With the Disney store gone from 42nd Street but the emergence of a new "menace" a block away on Eighth, Off-Broadway's minster of Stop Shopping has moved his ire from the Mouse to the coffee bean. His newest church service-theatrical protest piece, Starbucks Out of Hell's Kitchen, will run May 18-21 at the Theater at St. Clement's. As usual, the Macky Dees Gospel Choir will accompany the service. Starbucks spawned from an April preach-a-thon, where the Reverend attempted to visit all 101 Starbucks franchises on Manhattan island. His stated protest is against the destruction of community and small business coffee shops and for fair payment for the farmers growing the coffee.
For this sit-down service, Reverend Billy's special targets will be the Starbucks on 47th and 9th Avenue and the one on 49th between 9th and 10th Avenues, both of which he sees as dangerous to the neighborhood's classic coffee spots, The Coffee Pot and The Galaxy Cafe. These shops will be awarded sainthood in the Church of Stop Shopping at the service.
Future anti-Starbucks rants are planned for Park Slope and Astor Place in upcoming weeks.
Tickets for Starbucks Out of Hell's Kitchen are $15. The Theater at St. Clement's is located at 423 West 46th Street. For reservations, call (212) 358-5181. Reverend Billy is on the web at http://www.revbilly.com.
-- By Christine Ehren