Reverend Billy: You don’t get this on the Circle Line Tour!

Reverend Billy

Zoom! Zoom!  Let’s jet over to Manhattan for a visit with NYC’s Reverend Billy (Billy Talen) and The Church of Life After Shopping.  Reverend Billy’s entertainment is better than a loaded MasterCard…it’s priceless.

Here’s some footage from a recent Reverend Billy “Stop Shopping” get together.

That was so much fun, how about a smidgen more?

In 1996, Reverend Billy established The Church of Life After Shopping. He “preaches” the overriding theme that consumerism is overwhelming our lives.  His shtick is fashioned after the old southern revival meeting adorned with a 34-member gospel choir and 8-piece band.  He encourages his congregation to frequent local independent shops vs. large chain stores and carries a special loathing towards Starbucks.

Reverend Billy often uses the term gift economy.  I had no idea what a gift economy meant so I did a little research.  Gift economy is people giving products and services to others for no explicit rewards.  Your neighbor shares the fruits of her garden. Another bakes bread. Yet another provides plumbing services. All this given without expected compensation. The “rub” for Reverend Billy is that the US market economy lives and dies on consumerism.  Where’s the love in that, children?

Naturally, Reverend Billy is a defender of the first amendment since his performance relies on freedom of speech.  In fact, on one occasion in Union Square, he was arrested while reciting the First Amendment to the police over a megaphone. Now that incongruity should make you smile.

News flash! The good Reverend is running for mayor of New York City. I’m sure Michael Bloomberg is shaking in his boots Italian A. Testoni’s.  At least Reverend Billy has the nomination of the Green Party and a spot on the November ballot. That’s more than Mr. Bloomberg can attest to.

If a trip to NYC is in your future, visit Reverend Billy’s website at for his scheduled appearances. This is a must see.

Anyone with the motto  “put the Odd back in God” has my vote!

Put the Odd back in God

Put the Odd back in God


Filed under Walk NYC

7 responses to “Reverend Billy: You don’t get this on the Circle Line Tour!

  1. John Bradford

    Not a true citizen of NYC but a convert to, The Reverend. He is a grand part of Save the City. NYC has become my favorite city to visit and Billy is just one of the many, many, reasons to spend as much time as possible in NYC.
    The wonderful old building in the background of the film was/is part of the adjacent park and the city fathers decided to sell an area large enough for yet one more pizza shop. The Reverend tries to save the city form the money changers. Great!!!! Go to NYC and you too will love it.

  2. Gadabout Girls,

    This was interesting to read. You have so many pieces of information. I like your designs, very colorful.

    This seems like a renovative idea-Shop after Church.

    What does the preacher preach? Is he in New York?
    I like the title of your Blog.

    Good luck. Keep blogging.

    • Reverend Billy’s agenda is to raise the level of political consciousness. He is a NYC transplant. Thank you for visiting. Visit often. Save time and effort… subscribe!

  3. Linda

    Ah, this is what I miss most about NYC (yes, I’m a native New Yorker.) It’s the street scene– the vibrant, larger than life characters that populate so many areas of this great city and make any walk an adventure. Thanks to your blog for introducing me to the Reverend Billy, I’ll have to search his whereabouts and catch a sermon the next time I’m back home.

    • The beautiful thing about Reverend Billy is how he seamlessly merges entertainment and political edginess. He is sincere about his cause which makes the experience that much more magical.
      Thank you for your comment.

  4. Annie,
    Reverend Billy performs every year at the Burning Man festival. Burning Man is the epitome of a gifting economy. He is the first artist to be openly political at the event and yet the Black Rock Arts Foundation gave him a large grant for his efforts.
    I hope Reverend Billy will continue to join the Burning Man community every year and return to NYC as Mayor to spread the spirit of a gifting economy into the general population.
    Go REV!

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