaded New York. What do you mean by that?
There is no mystery left in New York and the lower east side East Village where I live is holding on by a thread.
The street I live on, Clinton Street, is now the trendy fine dining destination in Manhattan, so you have Dominican kids who have not had a full meal in days lounging on cars while these oblivious people walk past them to spend $200 on a meal. It is odious.
What do you think of the current state of the US government?
It reminds me of 1984 by George Orwell -“ I read that book and it is scary. In Rebellion Cabaret, I say I thought it was a far-out science fiction book and that Orwell was a sci-fi writer.
But he was actually a respected political journalist. He was writing the book as a warning if we did not zealously guard our freedom.
You are not afraid to speak your mind in the current climate?
This kind of thinking is aimed at people who don’t want to think. All I want from my government is what I was promised from my fifth grade class. To be an American is to be able to question my government. It is un-American not to question my government.
This is your first visit since 1995’s Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! What are your memories of that MG visit?
When I came to Australia, it was the only place which had a world view, and it was a feeling of being outside. They knew life was a lot bigger than what they were dealing with.
People thought that was bad, but I thought that was great and I kept saying to them, You don’t want what is going on everywhere else. Australians have often thought they are behind when they are actually ahead.
Penny Arcade in Rebellion Cabaret plays at The Studio, Sydney Opera House, on Saturday 26 February at 8:15pm, Sunday 27 February at 7pm, Tuesday-Friday 1-4 March at 8:15pm. Phone 9250 7777 for bookings.