This past Saturday, Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir made a poignant plea outside Angelo Fontana's closing shoe repair shop, which I wrote about here in December with lots of pictures. Anyway, I missed the protest, but a tipster turned me on to Billy's website where pictures and a video of the entire event can be found.
photo: rev billy
During the first part of the video, Angelo stands in the doorway looking somewhat inscrutably bemused as Billy and the choir do their thing, preaching and singing the story of Mr. Fontana's demise. Billy explains how Angelo's original landlord had two buildings, he was the local pharmacist, and undoubtedly knew all the people he rented to. His son, now Angelo's leaseholder, owns 150 buildings and is raising Angelo's rent. “That is the story of New York City," Billy says, "that soulless absence of human scale... The demon monoculture is surrounding us!"
Then, towards the end of the video, Billy and the choir are invited into Angelo's shop and a woman serenades him in Italian. The song is sad and lovely and it might bring tears to your eyes, as Billy and Angelo embrace. It's a touching moment in this hideous time of ongoing condoschmerz and wholesale loicide.