A Great Big City

Reverend Billy Gets Punked at the Steps of City Hall

Reverend Billy in front of City Hall
Reverend Billy in front of City Hall via Erik McGregor on Facebook
Reverend Billy in front of City Hall Church of Stop Shopping sings in Zuccotti Park
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For a public figure, it’s tough deciding which events to support, and, unfortunately for NYC activist Reverend Billy, this invitation turned out to be a scam.

Reverend Billy leads the Church of Stop Shopping, which is a performance art group in the form of a gospel choir that promotes their message of anti-consumerism through fiery sermons and street performances. Therefore, it seemed appropriate that the group would be invited to perform on the steps of City Hall in support of … well, it’s not really clear – either in support of a “Friends of Lady Gaga” group or pro-marijuana legislation.

Here’s the story:

We were invited to NYC City Hall, to perform on the steps, by a representative of “Friends of Lady Gaga.” Well, the guy who called was also a marijuana activist and Gaga is known to light up on stage. So that all makes sense. I woke up Monday smiling, thinking of the thousands of impossibly dressed youth, a sea of extreme personal expression, that would greet us at noon. Only, when we showed up we find three people there, rather than Lady Gaga’s thousands.

The guy – won’t name him here – his connection with Lady Gaga must be, well, maybe he left a message on the fan club’s machine. He’s stoned. How he got a permit for the front steps of City Hall, with the police detail etc. – I’ll never know. There were four people there. Pie Man, the famous rotund yippie in the tie-die shirt and two producers from Manhattan community access television. Then a slick comedian showed up too, smoking a cigarette, his eye glancing around with dismay.

After getting punked outside City Hall, the choir headed to Zuccotti Park and performed some of their gospel songs for the lunch crowd.

Read the full details over on Reverend Billy’s Facebook page.

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