The Gay Divorcees
A Valentine’s Day Listening Party
with Robbie Acklen, Lauren Bakst, Lauren Denitzio, Paul Legault, Ethan Philbrick, Ita Segev, Julia Steinmetz, Joshua Thomas Lieberman, and Ashton Young
The Gay Divorcees is a band of real-life queer divorcees, led by composer Ethan Philbrick, who have come together during a pandemic to write songs about getting into and out of state-sanctioned intimacy in the 21st century.
Throughout February 2021, The Gay Divorcees will be streaming their album of songs over the toll-free number 1-855-GAY-DIVO. On Sunday, February 14th, they will team up with the One Archives at the USC Libraries to present a remote Valentine’s Day listening party filled with performances, readings, and other surprises.
In a moment when many people are trying to figure out how to get out of situations that are no longer working or keep going after the end of something, The Gay Divorcees approach their experience with marriage and divorce as potentially instructive. Divorce your old patterns! Divorce your broken political systems! Divorce your inherited ideologies!
Robbie Acklen (performer/writer) is a photographer and sculptor born in Cincinnati. He recently began studying for his MFA from Rutgers University. Acklen attended Pitzer College in Claremont from 2008-2012. Acklen’s art has been presented at Bad Reputation in Los Angeles. Acklen performs alongside Alexandro Segade and Malik Gaines in the collective A.R.M. and has performed at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Kuir Fest, Bogota, and The High Line, New York.
Lauren Bakst (performer/writer) is devoted to practices of relation and capacious formations of intimacy that become possible in spaces of dance, performance, and poetics. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lauren Denitzio (performer/writer) is an artist and musician currently based in Los Angeles. Their visual art practice focuses on the reimagining of women, non-binary, and queer folks in their domestic spaces. Lauren is also the songwriter of the rock band Worriers, which has toured internationally with acts such as Against Me!, The Wonder Years, Julien Baker, Anti Flag, and more.
Paul Legault (performer/writer) is the author of, most recently, The Tower (Coach House Books, 2020). His previous books include The Madeleine Poems (Omnidawn, 2010), The Other Poems (Fence, 2011), The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of the Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (McSweeney’s, 2012), Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror 2 (Fence, 2016), and Lunch Poems 2 (Spork, 2018). He also co-edited The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare (Nightboat, 2012).
Joshua Thomas Lieberman (visuals) is a visual artist living and working in London, UK. Visit joshuathomaslieberman.com for more.
Ethan Philbrick (performer/writer) is a cellist, composer, and writer who uses performance and text to activate historical archives and locate new ways of being together. Philbrick holds a PhD in performance studies from New York University and is currently a visiting assistant professor of performance studies at Muhlenberg College. Recent performance works include Choral Marx at NYU Skirball (2018), 10 Meditations in an Emergency at The Poetry Project (2019), March is for Marches with Morgan Bassichis at Triple Canopy (2019), Disordo Virtutum at Museum of Art and Design (2020), and Slow Dances at The Kitchen Video Viewing Room (2020). Philbrick's writing has been published in academic journals such as TDR, PAJ, ASAP/Journal, Women and Performance, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality.
Ita Segev (performer/writer) is an anti-Zionist Israeli trans woman based between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Ita makes performances, writes, acts/performers and does cultural and community building work. Using both a multi & un-disciplined approach her work nudges people to feel, embody and imagine more fully in a world that is obsessed with confining our bodies, boarders and capacity for care. Recent credits include creating and performing her full Length multimedia performance ‘Knot In My Name’ (world premiere at Gibney NYC), acting in Shakina Nayfack’s ‘Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club’ (distributed worldwide on Audible in collaboration with Williamstown Theater Festival), performing in the U.S and international tour of 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s ‘The Fever’, and founding ‘(SPACE) For The Girls’ a residency for trans women & femmes making live performance in NYC (co-curated with David Sierra at Brooklyn Arts Exchange). IG @itaqt.
Julia Steinmetz (performer/writer) is a writer and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Performance + Performance Studies at Pratt Institute. Julia holds a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU, an MFA in Photography and Media from CalArts, and a Deep Listening Certificate from the Center for Deep Listening at RPI. Her writing is published in academic journals including Signs, Women & Performance, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, TSQ, and QED, and also appears in the edited volumes Queer (2016), Commerce by Artists (2013), and exhibition catalogues including Cassils (2015) and Cassils: Solutions (2020). She co-founded the Los Angeles based queer feminist performance collective Toxic Titties.
Ashton Young (performer/writer) is a Black Queer feminist poet, author, teacher, and tarot reader. Their work has been published in three anthologies, Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life Love and Fashion (Seal Press), All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press) and Glitter and Grit: Queer Performance from the Heels on Wheels Femme Galaxy (Portland Studio).
The Gay Divorcees have been generously supported with commissioning funds from NYU Skirball.