Merry Christmas, Rev. Billy: Performance Preacher Hosts Poe Service Dec. 16

News   Merry Christmas, Rev. Billy: Performance Preacher Hosts Poe Service Dec. 16 What else says Christmas more than a reading of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"?

What else says Christmas more than a reading of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"?

A lot, actually, but to radical preacher and performance artist Reverend Billy nothing else will do for his Christmas show, playing Dec. 16 at the New School's Tishman Auditorium. This time, the Obie-winning author actor has New York University in his Stop Shopping sights and nothing - not even holiday cheer - will stop his message.

New York University is planning to raze the Poe House, where the American poet completed "The Raven" in 1845, in order to build a new law school building. Reverend Billy and others have been protesting the destruction in the style of his "shopping interventions" at Starbucks and the Disney Store for several months.

The Dec. 16 service will feature Reverend Billy regular events - credit card exorcisms, comic sainthoods (this time bestowed to Jane Jacobs and author E.L. Doctorow), confessions of consumer consumption, Readings of the Word (anything from back issues of Mad Magazine to Walt Whitman) and a performance by the 20 voice Stop Shopping Gospel Choir with soloist James Solomon Benn and the band "Quite Frankly."

Following the message, titled "Rising From the Dead With Eddie P," Reverend Billy will lead the congregation on a walk from the Tishman Auditorium to the Poe House on 85 West 3rd Street. There the Reverend will hold a ritual reading of "The Raven." With his Church of Stop Shopping, Reverend Billy's projects have included the Starbucks assault Starbucks Out of Hell's Kitchen, the famous Disney Store tirades and events at the Brooklyn Museum, Esperanza Garden, RTMark and on streets and sidewalks across the city.

Tickets are $10. The New School's Tischman Auditorium is located at 65 West 12th Street. For reservations, call (212) 229-5488.

— By Christine Ehren