The Indypendent has published a piece about the candidacy of Reverend Billy Talen for Mayor of NYC. The article includes historical notes on the Green Party of New York State; perspectives on Reverend Billy’s campaign from various green camps; the relationship of the campaign to local community organizations; and quotations from other third party politicians (including the Working Families Party.) Link and excerpts below.
A quote from the article, “Bloomberg persuades people that what is happening in this city is normal through $100 million in advertising. Something’s got to wake us up,” he says. “It might just be the comic preacher. Who could say it isn’t?”
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Mayoral Election: Can I Get an AMEN?!
By Jacob Scheier and John Tarleton / August 14, 2009
As Bloomberg and the real estate industry gentrifies the city, performance activist Reverend Billy Talen is preaching a gospel of neighborhood revival. But, is he only preaching to the choir?
Brooklyn residents had reason to pause from a leisurely Sunday afternoon in Sunset Park July 19 when Reverend Billy Talen began preaching. His bleached blond pompadour and energy made him appear significantly younger than his 59 years of age…
“Mike Bloomberg, your idea of prosperity is what we call the demon monoculture!” Reverend Billy shouted into his megaphone.
The crowd of 50 people listened as Reverend Billy finished excoriating Mayor Bloomberg, then offered a vision of a city anchored by vibrant neighborhoods free from corporate domination…
For Reverend Billy this campaign is not just political, it’s personal. “I’m running for mayor so I can keep living here myself.” This, he says, has become increasingly difficult under a development- happy Bloomberg administration, which has rezoned nearly 6,000 city blocks since 2002.
“Lots and lots of [low- and middle-income] people in New York have been moved out of Manhattan and moved out of New York altogether,” Reverend Billy says…
In tone and style, Reverend Billy is as verbose and over the top as any late-night televangelist. But he’s serious, too. As campaign Media Manager Michael O’Neil says, “the collar is fake, but the issues are real.” By putting a progressive text into the mouth of the often bigoted and conservative evangelist figure, Reverend Billy forces his audience to mix up their symbols and labels.
He is a figure straight out of the satirical novels of his friend and admirer, the late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr…
The act grew from there. In 2001, Reverend Billy met Savitri Durkee. She took on the task of producing one of his shows, and they soon married. She also became director of his performance, helping turn it from preaching with some pick-up singers into a full fledged “church” with choir and band…
In 2007, renowned theologian Walter Brueggemann hailed the zany preacher as a “faithful prophetic figure who stands in direct continuity with ancient prophets in Israel and in continuity with the great prophetic figures of U.S. history who have incessantly called our society back to its core human passions of justice and compassion.”…
The Indypendent contacted a cross-section of almost 30 progressive grassroots nonprofit groups in the city to gauge their interest in Reverend Billy’s campaign…
Reflecting on the sacrifices he and his wife have made, Reverend Billy admits he has moments of doubt about his current path. “You have to set aside doubts,” he says. “It’s kind of part of the basic requirement of this approach to living, and in that sense, it is like a faith.”
Previously, the Gothamist published a story suggesting that the Reverend Billy Talen was prophetic in his worries that Walmart might be trying to get into New York City.
(excerpt from) The Gothamist
Will Wal-Mart Roll Back In to NYC?
August 10, 2009
Earlier this year Reverend (and mayoral hopeful) Billy Talen told us, “Wal-Mart in New York City? DEVIL GET THEE BEHIND ME! As Mayor, I will take that company to the LAKE OF HELLFIRE!”…