Jun 07 2011

The Reverend Billy Project – New Book About to be Published

Our good friends, Reverend Billy and Savitri D, from the Church of Life After Shopping!, are about to release a book that covers the last few years of their work, includes campaigns in NYC and around the world, including Iceland, organizing they have done with many of you and stories from the field. The book, titled The Reverend Billy Project: From Rehearsal Hall to Super Mall with the Church of Life After Shopping, will come out this summer and on June 13th, Reverend Billy, Savitri D. & The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir will perform “radical fun, fresh musical offerings and damn the mono culture polemics” in Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, New York.

In July 2007 Reverend Billy and Savitri D joined Saving Iceland’s international conference, titled Global Consequences of Heavy Industry and Large Dams, which Billy presided. A few days later Billy, Savitri and Saving Iceland exorcised heavy industry in Iceland during a ceremony in shopping mall Kringlan, Reykjavík. A year later Billy sent Saving Iceland a letter, inspired by his participation in 2007, which can be read here.

In a press release from University of Michigan Press, the new book’s publisher, says:

Reverend Billy, the revivalist preacher created by performance artist Bill Talen, has attracted an international following as he has railed in white suit and clerical collar against the evils of excessive consumerism and corporate irresponsibility. In his early solo performances in Times Square he delivered sermons by megaphone against Starbucks and the Disney Store; as his message and popularity spread, he’s been joined by a 35-member choir (the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir) and a 7-piece band. The group’s acclaimed stage show and media appearances (including a major motion picture, What Would Jesus Buy?) have reached millions.

The Reverend Billy Project presents backstage accounts of recent performance actions by Reverend Billy and the troupe’s director, Savitri D, recounting their exploits on three continents in vivid narratives that are engaging, shrewdly analytical, and at times side-splittingly funny. We watch as the group plans invisible theater interventions in Starbucks, designs a mermaid hunger strike to thwart gentrification plans for Coney Island, and makes an extended effort to preserve the public nature of New York’s Union Square. We follow them to an action camp in Iceland and a flop of a show redeemed by a successful impromptu demonstration in a Berlin shopping mall. As thoughtful as they are funny and inventive, Reverend Billy and Savitri D’s story-essays bring to life a playful yet sincere new form of political theater.

Like said before, the book release party will take place on June 13th at 7:00 PM, in Housing Works Bookstore & Café, 126 Crosby Street, New York City, NY.

Read more about Reverend Billy and the Church of Earthalujah! here.

The videos below are from Billy and Savitri’s visit in Iceland; the first one is a TV news-clip from the ceremony in Kringlan, the second and the third are from the above mentioned conference in July 2007.

2 Responses to “The Reverend Billy Project – New Book About to be Published”

  1. Dear Saving Icelanders.
    Writing from Germany – at the end of a 9 city tour with our radical gospelers the “Earthalujah Choir.” And Savi (now we have a 15 month old daughter Lena, along on the trip!) and I were saying how much the Iceland trip changed our lives, fills us with memories – and wished we could come with our singers this time!
    Our chapter on Iceland we humbly submit to you in gratitude for your graciousness toward us. We hope it displays an understanding of your time and place and suggests some activist approaches. I know my essay, which spins from my words at our climate camp with you in 2007 – I go off into boyhood memories of Crazy Horse. That’s what the magic of Iceland does to me! Amen!

  2. Thanks for the kind comment Rev Billy. Iceland will always hold a special place in its heart for you too. x