Letter from Disneyland Jail

posted by Mike on December 30th, 2005

Greetings from Philadelphia. I just found out that radical guitar improviser Derek Bailey died on Christmas. I’ll be remembering him tonight by going to a concert featuring, among others, radical improvisers Todd Margasak and Jack Wright. I must admit I’ve always gotten Todd’s music, and never gotten Jack’s. That’s part of the appeal of seeing Jack play again.

Anyhow: If you want to get arrested for protesting in California, you could go to some boring air force base in the desert, or you could join Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir at Disneyland! Rev Billy:

With watches synchronized, the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir walked onto “Main Street USA” at 1:50 PM on Christmas Day, with the Disney faithful lining the curbs, waiting for the dancing of Tinkerbelle and Donald and Mickey.

…the entire choir entered the theme park undetected, hiding their robes at the bottom of backpacks and purses. …Once marching up the street in the rocking motion of gospel, the singers were able to complete three full songs, with the Reverend preaching throughout. The heightened strangeness of the place may have contributed to the hesitation by police to resist the church.

The performers marched back and forth on the theme park’s Main Street, a distance of about a half mile, contacting several thousands of on-lookers, for a period of about 25 minutes. After Reverend Billy was surrounded and hand-cuffed, the choir was detained in the filthy back lot of the park. …The Rev was held in the Disneyland holding tank and then the Anaheim jail.

Be sure to read the Rev’s “Letter from the Disneyland Jail.” (Here’s a nice picture.)

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4 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On December 30, 2005 at 11:37 Kevin said:

    Rev. Billy was featured on the last segment of Democracy Now on Dec. 29th if anyone is interested in some audio and a bit of the choir.
    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/29/151210

  2. On December 30, 2005 at 22:15 David Gardner said:

    Vandenberg Air Force Base is on California’s Central Coast, and actually occupy’s some of California’s most beutiful beaches.

  3. On December 31, 2005 at 01:31 Mike (Worcester) said:

    In re: the desert. David, I stand corrected.

    The Derek Bailey Memorial Concert, at Fiume in West Philly (upstairs of Abyssinia) was great. Jack Wright:

    Derek Bailey was really the godfather of improvisation in the world. If it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t be here doing this tonight.

    The place was standing-room only, with a dozen people in the hallway outside waiting for people to leave.

    My three-year-old goddaughter and her eight-month-old sister sat attentively through the entire first two sets without crying. Then their dad took them home.

  4. On January 3, 2006 at 01:53 Adam (Southern California) said:

    A guy on a music group I’m on said that Bailey released an album of solo acoustic guitar that was some of the harshest music he’d ever heard.

    Although I keep reading the name “Derek Bailey” and thinking of Philip Bailey from Earth, Wind, and Fire. (I wonder what happened to Water.)

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