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Reverend Billy

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The Singing Manifesto (Dedicated to Joan Baez)

Posted: 07/31/09 08:09 PM ET

We are all erotic politicians. We use our bodies to break into public space. Then we open our mouths. It's what people do who know how to control powerful institutions while standing on the ground outside. Here in the Apple, we are warming up our voices, growing the volume of our voices from the nature of our grand, funky bodies. Why? Our city is corrupted now. So we are preparing a singing revolution against it. We're getting back to the sensuality of our citizenship, Amen?

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We hear a radical sing-a-thon that rattles the windows of the $100 million campaign in City Hall. We see the city's conscience rise like a crowd singing the First Amendment before the high-rise money has passed under the table. The mayor gets a worrying memo in his jet over the Atlantic. The clowns and poets and freaks of Coney Island are singing the luxury hotels into the ground. Hell's Kitchen is singing back the mayor's shopping-and-football mall and Brooklyn harmonizes behind the solo arias of Jane Jacobs, as the 16 high-rises of the Atlantic Yards are stuck in their blue-prints.

The corporations and their politicians are watching where we put our bodies and how we raise our voices. They come running with renta-cops at the slightest suggestion of freedom. Lots of bodies down at the town square, that's trouble. What's the distance between a citizen letting out a shout in a park... and the singing revolution? An intriguing question. We do believe that the greenery around City Hall will echo with our sampling of "New York, New York" with the radical lyrics it needs: "Start spreadin' the wealth..." We will sing it in public space, on streets and sidewalks and in the parks. If each of us gets down into our fiery bodies then public space will light up again!

Change-a-lujah!

(Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh)

 

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