The Lower East Side Biography Project
excerpt from 28 minute biography
Steve Zehentner: Producer, Co-director/editor, Director of Photography
Betty Dodson is a sex educator, author, and artist. Dodson held the first one-woman show of erotic art at the Wickersham Gallery in New York City in 1968. She left the art world to teach sex to women. She is widely known as a pioneer in women's sexual liberation, having sold more than 1 million copies of her first book, Sex for One. Much of her fame has come from her work not only advocating masturbation, but conducting workshops for more than 30 years in which groups of about 10 or more women (and at least once a group of men) would talk, explore their own bodies, and masturbate together.
The Betty Dodson Biography was produced by The Lower East Side Biography Project and was edited and directed by Anna Wierzbicka and Steve Zehentner in collaboration with Penny Arcade.
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 will help 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 forty 28-minute biographies, videotaped dozens more interviews and live events.
The completed biographies are cablecast and streamed live every Monday at 11 p.m EST on Time Warner Cable Channel 34 and on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Community Channel One.
View the current livestream and cablecast schedule on the project's Facebook page.