Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir to Bring THE HONEYBEELUJAH SHOW to Joe's Pub, 5/4-6/22
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir, who first rose to international attention for their music-based consciousness-raising about consumerism, have turned their attention to big corporations' role in climate disruption. New York City's singing activists will perform The HoneyBeeLujah Show-in which they take up the "Big Ag" complex of mono-culture farming, with the Honey Bee, one of its victims, as the Choir's animal guide- May 4 - June 22 at Joe's Pub at The Public (425 Lafayette St, NYC).
The HoneyBeeLujah Show will run for eight consecutive Sundays at 2pm. Directed by Savitri D., with Music Director Nehemiah Luckett, the performances will feature the 40-member Stop Shopping Choir, fronted by their eco-televangelist, Reverend Billy, and accompanied by the five-piece Not Buying It Band. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.joespub.com or 212.967.7555.
Adorned and accompanied by hundreds of Honey Bees handmade by Savitri D. and the Choir, the activist-performers will conduct numerous "swarmings" in and around the property of Monsanto and Bayer, Home Depot and Lowes-the corporations that drench the land with bee-killing pesticides and GMO crops. They will preach and sing in the lobbies, parking lots and restaurants of these companies in advance of, and during, the run at Joe's Pub.
The upcoming Joe's Pub engagement follows their sold-out 2013 holiday season run at the prestigious venue, which, along with performances in bank lobbies and New York courts, decried lending institutions that are financing resource-extraction and are, by extension, responsible for climate destruction. With bees as their new inspiration, Reverend Billy's "post-religious" church joins a worldwide movement already in motion.
He explains, "Protests against the killers of our crucial pollinating collaborators are everywhere, from Perth to #10 Downing Street, and yet the effort to save the Honey Bee-now reduced worldwide by about half-is weak enough for Monsanto to continue its junk science assault on the beekeepers. Monsanto denies its pesticides are killing the bees and has even hosted a "Bee Health Summit." Meanwhile, they are trying to create a "Robobee"-to pollinate the crops with drones. This calls for some radical theatrics! Get ready to swarm!"
In their shows at Joe's Pub last November and December, and in non-violent bank lobby actions leading up to those performances, the singers inhabited the character of the Golden Toad, a small amphibian forced into extinction by extreme climate change in Central America in the late 80s. For one of these performances, at a JPMorgan Chase location on September 12, 2013, prosecutors demanded a year in prison and $30k bail for William Talen (aka Reverend Billy) and Nehemiah Luckett. The 15-minute performance earned criminal charges of "Riot," "Menacing" and "Unlawful Assembly." Those charges have been dropped, but the trial continues. The defendants are pleading innocent of all charges, including trespassing and unlawful assembly. As Reverend Billy says, "Radical choirs need to sing in big bank lobbies!" In 2014, the choir will buzz in and around the New York City headquarters of the Big Ag complex: Monsanto, Bayer, Cargill, Merrill Lynch, Blackstone, Archer Daniels Midland and others.
The Choir's 2013 performances at Joe's Pub and in bank lobbies were part of a national tour, during which The Huffington Post wrote, "Few souls are blessed with proper amounts of spunk and Earth-justice panache as Reverend Billy. And even fewer of them have the ability to spawn a successful tour that raises the level of awareness about the link between big banks and the eroding environment. But leave it to this eclectic performing artist/preacher-so robust, so postmodern-Elvis-and his passionate posse to artfully descend upon the masses with something so distinctly one-of-a-kind."
About Reverend Billy: Reverend Billy has won an OBIE Award, the Alpert Award, The Dramalogue Award and The Historic Districts Council's Preservation Award (for leading demonstrations to save Manhattan's Poe House), and has been jailed more than 50 times. He was a central figure of Occupy Wall Street and toured 25 OWS tent communities from Zurich to Oakland, CA with the Stop Shopping Choir. He has run for New York City mayor on the Green Party ticket. Reverend Billy has released three CDs, three documentary films, published two books, and produced eight 28-minute television shows as part of the The Last Televangelist, broadcast on the cable channel Free Speech Television. Savitri D and the Reverend are frequent guests of news media, having appeared on The Today Show, CBS Evening News, Nightline, Fox News, Al-Jazeera, Glenn Beck, Hannity & Colmes, Democracy Now, NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Marketplace," Geraldo Rivera, CNN, The Tavis Smiley Show, The BBC World Service, BBC 1 and numerous other local and regional affiliates and International print outlets.
About the Stop Shopping Choir: The Stop Shopping Choir is an all-ages, 40-member singing group, under the direction of Savitri D, with musical director Nehemiah Luckett and lead singer Laura Newman. The choir represents a diverse array of economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds and has members from every continent except Antarctica, which they're working on. Among them are scientists, teachers, artists, therapists, welders, cyclists, builders, developers, hairdressers, dog walkers, actors, truck drivers, tech geeks, scholars and executives. The Choir has toured in Europe, Africa, South America and throughout North America. They are the subject of Morgan Spurlock's second feature film, What Would Jesus Buy?
About The Church of Stop Shopping: The Church of Stop Shopping is a New York City based radical performance community, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. They are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters and earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities on four continents defending land, life and imagination from reckless development and the extractive imperatives of global capital. They employ multiple tactics and creative strategies, including cash register exorcisms, retail interventions, and cell phone operas. They are entertainers and artists, performing regularly throughout the US and Europe. Over the years of church service-like shows - Reverend Billy has canonized Joan Baez, Kurt Vonnegut, Justin Vivian Bond, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Tim DeChristopher, Bertha Lewis, the Yes Men, Dr. Benjamin Barber and Jennifer Miller the Bearded Lady into "Fabulous Sainthood" in the Church of Stop Shopping.
About Joe's Pub at The Public: Joe's Pub at The Public is one of New York City's most celebrated venues for emerging and established performance artists. Named for Public Theater founder Joe Papp, Joe's Pub debuted in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public's mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe's Pub presents talent from all over the world as part of The Public's programming downtown at its Astor Place home, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually. The diverse roster of programming featured at Joe's Pub includes top performers from Broadway, cabaret, dance, world, jazz, country, and indie genres, as well as New York Voices, its commissioning initiative. Joe's Pub also collaborates with other Public Theater programs to present events such as the Under the Radar Incoming series and the Public Forum lecture and debate series. The New York Times has praised Joe's Pub as at the "nexus" of "a downtown axis of clubs whose performers gleefully fuzz the boundaries between old and new, and between pop, rock, jazz, rhythm-and-blues, swing, country, world music and performance art."