The Earth Wants YOU

The Earth Wants YOU is a motivational handbook and album, meant to inspire people to challenge the consumerism, racism and militarism that are killing our planet. Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping offer up a DIY spirituality for activists, a heady mix of humor, insightful critique, passionate commitment, emotional catharsis, and example after example of creative, joyful, Earth-inspired direct action. Stop shopping and feel the love as you sign up for the struggle of our lives! 

Read the first three chapters! Buy the book at City Lights. Listen to the album.

"You must check out the newest from my favorite transcendent and down to Earth preacher." — Laurie Anderson, musician

The Earth Wants YOU is a motivational handbook for earth activists, filled with inspired visions of a wild, creative, Earth-led cultural revolution. Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping offer up a heady mix of humor, insightful critique, passionate commitment, emotional catharsis, and example after example of vibrant direct action. Stop shopping and feel the love as you sign up for the struggle of our lives! Earthalujah!

"Singing instructions for joining the Earthalujah choir!"—Jodie Evans, CODEPINK

"My Earthmojis are smiling for Reverend Billy! And that's all the dirt you're gonna get from me. O;"—Justin Vivian Bond,trans-genre artist, Radical Faerie

"Mama Earth will shake us ALL off unless we shake shit UP and shut it DOWN!"—Bertha Lewis, The Black Institute

"This is what makes social movements succeed—it's the big love-slog we have to go through to achieve change."—Andy Bichlbaum, The Yes Men

"Join Rev and his merry band of activists as they imagine ways of arousing concern for the environment and racial justice."—Coco Fusco, creator of Eu Sou Um Consumidor

"When the singing activists hit the high notes in a bank lobby or a DARPA lab or the back aisle of a Walmart, they wipe away the veils hiding the madness of our corporate-controlled, consumer-crazed society."—Annie Leonard, director of Greenpeace USA

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Levitating the de Young Museum

The Church of Stop Shopping has come to believe that it is critical to levitate the de Young, and is sending its senior pastor, Reverend Billy Talen, to do this important work.  He will preach on Wednesday noon, April 20th in front of the museum. At 7:00pm, he will read from his new book, The Earth Wants YOU, at City Lights, 261 Columbus Avenue.

deYoung-Museum.-Photo-courtesy-cisl.edu_2.jpgHere is the Reverend’s invitation:

Children! 

The de Young was constructed to resist levitation or flight of any kind.  Many of the museum’s trustees and donors insist that the building should not fly or float or make any move at all.  And yet, it is generally acknowledged that in this time of apocalyptic weather, increased tremblers and tsunamis, long distance desperate migrations of plants, animals and humans – and outright extinction – it is no longer realistic to assume that the building won’t move at all.

Indeed, the institution’s big donors make the world outside the museum – levitate!  Fossil fuel investors take key roles in the de Young, as they do in art museums throughout the West.  The extracting  and emissions of burning, the flooding as plastics, fluids and gasses that persist in the soil and water and air…  The world is in flames from the careers of the wonderfully dressed grandees at the de Young parties.  The monumental pillar of the museum seems to give “society” a place that they don’t believe is in fiery motion. 

Now the intransigence of the de Young has a new bulwark against the accelerating capital that shreds every thing outside.   In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, the museum admits that it is drenched in Monsanto’s RoundUp, with its carcinogenic toxin “Glyphosate.”  Look at the map.  Undoubtedly families are covered with the stuff as they walk away from an afternoon of culture.

Our church researchers suggest that there is a sort of death-wish here.  The museum seems to be telling us that now we can ignore our own impending extinction in an artistic way.  Since the Earth’s crisis was brought about by the investments so gratefully cultivated by the museum, it appears that “art” is a distraction arranged by our own executioners.

On Wednesday the 20th, do we want to levitate the museum or ground it?  It is the park, which is a kind of art exhibit featuring the Earth – that must save us.  

Rev Billy & the Stop Shopping Choir performed against the Koch brothers and their $100m gift to Lincoln Center.  Two of them were arrested.  They have exorcised the oil money from the Tate Modern, both in London and Liverpool.   Working with BP Or Not BP? the church gave an unasked for concert in the BP-sponsored British Museum.

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Poison Parks Journal #3

march31.jpgI wore my long johns so that I could sit in the Tombs, a cold jail even if its 70 degrees on the surface.  So I had my baptist hanky out right away as we approached the front door of the Central Park Conservancy – that dabbing off of sweat only made me seem more like a wearied-by-the-spirit preacher.  Then as we walked up to the billionaire’s club – a surprise - the police and well-dressed security types, faded away.  This made me sweat just a bit less.

It showed us that in the billionaires part of town, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue on 60th Street, the police work for their overlords.  In another part of town the cops will walk by the crowd and the Stop Shopping Choir and push me over and hand-cuff me.  Then I’m led away while the choir sings our gospelized version of the 1st Amendment.  This has been going on for 15 years. 

But yesterday I remained free under the CPC’s “martyrdom management,” – a more nuanced approach by the marketing department of the very rich.  We began to sing and shout about poisons in the parks, starting with “Monsanto is the Devil,” from our new record.

Yesterday was about secrecy… the secrets of modern personal fortunes.   Yesterday was also about the secrets of poisons dispersed in nature, that nature being the Central Park foliage and lawns and promenades.

High society New York style, of course, must have secrets.  The castle has a wraith of mist, with the princess swirling briefly by a high window.  That’s the classic cover of those bodice-ripper books that after-work nurses read on the subway.  Funny how the cheapest pop culture can accurately catch the essence of the modern governance…

This is essentially the Central Park Conservancy’s presentation to the hoi polloi, and to the ten singers and Elvis impersonator dogging their doorway with the Tiffany glass awning.  We look like a subway car of people who stumbled into the rich part of town, but we ara a threat.  Our little theater company’s lawyer has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the NY Parks Dept that is well-made and legally binding.  We demand to know when and where of the spraying by the city of Monsanto’s carcinogenic herbicide “RoundUp” is incomplete. The city showed us where the poisons were sprayed on the African and Hispanic citizens, the working poor and new immigrants – but where the rich live in Manhattan and in Brooklyn around Prospect – we got big blanks.  The conservancies refused to cooperate.   They should have given us the information last October.  Our map on the website Revbilly.com has a Joker-like question mark on Central Park.  Secrecy.

The largest gift the park ever got came in 2012 from John Paulson.  The gift was a cool $100 million.  Paulson is a god of secrets.  He used the credit default instruments invented by Blythe Masters at JPMorgan Chase, to “short the housing market.”  Let’s say that again.  Paulson created hedge funds where he and his speculators could take bets that the housing bubble would burst.  He made  $4 billion that year as millions of families lost their homes.  He made a market that was secret because he invented it, a definition of the waves of absconded wealth in recent decades. 

So we sang and shouted for a couple hours.  My sermon was all about secrecy.  The bullhorn made nice echoes in this canyon of billionaires.  The snuck in an out of our harmonies.  We tried to give them information on the sidewalk but they scurried off.  Savitri got into fascinating conversations with clumps of lunchtime workers, who drifted near us, smoking and smiling – but maybe not quite clapping or shouting Earthalujah!

They will privatize this sidewalk as soon as they can, I suppose. Meanwhile the laws of the land reach this far: shouting citizens in the doorway.  We’ll be back.  And of course they know that – because the police being there as we arrived indicated that they had read our emails.  

Concservancy people – listen to me.  If we’ve been sprayed by RoundUp, a carcinogen that is banned in scores of countries.  And insiders in the Parks Dept. have whispered to us that we have been sprayed by the stuff…  we need to know about it.  The rich can’t keep secrets.

Photo by Kate Bingham

           

 

 

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