Reverend Billy

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Performance Picks: Comedy, New Theater, and Reverend Billy on Sunday


(image via NYTW / Facebook)

Slave Play
Now through December 30 at New York Theater Workshop, 7 pm (some shows at 8 pm or 2 pm): $29

In a recent interview with Out magazine, playwright Jeremy O. Harris says he explains Slave Play, his new play at New York Theater Workshop, to prospective audiences as such: “It’s a slave play; there’s a history of them; go see mine.” If that sounds vague, it’s meant to be; he notes that audiences will experience the play best when they go in knowing as little as possible. What you can know is that Harris has been gaining traction and acclaim over the past few years for his work, which presents a refreshingly and unapologetically queer, black addition to the theatrical canon, which has a long history of being (and remaining) quite the opposite of that.  Keep Reading »

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Rev. Billy: Stop ‘Lining Up For Cupcakes’ and ‘Switch Allegiance to the Earth’

The new book from Reverend Billy (Image courtesy of Rev. Billy)

The new book from Reverend Billy (Image courtesy of Rev. Billy)

“Have you been to one of our shows lately?” Reverend Billy asked me. The answer was– no, I have not. Not ever. In my chat with the eco-activist, author, and radical preacher who “prays to life on earth,” I was curious to know what in heaven’s name a Reverend was doing on the calendar at a Bushwick DIY venue like Market Hotel. But Billy’s explanation brought everything together for me. “They’re a little like mosh pits,” he explained. “It’s a punk gospel for life. It’s a laboratory for getting going again.”

A teaser like that is hard to turn your back on, and so is the Reverend’s larger environmental message: consumerism and “nation-state allegiances” stand in the way of our relationship with the Earth. As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, there’s a new kind of urgency to changing our ways, and Reverend Billy believes that calls for physical, direct action are the only way to foment radical change. But when he’s not putting his body on the line to preach against the further slaughter of the earth, the Reverend is hosting shows like the one happening this weekend at the Market Hotel. “I’m trying to preach here,” he said, exasperated. “And along with the choir, we’re trying to inspire activism in our audience.”

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