Thursday, June 03, 2004

The Cult of No Shopping

Dear Mouse,

'Nong sey mo Sassy?

His is a cult that is not to make people religious. Read why he is called a Rev. of the Church of Stop Shopping.

Right on, Reverend Billy! Right on! The Stop Big Boxes Gospel Choir, led by a man in a hooded sweatshirt (looking suspiciously like the Unabomber) and swinging a rubber snake, launches into a foot-stomping tune. Their gold robes swaying in unison, the multi-age, multicultural dozen could give the Glide Memorial Church ensemble a run for its money in the inspiration department. The only difference: These lyrics are decidedly not about God, but about the joys of nonconsumerism. "Stop shopping! (clap) Stop shopping!" is the refrain. By the end of the song, the audience is singing and clapping along. This is what it means to get caught up in the Church of Stop Shopping -- or the cult of Reverend Billy -- a mind-bending blend of street theater, political grandstanding and performance art. (The ensemble appears at the Castro Theatre tonight.) Billy -- a.k.a. Bill Talen -- is an actor and theater producer who got his start in San Francisco in the late '70s with the Life on the Water company and the Solo Mio festival, before moving to Manhattan a decade ago. He's become known there -- since adapting his splashy, charismatic persona in 1998 -- for his commercial "interventions," going into businesses he believes are selling products that exploit workers or consumers and alerting shoppers to the sin of their patronage. His first of many arrests was at Times Square's Disney store, where he handcuffed himself to a large statue of Mickey Mouse, and was led away by police, with the statue dragging along. Talen's unique act has made him something of a media darling. He's become so popular that he almost never rests, always on the road to universities or towns that need a well-informed speaker to rail against "big box" mega-stores -- and who can be drop-dead entertaining as well. He is a curious blend of the faux and the sincere; as the Village Voice put it, "the collar is fake but the calling is real." And this cafe is only one stop in today's "walk of shame and fame," down Santa Cruz's main strip. "Children, I feel the need to go down the street to Urban Outfitters and root out more evil!" he cries, back on the megaphone. "I have a need ... to exorcise!" The followers cheer their support. Reverend Billy has already exorcised one "seat of evil" in the last block -- the Gap. Putting one hand on the cash register, the other to the skies, he howled his exhortation: "Evil money, leave this transnational chain store!" while startled patrons looking for the latest khaki pants stared in disbelief. Still, no one tried to stop him. This is, after all, Santa Cruz. And all in a day's nuttiness. In front of Urban Outfitters' double doors, the crowd gathers while Reverend Billy works up another head of steam. "What we have here is an insidious case of selling young people on the notion that if they wear something new and trendy they can change the world! Yet some of these 'hip' clothes are made by 15-year-old girls in Sri Lanka!"
This is just an excerpt of Jane Ganahl article about Rev. Billy and his crusade. Read more.

I can see lots of heretics---shop-aholic women. Hehehe

The CA t


At 5:56 PM, Blogger thepoemster said...

For what it's worth
I just gave birth
To cyber graf-fi-ti

But the poemster poems
He don't write tomes
And he's on a poeming spree

20 seconds lent
Is time well spent
And this one is for free

you've been poemed by:
the poemster

At 6:06 AM, Blogger Sassy Lawyer said...

Anak ng tokwa. Eh kung walang shopping, eh, di kailangan magtanim ng gulay at palay, mag-alaga ng manok, baboy, baka, at isda para kumain. Maghabi ng sariling tela galing sa tanim na pinya o bulak. Gumawa ng sapatos mula sa balat ng alagang baka.

Eh, hindi ganun kalaki lupa namin. Saka madidirihin ako sa ebak ng hayop.

At 6:09 AM, Blogger Sassy Lawyer said...

Ganun pa man, agree ako na hindi i-patronize ang exploitative businesses. Pero ilan sa atin ang may oras na busisiin ang history ng bawat tindahan na binibisita natin?

Siguro ang talagang dapat ay maging conscientious shopper. Buy what we need and the little things we want. Pero, yung totally no shopping, kalokohan yata yon.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Dr. Emer said...

Naku me tumutula sa itaas ni Sassy. Anu kaya ito, problem child na me massacre-tendencies din?!?

No shopping? My girlfriend will disagree. She might get depressed pa. I think shopping influences women's behavior. If you want to keep them happy, you must let them shop. It's a good example of a modern day herd activity.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger cathcath said...

In short, Doc, it is the most effective therapy for depressed peoerrrm ladies.
Talo ang prozac.

The CA t

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Dr. Emer said...

Siguro, it depens....kung alin ang mas.....cost-effective?

Me times na mas cost-effective mag-Prozac. Me times na mas cost-effective mag-shopping. Kung saan matipid, doon ako. :)

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May nabasa akong ganito somewhere: When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. :)



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