Resistance & Connection through Performance Art

Whoopee! A Sex-Positive Variety Show has been an idea I have had in my brain for a while. Portland is a city full of many talented artists, musicians, dancers, comedians, and performers of all types. It is also a city that is generally very sex-positive and open-minded. So, I wanted to find a way of joining communities together and showcasing sex-positive Portlanders expressing themselves through music, comedy, dance, storytelling, and other performance art.

Since Whoopee! was conceived a while back, I admit that I didn’t think much about if or how the results of the election would impact the show. However, these past few days have been full of heavy emotions. Our community is reeling. Many of us feel fear, rage, sadness, panic, and helplessness.

We already know that even with more legal rights and protections for LGBTQI citizens over the past few years, queer people are still being discriminated against and assaulted. We know trans women (especially trans women of color) are still being murdered. We know that even with a black president in office, black lives are being ended by state sanctioned violence. We know that, to the most powerful people, money matters more than anything – more than the environment, more than clean drinking water, more than innocent lives.

Even though we recognize that we have made major progress in some areas, we also know that there has been a lot of hateful and scared pushback. Under a Trump presidency, who knows how life will be in the United States.

With all of these thoughts running through our heads, it is a difficult time for many people right now. Yet, I see my community reaching out to each other, offering support, banning together, protesting, raising voices and raising funds. I see anger (and I share in those feelings of anger) and I see it getting channeled into resistance. It is inspiring at a time where we all need as much inspiration as possible…and that got me thinking more about my variety show, and how perhaps it could play a role in giving folks another way to express defiance and feel connected to one another as a community. Music and art has always played a role in politics and protest, and has helped people cope, and I want to provide a platform for that locally.

I am still holding auditions 11/13-11/19 for Whoopee! and am still looking for sex-positive entertainers (storytellers, musicians, dancers, comedians, poets, performance artists, etc.) for the show. However, I also encourage other people to audition who feel called to express who they are in a place that is safe and supportive. This is especially true if your voice is one that has been historically silenced and/or that you fear will try to be silenced more in our near future. Whoopee! started out as a fun way to show off Portland’s sex-positivity and diverse talents, but now it is also an event for our communities to join together and be unapologetically ourselves in the wake of everything that has happened this year.

I read this quote on Outsports after the Orlando nightclub shooting in June and I find myself coming back to it now:

We cannot let fear overcome our community’s collective courage. We must continue to use our own voices and our own stories to inspire courage in one another. Every time we choose to be our truest, most visible selves, we shine more light on the darkness.

To be part of the show, please email me at amoryjane.edu@gmail.com

If you would like to attend the show, tickets may be purchased here.

A limited number of free and sliding scale tickets are available for those who would like to attend but do not have the funds. Please email Amory Jane to ask about discounted tickets. For those who do have the funds, extra tickets may also be bought during the check out process and will be donated to those can’t afford to attend. Thank you. <3

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