The "Shopocalypse" is coming to Iowa City Friday, when the University of Iowa's Bijou Theater will begin a six-day run of What Would Jesus Buy?, the new "docu-comedy" by producer Morgan Spurlock (of "Super Size Me" fame). The film follows "Rev. Billy" and his "Church of Stop Shopping" on their crusade against American consumerism. The reverend is actually performance artist Bill Talen dressed in a white suit, with bleached hair and the flamboyant mannerisms of a televangelist or used car salesman (take your pick).
Here's a synopsis of the movie:
Bill Talen (aka Reverend Billy) was a lost idealist who hitchhiked to New York City only to find that Times Square was becoming a mall. Spurred on by the loss of his neighborhood and inspired by the sidewalk preachers around him, Bill bought a collar to match his white caterer's jacket, bleached his hair and became the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping. Since 1999, Reverend Billy has gone from being a lone preacher with a portable pulpit preaching on subways, to the leader of a congregation and a movement whose numbers are well into the thousands. Through retail interventions, corporate exorcisms, and some good old-fashioned preaching, Reverend Billy reminds us that we have lost the true meaning of Christmas. What Would Jesus Buy? is a journey into the heart of America – from exorcising the demons at the Wal-Mart headquarters to taking over the center stage at the Mall of America and then ultimately heading to the Promised Land … Disneyland.
In advance of the screening, Iowa Public Radio's "The Exchange" will feature an interview with Rev. Billy from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday (hear it locally on WSUI 910 AM). Admission to Bijou is $5. For showtimes and more information go here or call 319-335-3258. Go here for more about the movie.