Amen to be reckoned with
The Reverend Billy is back, saving your soul from Disneyfication, downtown high-rises, the corporatization of the mind, shopping-mall culture and the Antichrist.
By ROBIN EISGRAU
(Originally reviewed during "Reverend Billy's Spring Revival," March 2001.)
The Reverend Billy is on a crusade to save the civic soul of New York
City. He's aghast at the Starbucks sitting on every corner, Barnes & Noble
encroaching upon independent bookstores and mass media shrinking the
collective mind. He's had the guts to preach about needless consumerism in a
Disney store, and these Sunday services located in the rent-escalating
neighborhood of NoHo mix entertainment with a sense of social urgency.
The cloth that Reverend Billy (aka Bill Talen, a New York based writer and actor who is a
faculty member in the New School's graduate media-studies program) is cut
from isn't exactly ecclesiastical but he utilizes the trappings of a revival
meeting to address community matters.
|REVEREND BILLY'S SPRING REVIVAL|
|Cast: Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, includes Bill Talen, Mother Dee Spencer.|
Related links: Official site
The night I attended, the topic at
hand was the struggle between WBAI and Pacifica. On a stage decorated by
crucified Mickey and Minnie Mouses and after the lively Stop Shopping Choir
led by Mother Dee Spencer sang "Shop No More," Rev. Billy (introduced as
the man who put the diss in Disney) came out and talked about the history of
WBAI for a bit and then he and the chorus recited the "We Believes," a
litany of tenets including "We believe that something will happen,
somebody will do something, before every fucking inch of New York is like the
Mall of America."
Passages were read by choir members of writings by Mumia
Abu-Jamal and Naom Chomsky. Audience members were asked to hold their credit
cards in the air and have them exorcised. Embattled WBAI personalities Amy
Goodman and Bernard White were inducted as saints.
Even if organized religion
gives you the heebie jeebies, the Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel
Choir have the capacity to stir the soul as they fight the good fight.
Upcoming Sunday night topics included the Hudson River park scam, a luxury
tower set to be built on Ludlow Street and the East Village franchise-free zone.
|MARCH 21, 2001|
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