Joni Renee Whitworth (Portland, OR): Self-Defense
Joni is a magic-maker, a mover and shaker, and responsible for some of the coolest events and work happening in Portland. If you haven’t heard of Future Prairie — get Googling! Her work in under-represented communities services creatives of different abilities, races, gender identities, national origin, religion, and age. Her personal poetry work has been published; her writing has appeared across the country, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her to our Risk/Reward stage!
Self Defense is a passionately-spoken, poetic, slow-moving song and dance, looking at the world through an autistic lens. This stands in juxtaposition to the most commonly-known cultural narrative of autism, which is that of Rain Man – weird and quirky. Many types of people are autistic, and there are dozens of unexplored elements of autism, areas that may be not related to math or memorizing facts but details that are more generous, emotional, or sensual. Self Defense speaks to how Joni navigates being in public, being employed, and being in relationship with family, friends, in love, and more. Through this piece, her engagement with nature, and man-made systems and structures, shed light on cultural issues of exclusion.
Joni Renee Whitworth is an artist and writer from rural Oregon. She has performed at The Moth, the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa, California, the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn in partnership with the Morpheus Youth Project, and the Museum of Contemporary Art alongside Marina Abramovic. Her writing explores themes of nature, future, family, and the body, and has appeared in Lambda Literary, Eclectica, Pivot, SWWIM, Smeuse, Superstition Review, xoJane, and The Write Launch. Her poetry chapbook, Your Full Real Name, was published in 2017. Joni is the creative director and podcast host of Future Prairie.