Sunday, June 1, 2008

Saved from Shopping by Rev. Billy

Can I hear a hallelujah? Rev. Billy preached his freakalicious gospel at the Highline Ballroom this fine Sunday afternoon, compelling all to put down their credit cards and raise their hands to heaven. That is right, children, the holy spirit was among us in the form of trapeze artists, Coney Island freaks, a talented choir in green robed glory, and a message that speared your shopaholic sternum.

Leader of the Church of Stop Shopping, Rev. Billy is perhaps best known outside NYC as the subject of the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? produced by Morgan Spurlock. But he is a staple of the New York arts and activist scene, protesting corporatization, capitalism, and commodification of our once divinely diverse city. Delivered in a Southern Baptist style, his stop the buy buy buy madness message is aimed at big business and consumers alike.

As New York City is bulldozed into just another megamall filled with Banana Republics and Best Buys, Rev. Billy tirelessly takes to the pulpit with a trinity of prayers - stop gentrification, preserve culture, and suspend your spending. The preacher strives to save your soul with a communion plate of performance art and cleverly lyric-ed gospel music. For me, it was more cathartic than any wafer and grape juice divinity I was ever served.

Catch the Rev in action at Union Square Park on Thursday, June 5 at 5pm on the NW corner. Face the Shopocalypse, confess your carnal commerce sins, and be saved!

(credit: Photo by Dogseat.)

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