Reverend Billy Talen Fundraiser
Draws Congregation of San Francisco Supporters

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in Arts/Entertainment, Culture, Events, News, Politics

Published on July 22, 2009 with 4 Comments


A fundraiser was held yesterday in San Francisco
for Reverend Billy Talen of the Church of Life After Shopping.
Talen, a Green,  is running against Michael Bloomberg for Mayor of New York City.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

July 22, 2009

An entertaining fundraiser was held for the Reverend Billy Talen of the Church of Life of After Shopping in San Francisco last eve.

A man on a mission spreading an anti-corruption/corporate/consumerist gospel, Fog City native Talen is challenging billionaire Michael Bloomberg for the mayorlty of New York City.

“The corruption we have in New York City is the same as the corruption we recognize everywhere,” Talen told a packed congregation during a 27-minute sermon at the DNA Lounge.


Praise be…

Earlier in the day Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi honored Talen during a Board of Supervisors commendation ceremony, proclaiming July 21 “Reverend Billy Day.”

Talen is “a satirical genius with a very prophetic message who has very brilliantly applied his craft to helping others, especially in the high citadel of our global free market system in New York,” Mirkarimi said.


Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (right) with Reverend Billy and Alix Rosenthal.

An activist and a community leader, Talen “has worked for more than a decade to keep New York City’s diverse neighborhoods healthy, safe and vibrant. He has joined forces with communities and grassroots organizations across the world, promoting sustainability and economic justice, and defending public space, neighborhoods, self-determination and the right to earn an honest, independent living,” according to his campaign website.

Talen’s activism includes opposing the privatization of public resources, anti-labor initiatives, racial profiling and discretionary police enforcement. He has also campaigned against gentrification through displacement, is a defender of local business development over big box retail chains, and a vigorous supporter of sustainable communities.  He routinely includes singing a recitation of the Bill of Rights during sermons.

In 2000, Talen correctly predicted a monolithic economy driven by Wall Street and corporate profits would ultimately collapse.

Organized by Andy Blue, Marnie Glickman and Ken Masters, last night’s fundraiser included entertainment by DJ Smoove, Esmerelda Strange, Loyd Family Players, Miss Rosie and Friends, The Bombshells and The Cheese Puffs, and was attended by Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly as well as several candidates running for elected office including Eric Smith (District 10), Debra Walker (District 6) and Michael Goldstein (Community College Board).


The Cheese Puffs


The Bombshells


Miss Rosie


Loyd Family Players


Esmerelda Strange


Supervisor Chris Daly


Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Alix Rosenthal and Jordanna Thigpen,
who told FCJ she will not run for District 6 Supervisor.


Reverend Billy with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (right) and Luke Thomas.
Photo by Alix Rosenthal

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7×7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Mary L.

    I just wanted to say that I went to see Rev. Billy because I support his anti-corporate, anti-consumerism gospel/campaign. So, I was surprised and dismayed at some of the entertainment. That is, “The Bombshells” and “The Cheesepuffs.” Why were these considered appropriate? In both, it seemed to me we were served up the same old packaging of women into tight bikini-like outfits to “shake their butts” on stage. Weren’t we there to say no to the packaging and commercialization of life as the dominant way of relating to each other?

    Not far from where the event took place on 11th Street is the Tenderloin where women, often from abusive backgrounds and without a lot of other resources, are earning their living by “shaking their butts,” having sex with men they don’t know, etc. Our city has also been and may very well still be a site for sex trafficking. Our country is the main destination of the huge sex trafficking worldwide network. It seems naive and even dangerous to ignore the implications of bringing “women as flesh to be consumed” onto the stage even if the intention was parody, which for only a small part of either act did it seem that.

    Women have a right to express their sexuality and sensuality in any way they wish. Commercialization of women’s sexuality is a denial of it, just as packaging life is a denial of life. As Audre Lorde writes in “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” “But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling.”

    Mary La Mattery

  • GenaD

    I agree with you Mary, but I imagine the Bombshells/Cheespuffs like to call it artistic expression.

  • cat r

    wow! that’s quite a stretch — going from a group of gals doing rockettes-style dancing to pornography! and sex trafficking!!! as the founder/choreographer of one of the dance troupes and the asst director/choreographer of the other, i must say i am just sitting here laughing at the ridiculousness of the assertions. i have worked in local politics, and i’ve studied more than my share of feminist theory, so it’s not like i don’t fully understand the very real issues you reference in the second paragraph… IMHO, the opposite is going on. what we do IS in fact very empowering for us (not to mention tons of fun to do), and your incredibly puritan response calling us “flesh to be consumed” (LOL!!!) is the damaging stuff. i guess any expression that celebrates sexuality, sensuality, and fun must be bad then??? jeez, what does that leave us with?? not much in the dance world that’s for sure – dance is at its core inherently very very sexy – it’s bodies moving, courtship rituals, sensuality, expression, play, physical mastery, rhythm, release…. i grew up training to be a professional ballet dancer, and some of the things they had me doing and wearing at age 12 were light years sexier than what you saw me and my closest gal friends doing on stage. is your idea that if there is any sexuality in female art that it is automatically disempowering? because after watching my best friends transform via the time they have spent on the stage the past year and a half, i couldn’t disagree with you more. i could agree with you however when you say women have a right to express our sexuality and sensuality in any way we wish. i would suggest you take your anger out on actual issues – a dance performance celebrating women, politics, and yes even sensuality is not an appropriate target. we certainly are having too much fun to stop what we are doing!

  • Daniele E.