Bill Talen/Reverend Billy is a “new kind of American preacher”, who began his career in 1994 in New York City as an experimental preacher on the sidewalks of Times Square. With the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir he has staged “Retail Interventions” in chain stores, the GAP and Starbucks. Under the direction of Savriti D, the Reverend and Choir have toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe and beyond. The Church of Stop Shopping has spearheaded numerous campaigns, including preserving public space, defending the First Amendment, and supporting fair trade. Reverend Billy is running on the Green Party ticket as a mayoral candidate for New York City.
In this interview the Reverend tells us how he embarked upon his current career, the evolution of audience response to his message, and why he is banned from Starbucks throughout the world.