Welcome Church of Stop Shopping members! Thanks to Diana Graham and to the Rev., hisself for the link! Enjoy your stay and be sure to poke around the blog, and learn something new! Oh, and for those of you who do not know what classical liberalism is, learn.
Meet Reverend Billy, Spiritual Leader of the Church of Life After Shopping. And I use the term 'Reverend' loosely. Rev. Billy is an earth worshiping hippy nutjob from New York. Reverend Billy is really Bill Talen, a Dutch-American Calvinist Minnesota-born actor who moved to Staten Island New York from San Francisco in the late 1990s, where he had originally created a character that was a hybrid of street preacher, arguably Elvis, and televangelist called Reverend Billy. Now, before you condemn Rev. Billy of not being a true Reverend, hear what he has to say:
Though Talen does not call himself a Christian, he says that Reverend Billy is not a parody of a preacher, but a real preacher; he describes his church's spiritual message as "put the Odd back in God."How about we leave G_d to define himself, and we'll just call you odd?
Recently, the right Rev. has taken an interest in the strip mining operation in "mountain top removal" coal mining. Uniting his hatred for poor rural peoples, human advancement and coal mining with his righteous love for Gaia, Rev. Billy has stuck it directly to the man. Behold, the scathing rebuke of consumerism, pollution, and big business!
|Damn, JP Morgan Chase got skooled!|
Believe it or not, that's not a pile of manure, no it's mud from the injured mountain in West Virginia. Saith the might Reverend:
Mountaintop removal is 80% financed by JP Morgan Chase. My instructions don't come to me in a fevered delirium. My instructions rise simply from common sense. I live near this bank. So I go to the hurt mountain in West Virginia and take the mud in a couple barrels in my van back to the ATM lobby in New York. We wheelbarrow it through the door and the mountain grows again before the blue hieroglyphs of the CHASE letters. We sing and preach around it, sensing that the Earth is the author. Customers pause at the unexpected rocks. We are the Earth encountering the Earth.If your loony radar isn't going nutz right now, you're not paying attention.
Here is a list of Rev. Billy's adventures in 'activism':
[Reverend Billy's antics] were originally centered around the Disney Store. In one early action, Talen and his associates pretended to be shopping at the store and talking on non-functional cell phones, carrying on increasingly loud conversations about the evils of Disney and its products; once the ruse was discovered, Reverend Billy began preaching to the actual consumers until the police removed him from the store.So why the long post about Rev. Billy? This is type of person that Huff 'n Puff gives a forum as an educated intellectual. Reverend Billy is given the platform to spout his nonsense and brag about his acts of vandalism as well as call attention to how annoying he is.
The Starbucks coffeehouse chain became another frequent target of the Church's actions, due to perceptions of its displacement of local small businesses, unfair labor practices including union busting, and its role in creating what Talen calls a fake Bohemia.
On December 25, 2005, Reverend Billy and his choir performed an action at Disneyland. He led the choir down Main Street, U.S.A. singing anti-Disney and anti-shopping songs. After ignoring requests from park security to cease, an on-site Anaheim Police officer attempted to intercede and was ignored. Reverend Billy was then arrested for trespassing and resisting an officer; his choir left peacefully after that.
Reverend Billy and his choir traveled to Washington, D.C. in March 2007 to participate in an action against the war in Iraq, "Don't Buy Bush's War," organized by Code Pink Women for Peace, where they roamed the halls of the U.S. Congress preaching and singing their anti-war message. No arrests were made.
The cross-country journey that Reverend Billy and his choir made in the month prior to Christmas 2005, culminating in his arrest at Disneyland, is depicted in a documentary, titled What Would Jesus Buy? produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. The film was screened at the Silverdocs international film festival in June 2007.
"What Would Jesus Buy?" is also the title of Reverend Billy's new book, subtitled "Fabulous Prayers in the Face of the Shopocalypse," released in March 2007. The anti-consumerism message in the film has hindered its widespread distribution: in an interview published by Reuters, film director Rob VanAlkemade claimed that "major distributors have backed away because Wal-Mart pushes half of their DVDs."
On June 29, 2007, Billy was arrested on charges of harassment in Union Square, Manhattan while reciting the First Amendment to police officers through a megaphone, during the monthly bike ride Critical Mass. On July 2, 2007, Billy revisited the scene of his arrest, accompanied by a choir who sang a hymn version of the amendment.
On July 7 and 8, 2007 Billy hosted an international conference in Iceland organized by the non-profit organization Saving Iceland to protest heavy industry in Iceland and around the world.
On July 4, 2008 he met with members of the Granny Peace Brigade and Code Pink with special guest Lawyer Norman Siegel at Strawberry Fields to recite the Bill of Rights.
September 7, 2008 the group was on hand in Coney Island to perform the Last Rites for Astroland. The theme park was a cause they had rallied behind all year causing them to be nominated King Neptune and Queen Mermaid of the Mermaid Parade.
On September 18th, 2008 Billy was arrested again in Union Square Park, NYC (Despite the fact the last charges against him were dropped by the NYPD for an arrest at the very same spot). This time the group was protesting Harvest in the Square an event sponsored by Danny Meyer and the Union Square Partnership a non-profit organization that has its eyes on the Union Square historical pavilion to be developed as a restaurant. Groups fighting to keep the park public alongside the Reverend are Union Square Not For Sale and Union Square Community Coalition
Billy and the choir finished up 2008 with tours of the San Francisco area, a stop on the traveling lecture series, Democracy In America, and another trip to Iceland. During the time of year when they orchestrate their part in Buy Nothing Day, like protesting at Macy's, the group was presented with the shocking news of the death of Wal-mart employee, Jdimytai Damour. That day the group spoke about his death and the pregnant woman who lost her child in the event at Union Square Park for their Dance Your Debt Away event. Billy released an official statement to the press. The following Sunday the group traveled to the Long Island Wal-Mart where the worker died and held a candle light vigil. Billy appeared on Fox News and Savitri D. later appeared on Democracy Now to discuss the event.
The Choir celebrated the release of their latest album, The Shopocalypse, and will hold three holiday performances in New York City and have added an Hour Of Power live Sunday webcast to their programming and have also have a Dish Network tv show in the works.
On March 1, 2009 Reverend Billy announced in Union Square Park that he is running for Mayor of New York City on the Green Party ticket.
On May 31, 2009 Reverend Billy and his choir joined a procession through the East End of London alongside the Space Hijackers and Rhythms of Resistance. After first appearing in the Spitalfields Starbucks, the Metropolitan Police temporarily shut down the Starbucks outlet nearby on Whitechapel High Street after being informed the group would be heading there.
On September 24, 2009, at the 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit Reverend Billy spoke out to a crowd of reporters and protesters at Arsenal Park.
Congrats Huff 'n Puff and Rev. Billy, you deserve each other.
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