Reverend Billy And The Stop Shopping Choir
Some beautiful trouble from the US - Reverend Billy And The Stop Shopping Choir. Above is the Rev. Billy doing one one of his "Freakstorms" on the New York transit systems. Below is the choir in action:
From their "About" page:
Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir is a New York City based radical performance community, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. We are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and Earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities on four continents defending community, life and imagination.
Our Devils over the 15 years of our "church" have remained the same: Consumerism and Militarism. In this time of the Earth's crisis - we are especially mindful of the extractive imperatives of global capital.
Our activist performance and concert stage performance have always worked in parallel. The activism is content for the play. Our Director for both kinds of performances is Savitri D. We have won an OBIE Award, the Alpert Award, The Dramalogue Award and The Historic Districts Council's Preservation Award (for leading demonstrations to save Manhattan's Poe House), and half of our singing activists have been jailed, most frequently during Occupy Wall Street. Reverend Billy has been arrested about 70 times.
We employ multiple strategies, including cash register exorcisms, retail interventions, and cell phone operas. Outdoors, we have performed in Redwood forests, between cars in traffic jams at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, on the Staten Island Ferry, at Burning Man and Times Square and Coney Island, and on the roof of Carnegie Hall in a snowstorm.
Our inspiration is the opening scene of Night of the Iguana, where the fulminating preacher drives his congregation out of the church and into the rain. At this time of the Earth's crisis, we must turn our institutions inside out and start over! Savitri D was the Mermaid Queen in Coney Island's 2008 Mermaid Parade.
She has a special interest, coming also from the history of her family, in the amusement culture of the place. During her reign, Coney was threatened by chain stores and hotels. Savitri staged a widely reported hunger strike in the street window of the Coney Island "Sideshow," home of the freak revue.
Under Savitri's direction, the choir has released CD's, books and TV shows, among them the eight episodes of The Last Televangelist, created with shooter-editor Glenn Gabel. Savitri co-produced with Morgan Spurlock, the 2007 film, What Would Jesus Buy? - appearing on over 100 screens nationally and broadcast annually on the Sundance Channel.
The Stop Shopping Choir is a diverse array of economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds and has members from every continent except Antarctica, which we're working on.
Among us are scientists, teachers, artists, therapists, welders, cyclists, builders, developers, hairdressers, dog walkers, actors, truck drivers, tech geeks, scholars and executives. The Choir has toured in Europe, Africa, South America and throughout North America.