Arts - Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, Arts Centre, 25th October 2017

New York’s award-winning wild, anarchic anti-consumerist gospel shouters and planet-loving urban environmental activists return to the UK, spreading the word of Earthelujah!

Hallelujah!  Your saviour is at hand. If you’re concerned about global advertising, multinational control, climate change, the threat of nuclear war, supermarket domination, and all the constant controversy caused by the US President’s outpourings, this is for you. If you’re not, this is REALLY for you!

Award-winning wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and planet-loving urban activists Reverend Billy Talen and the Stop Shopping Choir return to the UK for a whistle-stop Trump Depression Hotline tour. They’ll be spreading the word of Earthelujah and encouraging us all to join the struggle to avert the threatened Shopacolypse. Expect humour, great music and exorcisms at the Tesco tills!

The Church of Stop Shopping is a New York based secular political religion founded in 1999. Their performances in concert halls are directed by Savitri D, who co-founded the ‘church’ with Talen in the months after 9/11. The Rev has an advice column in a New York newspaper called ‘Trump Depression Hotline’ – and this effort to bring mindfulness and hilarity to these dark times became the name of the UK tour. ‘We gotta love everybody and show them we care ‘til they can’t Trump anymore’ he says.

"Talen’s message resonates with the words W. H. Auden wrote on the eve of World War II… 'We must love one another or die."'  Village Voice

Reverend Billy is an actor, performance artist and activist who began his experimental preaching in Times Square in 1994. Soon singers were accompanying his ‘retail interventions’ inside chain stores, principal targets being Disney, GAP, Nike, and Starbucks. He is legally banned from every branch of Starbucks in the USA and the coffee giant has issued a memo to its managers ‘What should I do if Reverend Billy is in my store?’

Rev-Billy.JPG#asset:2843

The Church of Stop Shopping hold ‘services’ wherever they can, in theatres, churches, community centres, forests, parking lots, shopping malls, and perhaps most importantly, inside stores, as close to the cash register as they can get, within spitting distance of the point of purchase. 

Since Trump, the Frankenstein of shopping culture, won the election, the church has been a repository of community anguish. The choir has opened for Neil Young, been produced by Laurie Anderson, and hosted a Black Lives Matter benefit with Joan Baez as well as hosting their own parades, boycotts, and protests – all whilst singing multiple harmonies. To date they have performed in, and Billy has exorcised cash registers in, over a dozen countries and four continents. 

Catch the exuberant, empowering show tomorrow night at Colchester Arts Centre. Book here. See you there! (And can I get an Amen?!)