GENTRIFICATION OF THE MIND with Sarah Schulman and Penny Arcade

A Lower East Side Biography Project Program

Steve Zehentner: Producer, Director of Photography

GENTRIFICATION OF THE MIND: Penny Arcade and Sarah Schulman both tackle gentrification head on, no more so than in Arcade’s award-winning new show Longing Lasts Longer, and Schulman’s seminal book Gentrification of the Mind (Witness to a Lost Imagination) within which she recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement of New York vanished almost overnight to be replaced with gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism.

For the first time ever Arcade and Schulman partake in an onstage conversation filling it with vivid memories of the AIDS years (1981-1996) and the downtown NYC arts movement of that time. Interweaving personal reminiscence with cogent analysis, Arcade and Schulman bear witness to the loss of a generation’s imagination and the consequences of that loss.

The conversation was filmed November 11, 2015, for Penny Arcade and Steve Zehentner’s New York video oral history project,The Lower East Side Biography Project.

GENTRIFICATION OF THE MIND Produced by Jeremy Goldstein for London Artists Projects in association with Soho Theatre and Attitude Magazine as part of a series of talks and events to celebrate the London premiere of Penny Arcade Longing Lasts Longer
Creative Consultant Steve Zehentner
Videographer Souleyman Messalti Soho
Sound Technician Paolo Carlotto
Longing Lasts Longer DJ Dawn Amber Harvey

The Lower East Side Biography Project was created in 1999 by performance artist Penny Arcade and video producer Steve Zehentner as an ongoing biography series and oral history archive. The LES Bio Project’s biographies and archive work to ensure that future generations have access to the mad souls of invention and rebellion that built the Lower East Side’s international reputation as an incubator for authenticity and iconoclasm in art, culture and politics.

The project seeks to stem the tide of cultural amnesia by bridging the cultural gap between long time residents and newcomers to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side. To this end, the LES Bio Project has a community-media training component where young filmmakers are trained in production and post-production technologies and then become shepherds of an individual oral history that they edit into a 28-minute biography. Since its inception, the LES Bio Project has trained over forty individuals, completed over sixty 28-minute programs, and videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.

The completed biographies cablecast and stream live every Monday at 11 p.m EST, in Manhattan on Time Warner 34, RCN 82, FIOS 33, and live stream on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.

View the current cablecast and livestream schedule on the project's Facebook page.