Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Village Voice: Power Plays:

At the Church's debut show on August 6, mall reps became alarmed that Billy and company were encouraging audience members to sneak postcards about the clearcutting campaign into the panty stacks of the Seaport Victoria's Secret store, located barely 50 feet from the back of the Spiegeltent. Theater director Savitri Durkee was called outside by an irate producer, and the choir missed its cue and began singing in the midst of Billy's sermon.

Durkee says they were warned to nix their plan to have lingerie-clad drag queens bearing cardboard chainsaws flounce around the beer garden. "So we stopped the show and started a town hall meeting about freedom of expression, supermalls, and how they imitate the communities they take over and ground the life out of them," says Reverend Billy, a.k.a. performance artist Bill Talen.

Spiegeltent producer Vallejo Gantner, who's also the new artistic director of P.S. 122, concedes he and his co-producers may have "panicked" a bit, but insists neither they nor the mall folks threatened to curtail the Church's performances.

"Everyone thinks it's a great show, we just wish they'd be good neighbors and not attack one of the tenants in the mall," says Gantner. He confessed to being unaware that Reverend Billy has an ample history of stalking the "bra pushers," notably at shareholder meetings and at the brand's 10th anniversary runway show at the Lexington Armory last November.

3:04 PM