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These Artists Are Inviting You to Their Epic “Divorce Party”

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Gawd, some days I just love living here. And most especially love when I find out about a event which is just goofy and thoughtful enough to be deemed “so Bay Area”. In West Oakland, on May 6th, a group of Bay Area artists and musicians are putting together an event called “Divorce Party”. This event wants to change the way we look at divorce. It’s not just letting go of a relationship, but divorcing yourself from whatever doesn’t serve you any more.

Divorce Party! A Stardust production, hosted & created by a group of local artists and performers. Happening on Saturday, May 6th in an eclectic artists’ space in West Oakland. Tickets are sliding scale from $10-40.

Divorce Party! May 6th in West Oakland

The Story behind Divorce Party: as Told by Host, Co-organizer & Artist Maddie Stardust

“My housemate, Natalya Suttmiller, came up with the idea.
A few months ago, her dad finalized a divorce from her step-mom and she was getting a lot of the divorce debris- you know, the relationship stuff people feel weird about throwing away, but don’t want to keep. She half jokingly suggested having a divorce party & my mind started going wild with ideas. At first, I just thought of all the liberating, fuck yeah feelings surrounding a divorce & the fun things you do in the aftermath, like getting a tattoo or raging at parties or traveling the world. But the more I sat with the idea, the more I started to reflect on what the entirety of my divorce experience had been like. Yes, it was liberating & had some wild highlights. But a lot of it was marked by the feeling of uncertainty, like I was a jet plane that had launched but didn’t quite know where my destination might be, or if I’d even land on my feet again.

A feeling of being released from the bounds of old roles & identities, and searching for an identity that feels more connected to myself as opposed to another person or a job title. As I started reuniting with friends I hadn’t seen in years due the pandemic, it became clear that many of them were in a similar transition of uncertainty; ending relationships, returning to the bay after a digital nomad stint, or losing their jobs & looking for work.

The context of life in the Bay has changed over the last 3 years, and it feels like folks are ready to land & figure out where they fit in once again. We’re ready to get over this whole covid thing, like you might be ready to get over an ex, but there’s still some grieving to acknowledge and more growth to do. There’s an ever present wariness of repeating the toxic patterns of the past. Let’s be real, no one gets divorced from a healthy relationship, and once you cut ties, you don’t want to get into another cycle of abuse, whether that applies to a relationship with an employer, a romantic partner, a substance, or a social scene.” – Maddie Stardust.

Divorce Party in West Oakland is Saturday, May 6th.

Added Bonus of a Divorce Party Like This – Supporting Artists in a New Way:

So you see, this party isn’t just to celebrate the divorce from a marriage but also to divorce ourselves from any type of abuse in our lives. Maddie Stardust is looking to help artists through this event and hopefully change the patterns we’ve gotten used to seeing here in The Bay Area – like not getting pair or not being seen.

She explains, “as an artist and event organizer, one of my highest priorities in this new landscape, is to break away from the toxic patterns that exploit local artists. There’s a gross inequity here, and a culture that expects artists to create for free because it’s simply what they love to do. This feels like an immense ask, given the cost of living in the Bay. The burning man community perpetuates this culture under the guise of decommodification, which I can get on board with in theory. But in reality, it just amounts to artists putting a ton of labor into creating scenes from which someone else profits. It’s the same toxic relationship rhetoric of, “if you really loved me, you’d give your all to me, unconditionally.” I’d like to kick this shit to the curb and tell all artists, that they have immense value. And if someone is telling them otherwise, it’s time to divorce their ass!”

Divorce Party is May 6th in West Oakland

Who is involved in Divorce Party:

Several artists are participating in this event:

Maddie Stardust- organizer, visual artist & MC @Maddie_Stardust

Jill Hill ( Jill Hill is a transfeminine filmmaker and rapper. She is a member of Surge Media Collective in SF and has most recently been one of the producers on an upcoming web sries starring Mike Evans Jr. called Rent Check. She will also be releasing a short film later this year titled Kill Your Landlord.)

Audrey Zigmond: organizer, performer & MC @audmadame

Tapper Dan: Jonathan Devoto, tap dancer & musician, @Jon.tapperdan.devoto

Audrey Peluso: visual artist @_audball

Joey Walsh: tattoo artist @dirtbag_tattoos

Talmirage: Nate Salman & Raphael Travacca @talmirage

GIG ECONOMY: Eric Michaud & Nick Federoff (DJ’s)

Baby Kates (Katy Mendez) @_babykates_

Natty lite: Natalya Suttmiller @ntylite

Diraj Korwani @musical.miraaj

Can you get a ticket?

Well, this isn’t as easy as most events to go to Divorce Party. If you’d like to go (and it sounds like it will be worth the extra work to get a ticket), I’d suggest reaching out to Maddie Stardust. “For the protection of our artists, we’re not publicly disclosing the event page. Celebrating divorce has been a bit triggering for some folks, and we’ve already gotten some hate mail from vengeful ex’s who don’t understand satire and clearly have no sense of humor. For this reason, we want to be sure that these characters don’t know the exact location of the event so everyone involved can feel safe in our space,” explains Maddie Stardust.

Any more Divorce Parties in the future?

There is no plan to have another Divorce Party like this one but Mattie Stardust does organize other events like Hella Handmade which will likely come back in the fall for another event. 

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Katy Atchison

Katy Atchison

Katy is a professional smiling machine raised in The Bay Area since the age of 3. While other kids were attending summer camp & soccer practice, she was raised selling wares at craft shows with her working artist parents and spent vacations in a small 1920s Montana log cabin. This has all given her a unique perspective on the ever-changing texture of San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area. Currently a blend of all that is The Bay Area - she's a web designer at a tech-company, artist and DIY teacher.