Reverend Billy

The Reverend Billy says OCCUPY and 350.ORG—You Come Down Here and Embrace!

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This is the cover story in Brooklyn Rail

On Henry Street just uptown from Foley Square in Manhattan, there is a church called Mariners’ Temple. One Sunday we were among hundreds of folks listening while Mother Henrietta Carter preached. She stood up there, white-robed, and gestured out across the assembled faithful. “We need to see some embracing today,” Mother Carter said, and then she explained that two families were blessed just recently with newborn babies, in the same week.

She boomed out: “I want you two families—come down here and embrace each other! We’ll wait! Oh, you come down here! I know you two families been quarreling about something, you don’t speak much anymore. Oh we all know about it. Now—You come down here and you embrace each other. You bring those babies with you!”

The two families slowly came to Mother Carter and embraced. They were in tears. People called out “Praise!”

Embrace

As you see from the title of my little sermon, I am asking the people from two movements, 350.org and Occupy Wall Street, to do the same.  Read on…

Also of interest a review of Nature, the new volume in The Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series.

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Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir at REDCAT

ADDED PERFORMANCE DUE TO DEMAND

Highlighting the Alpert Award in the Arts

“It’s an Art. It’s an Act. It’s almost a Religion.” –The New York Times

In the spirit of a Gospel Revival, Alpert Award-winning artist Billy Talen takes to the pulpit as Reverend Billy, a “pop-gnostic Jimmy Swaggart,” to deliver an electrifying and poignant Obie Award-winning performance. Directed by Savitri D., Reverend Billy and the joyous 25-voice Life After Shopping Gospel Choir draw upon their “retail interventions,” staged inside Wal-Marts and Starbucks, to transform consumer nightmares and biblical narratives into an inspirational showdown. Appropriating the style of some of America’s most reactionary icons, Reverend Billy proselytizes with supreme power and delivers the tenets of his Church of Stop Shopping with such infectious passion that your experience of shopping may never be the same.

Funded in part with generous support from The Herb Alpert Foundation. The Alpert Award in the Arts, a fellowship program that supports innovative practitioners in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater and visual arts, is administered by CalArts on behalf of The Herb Alpert Foundation.

MORE: Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir | REDCAT.