Monthly Archives: December 2010

Not Exactly Preaching to the Choir: Can a Climate Activist Convert Immigrant Advocates?

Rev. Billy + choir via

I caught a rather unusual double-marquee performance art extravaganza last weekend starring art world darling Guillermo Gomez-Pena and actor/activist Rev. Billy of the Church of Life after Shopping.

Have you hear of the phony reverend? His real name is Billy Talen, and his is not religion-as-usual. He does have a terrific choir, though, filled professional singers and actors. I caught their act at a conference against mountaintop removal coal mining earlier this fall. The audience of mountain activists couldn’t get enough of Billy’s spoofy evangelism and responded with appropriately-churchy conviction.

Last Friday night at  Gala Hispanic Theatre, the reception wasn’t quite the same from the largely Gomez-Pena inspired crowd. They clearly enjoyed the Mexican/American/artist/activist’s observations, mostly on the sorry state of the country’s immigration debate. He didn’t have much of anything to say about the environment or our unsustainable consumerist ways, Rev. Billy’s two big issues. And Talen, looking very much “the white man” (even whiter than most in his impeccable suit and mane of frosted hair) steered far clear of the immigration divide.

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