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"Unions Make Us Strong" Tour Song and Lectures at WIU Oct. 6-7

September 29, 2009

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"Cultural Workers" Add Classroom Presentations; Other Programs Oct. 6-7

MACOMB, IL - - Two activist folksingers who call themselves 'cultural workers' are scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6 in Western Illinois University's COFAC Recital Hall, located in Simpkins Hall. They will visit WIU classes the next day.

Anne Feeney and David Rovics' fall tour of the Midwest is called "Union Makes Us Strong."

Feeney, a former civil rights lawyer and founder of a rape victims' advocacy group, has previously appeared in Illinois at labor-backed cultural events, progressive venues such as Chicago's Heartland Café and union struggles, such as the early '90s "war zone" in Decatur (IL), where Staley, Caterpillar and Bridgestone/Firestone locked out workers or forced them to strike, according to news accounts of the time.

The granddaughter of a union organizer and folk singer, Feeney's ( recordings include "Heartland," recorded live at the annual Mother Jones banquet in Springfield, and 2008's "Dump The Bosses Off Your Back."

Rovics' CDs, such CDs as "Living in These Times" and "Halliburton Boardroom Massacre," are available online.

Despite their musical similarities, Feeney and Rovics stand on different sides in regard to downloading and electronic commons issues. They will debate their opinions in Mass Media Law at 11 a.m. (Oct. 6) in Simpkins Hall 214. Rovics' article on the controversial Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) cases is available at

"Rovics is a journalist [and] a self-taught writer," said Barr. "How interesting that in a time of waning journalism revenues and audiences to have international recording artists fulfill the relatively recently lost role of 'foreign correspondent.' Rovics' online blogs are just that good."

Barr added that journalist Amy Goodman calls Rovics, "The musical version of Democracy Now."

Besides contributing to publications such as Alexander Cockburn's CounterPunch newsletter, Rovics also has appeared on stage with the likes of Billy Bragg, Danny Glover and Susan Sarandon, and next spring he is scheduled to tour with Danbert Nobacon, the former member of Chumbawamba. (See

Both Rovics and Feeney have been praised by Pete Seeger, among others, and are regular, front-line performers at such political spectacles as the G-8, G-20 and the School of the Americas protests. Feeney's voice can be heard at the start of the 'Battle in Seattle' documentary "This is What Democracy Looks Like." Both artists appeared at the recent G-20 in Pittsburgh.

Their visit is sponsored by the University Theme Committee; Visiting Lectures Committees; Feminist Action Alliance; WIU Women's Center; the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs; University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100 (WIU); and the departments of English and Journalism, African American Studies and Women's Studies; and the Social Concerns Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Macomb. Western's First Year Experience Committee is encouraging participation as well.

Feeney and Rovics will also perform at a benefit for WIU Campus Greens at The Café, 8 West Side Square (21 and over only) at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 6).

For more information, contact Barr at (309) 298-1514 or e-mail

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