Until fairly recently,  “Black Friday” was associated with crisis and scandal. In 1869,  stocks plunged when a group of speculators, headed by James Fisk and Jay Gould, cornered the gold market and inflated prices by nearly 30 percent. When the government put it’s own gold on the market, the premium plummeted within minutes. Investors scrambled to sell their holdings. Many were ruined in a matter of minutes.

In 1965, “Black Friday” took on new meaning when the Philadelphia Police Department used the phrase to describe the year’s busiest shopping day, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day.  It is not a term of endearment for them. “Black Friday” officially opens the Christmas shopping season, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as stores are mobbed from opening to closing.

Last year alone, Americans spent $41 billion — $372.57 per shopper — on this one frenzied day. Good news for the economy, but bad news for citizens. We’re all familiar with the images of people waiting in line for hours in the cold and trampling each other, sometimes fatally, to be the first ones inside. At a Long Island Wal-Mart last year, employee Jdimytai Damour was stomped to death as the throng of product-hungry shoppers stormed the store.

Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest, was created  to counter this mad dash for the shelves. Founded in 1992 by Vancouver artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, Buy Nothing Day urges participants to “lock up your debit card, your credit cards, your money clip and see what it feels like to opt out of consumer culture completely, even if only for 24 hours.” The event has become a yearly rallying cry for hundreds of thousands of activists around world who still believe that Black Friday is marred in crisis.

On this week’s show, I’ll be speaking with Rev. Billy, an outspoken performance-activist who resists consumerism with the Church of Life After Shopping. The Morgan Spurlock produced film What Would Jesus Buy? documents the Church’s cross-country tour denouncing the commercialization of Christmas, materialism, and over-consumption in American culture. We”ll talk about consumerism, how it rules our lives and economy, and it’s consequences for ourselves and our Planet.

Tune in Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 8pm for an hour of funk, jazz-fusion & their more experimental offshoots, then at 9pm for the show.

Music on the show (in order played)

“Cut That City” by The Mars Volta

“The Extinction Agenda” by Organized Konfusion

“Beatitudes of Buylessness” by Rev. Billy & The Church of Life After Shopping

“Remove Starbucks & Disney” by Rev. Billy & The Church of Life After Shopping

“Behind The Wall of Sleep” by Black Sabbath


Music Hour: Jazz-fusion, funk, and their more experimental offshoots (in order played):

“Spanish Key” by Miles Davis

“Snoopy’s Search/Red Baron” by Billy Cobham

“Peel This Strip and Fold Here” by Candiria

“Faction” by Candiria

“Sanctuary” by The Mahavishu Orchestra

“That Which Survives” by Ghosts of the Canal

“Oh Yeah” by Can

“Resolution” by The Mahavishnu Orchestra

>> Listen to 11/24/09: Music Hour

>> Listen to 11/24/09: Buy Nothing Day