Love is Rad – Rev Billy @ Union Square Park

15 02 2009

Reverend Billy, Savitri D., and their Choir at Union Square Park on Valentines Day, 2009.


Reverend Billy & Savitri D. know how to throw a good party. Members of their choir, followers of their movement, and members of divergent, but connected causes came together to celebrate the love of radical activism at the historical Union Square Pavillion.



“Come to church,” Billy beckoned to a large group. “Your favorite , comic, post-religious, church of life after shopping.”  Billy perused the crowd with his bullhorn in hand “Let’s have a Love-A-Lution, Children,” he said. “What did Jefferson say? In a free society you’ve got to have a little love-a-lution every once in a while.” 

“Lets all make love today. Twice – 3 times, until our pavilion can no longer be an upscale restaurant,” he said referring to the battle to keep the landmark of the labor rights movement, free from commercial use. “We’re so proud to be here with the eight our work day,” he said. 


He also referred to the church as the church of the first amendment saying they had read it allowed there before and made reference to historical figures like Emma Goldman and Cesar Chavez who have spoken at the Pavilion. 

“Remember the freedom fighters that were here. We sing and preach here in their honor.” Billy said of the Pavilion “It will be here for our children and our children’s children.” 

Edie Shankar attended on behalf of Jack Taylor, member of the Union Square Community Coalition, and was honored with valentines, a calendar from Savitri D., and praise for their work to preserve the site. 

Peter Silvestri, the owner of the Whole Earth Bakery, was honored and 3280213212_6ab7025c5f_m2asked to speak. The Rev said of a fight they’ve waged for the bakery, which has been in business for 20 years, was “nothing but doom and gloom,” and that it would only be replaced by “another dark yuppie bar that looks like a magazine ad.” “It’s a miracle,” he said of the success of the advocacy for the bakery, “Two years and Peter is still there.”  Silvestri echoed the Rev. and stated that they were operating on a month to month basis, but that they’re still in business and that’s the bottom line. 


3279106681_1a8c3783e6_mUp next was a statement about the cyclist group Critical Mass with Billy stating that the “NYPD has fetishised,” but asserting that “Critical Mass never hurt anyone.” The Rev & Savitri are “proud supporters of Critical Mass,” and honored Barbara Ross of Times Up! who introduced their “Love your Lane” campaign. A member of the choir read a poem, Ode To A Beautiful Cyclist, to Ross “Time is up for this love affair with gas guzzling machines!” referring to her as a “…humble angel of a woman.”

Talk turned to Mayor Bloomberg with Billy stating a “3rd term can’t be bought.” He said that Bloomberg is a CEO who thinks NYC is a corporation and Savitri D., priestess of the church, echoed “It’s not!.” The couple recently addressed, again, the rumour Billy may run for mayor in their latest Hour Of Power broadcast (Tune in tomorrow Sunday the 15th at 1pm for the next installment). Billy is in talks with the Green Party and has blogged about his vision for his candidacy. 

Also honored were the owners of Blue Stocking Books.3279475155_cb3b144939


Finally the Reverend performed a marriage ceremony for a beautiful couple. “We are here today as witnesses,” said the Rev. The groom stated that the couple while “Exercising our freedom of speech,” “I vow, to you, my life long love.”  Tears filled the man’s eyes, the Rev comedically mediated the ceremony, and a genuine celebration of love, devoid of corporate culture, united the crowd who was asked to hold the person next to them. Whole Earth Bakery presented the bride and groom with a cake much to the groom’s delight “It’s organic!”


The group will be touring prisions in the city shortly before their first show of the year at the Highline Ballroom in March.




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