1-855-GAY-DIVO: Leaving Messages for The Gay Divorcees

1-855-GAY-DIVO: Leaving Messages for The Gay Divorcees  with Lauren Berlant, Elizabeth Freeman, Jules Gill-Peterson, Tavia Nyong'o, Ann Pellegrini, and The Gay Divorcees

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.

For the weeks surrounding Valentine's Day 2021, The Gay Divorcees have been streaming an album of songs over the toll-free number 1-855-GAY-DIVO. This event marks the final days of their telephonic performance by assembling a panel of queer theorists -- Lauren Berlant, Elizabeth Freeman, Jules Gill-Peterson, Tavia Nyong'o, and Ann Pellegrini -- to respond to the project in the form of critical interludes.

The Gay Divorcees are Robbie AcklenLauren BakstLauren DenitzioPaul LegaultEthan PhilbrickIta SegevJulia Steinmetz, Joshua Thomas Lieberman, and Ashton Young. For more information about the performance, visit www.divorcee.gay.

Panelist Bios:

Lauren Berlant is George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Chicago. Their recent books include Cruel Optimism (Duke UP, 2011), Desire/Love (Punctum, 2012), Sex, or the Unbearable, with Lee Edelman (Duke UP, 2014), and The Hundreds, with Kathleen Stewart (Duke UP, 2019).

Elizabeth Freeman is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. Her books include The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture (Duke UP, 2002), Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Duke UP, 2010), and Beside You in Time: Sense-Methods and Queer Sociabilities in Nineteenth-Century America (Duke UP, 2019). 

Jules Gill-Peterson is Associate Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Jules is the author of Histories of the Transgender Child (Minnesota, 2018) and currently at work on a book project entitled Gender Underground: A History of Trans DIY.

Tavia Nyong’o is Chair and Professor of Theater & Performance Studies, Professor of American Studies, and Professor of African-American Studies at Yale University. His books include The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009) and Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (NYU, 2018).

Ann Pellegrini is Professor of Performance Studies and Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. She is the author of Performance Anxieties: Staging Psychoanalysis, Staging Race (Routledge, 1997); co-author, with Janet R. Jakobsen, of Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance (NYU Press, 2003; Beacon Press, 2004); and co-author, with Michael Bronski and Michael Amico, of “You Can Tell Just By Looking” and 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People (Beacon Press, 2013).

*** The Gay Divorcees are generously supported by commissioning funds from NYU Skirball.