When Jobless planned to release its new album, Attitude Adjustment, the trio decided to throw a fundraising event for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, a variety show including performances by the Romero Theater Troupe, the Black Actors Guild, and like-minded musicians in Total Goth and the Milk Blossoms. The event will also include arts and crafts and the usual band merchandise for sale, with all proceeds going to the nonprofits.
Westword: The name Jobless seems significant, given that you graduated from college during very unusual economic times and a period of diminished expectations.
Jackie Hay: We graduated and thought, what now? What do we do with our lives? I feel like it was us making fun of ourselves, from a sarcastic angle.
Jeff Koehler: We made three songs, intending for it to only be fun. None of us had a job at the time the summer after college.
In The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan refers to “the problem that has no name” to refer to the sense that middle-class women of her time were getting an education and doing nothing with it and had been given unspoken expectations of having a personally fulfilling future to look forward to. It seems that the concept would resonate for a lot of people in our culture, college-educated or otherwise.
Koehler: When you're in school, it feels great because you're surrounded by people thinking about the same things that you are all the time. It seems realistic that you can, for instance, work for an archive. I applied for those jobs, but no calls back. You feel so good in college, but once you get out [it's a different story].
Hay: Academia is so much different from real life. In college, you're surrounded by intelligent people and being taught by intelligent people. In every class, you're so enthralled. Then you graduate and you think, “What happened?”
Koehler: Applying for jobs and explaining my concentration to people and being told, I don't know what that is – which was gentrification and urban renewal. I got into an argument in a job interview with someone asking if I have a problem with private business.
Hay: In interviews, you almost have to act like you don't believe in what you're passionate about in order to get a job.
You could have had just an album release. Why this kind of event?
Hay: Almost everyone we know is sad and anxious now because of the political climate. We felt it would be kind of selfish to have an album release just for us. We wanted to include everyone we know that's talented, and come together as a community and celebrate together.
Koehler: I like to go to shows, and we have friends in other bands. But oftentimes, it's a show with four bands of all men. That's just the way it generally skews. We thought, maybe it would be cool to break it up a bit and have bands we know that aren't just straight guitar rock and, “We're men! Let's rock it!” I'm not giving people who do that a hard time. But why not reach through the avenues of people doing cool things and say, let's do this thing together instead of four bands eight to one a.m.?
Why ACLU and Planned Parenthood as beneficiaries? What do they do or in which capacity do they operate that might not be as readily appreciated?
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Hay: Planned Parenthood has been under threat – more so now with the new administration. It has resources for everyone: women, men, youth. It's also been such a source of empowerment for so many women. You can get education about your body in a culture where they don't provide that information to women, or it's with negative stereotypes. The preventative care and [sexual-health services that are so important as well]...
Koehler: I thought I might go to law school, like every other person in the political science department. Reading on the Supreme Court, I kept seeing the ACLU coming up so much and how they were involved in some landmark cases. The first I remember seeing was the Scopes Monkey Trial. Then being involved in Brown vs. Board of Education. More recently, they have applied those principles regarding targeted killing and drone strikes — things we've committed ourselves to being against but still conduct.
If we did another show like this, we might pick another couple of organizations that are more local. But these two I have known about and have supported since becoming politically aware and seeing their impact. We're not going to raise a million dollars, but maybe we can all get together and say it's good that these people are here. Let's try to keep them here.
Jobless, with the Romero Theater Troupe, Black Actors Guild, Total Goth and the Milk Blossoms, 7 p.m. Friday, April 14, Mercury Cafe, 303-294-9281, $10, all ages.