Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year of Music & Work in Review

Looking back on the 2015 Summer/Fall zine tours & toward what lies ahead

What a wild year! I spent the first half of it dreaming and conspiring to begin pursuing this project on the relationship between music and work. And then on May 21st, it became more than just a day dream: I gave notice at my job, announcing that I would be spending the Summer on tour with the zine I was still in the process of writing. On June 4th, I launched a fundraising campaign to make it all happen and I haven't looked back since.

Now it's time to look back. The following is an overview of The Music & Work Project, of everything that happened in the second half of 2015 as I traveled all over the United States exploring the role that music plays in our working lives...

Matt Dineen speaking at Interference Archive in August 2015. Photo by Josh MacPhee


June 4th
The Music & Work Project was officially launched with the aforementioned IndieGoGo campaign. The goal of the fundraiser was to publish my zine Not for You: Stories of Music & Work from the Precarious Service Industry and to cover the travel costs of the Summer tour through the Midwest and back. In that initial pitch, I explained:

"I believe that looking at the realities of wage labor through the lens of music has the potential to   heighten our understanding of capitalist society - and hopefully illuminate possibilities beyond the current economic system. And unlike existing academic and corporate research on music in the workplace, my exploration will be from the bottom up; from the eyes and ears of actual workers."

And I added that the goal of the tour was: "to listen to the experiences of other people around these questions. What kind of role does music play in your working life? How has this changed since the first jobs you ever had? I want to hear your story."

July 4th
Thanks to the support of my amazing friends and family I was able to raise $1,300 and spend most of July on the road, doing zine readings and facilitating discussions about music, work, capitalism, and liberation.

July 9th
The first event of the tour was the launch of the Not for You zine at Wooden Shoe Books & Records in Philadelphia.

July 10th
The following night was a zine reading and discussion at The Soapbox: Community Print Shop & Zine Library in West Philly.

July 14th
The Music & Work Project summer zine tour kicked off with a presentation and discussion at the Smithsonian Folkways in Washington, DC.

July 16th
Zine reading and discussion at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse in Baltimore, MD.

July 17th
Zine reading and discussion with Philip Mittereder from Madhouse Publications in Pittsburgh, PA at Babyland artist studios.

July 19th
Zine reading and discussion at The Birdsell Project artist residency in South Bend, IN.

July 21st
Zine reading and discussion at Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative in Madison, WI.

July 23rd
Zine reading and discussion with musical guest Sean Bremhorst at Plain Talk Book Store in Des Moines, IA.

July 26th
Zine reading and discussion at the Garden of Wonders on Racine in Chicago, IL.

July 28th
Zine reading, discussion, and open mic/couch at Adeline, Inc. in Duluth, MN.

July 29th
Zine reading and discussion at Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis, MN.

August 7th
Zine reading and indie rock show with Didi, Grist, and Jamboree at the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA.

August 9th
Presentation and discussion at the Haybarn Theater, Goddard College in Plainfield, VT.

August 18th
Zine reading and discussion with writer Cassie J. Sneider at Bluestockings Bookstore in New York, NY.

August 19th
Zine reading and discussion at Interference Archive in Brooklyn, NY in conjunction with their exhibit "If a song could be freedom...Organized Sounds of Resistance."

Garden of Wonders on Racine (in Chicago). Photo by Kelly Berry


October 12th
Reading and discussion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Interview for Anarchy on Air on WESU 88.1 FM.

October 15th
Presentation and discussion at Emerson College in Boston, MA.

October 23rd
Presentation and discussion at the Smithsonian Folkways in Washington, DC.

October 25th
Reading and discussion at the Duke Coffeehouse in Durham, NC.

October 27th
Reading and discussion at Firestorm Books & Coffee in Asheville, NC.

November 4th
Workshop, reading, discussion, and presentations at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL.

November 11th
Reading and discussion at Bellocq in New Orleans, LA.

November 15th
Panel discussion with Young Workers United at the Howard Zinn Book Fair, City College of San Francisco Mission Campus in San Francisco, CA.

November 18th
Reading and discussion at Interzone, Inc. in Corvallis, OR.

November 23rd
Reading and discussion at Reading Frenzy in Portland, OR.

November 25th
Reading and discussion at Left Bank Books in Seattle, WA.

December 5th
Zine reading and dance party at University City Arts League in Philadelphia, PA to benefit the Soapbox Community Print Shop & Zine Library.

Not for You on the Justseeds table at the 2015 Pittsburgh Zine Fair. Photo by Julia West


27 events later, the future of The Music & Work Project is boundless. This Winter, I plan on writing another zine reflecting on these two tours. I will also be announcing a call for submissions for an anthology--collecting stories of music and work from all different types of job experiences. And there is also a podcast in the works for 2016. So many possibilities ahead!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who donated to the summer fundraising campaign, organized an event, and fed or hosted me while I was traveling. None of this would have been possible without you.

Happy New Year and keep up to date with the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Matt Dineen