BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Unoppressive-elujah! Small business-elujah! Authentic-elujah.
Jim Drougas, the owner of Unoppressive, Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, on Carmine Street, will be sainted by Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir this Sunday, June 12.
The ceremony will occur at the new Earth Church, at the northeast corner of E. Third Street and Avenue C, at 5 p.m.
Drougas — who has run the offbeat, bohemian, left-wing Greenwich Village bookstore for the past 31 years — will be on hand to receive the honor. Everyone who attends is asked to “bring a story from an experience at the bookstore.”
As reported by The Village Sun, Drougas has to clear out the quirky, hole-in-the-wall storefront by the end of June. The veteran bookseller’s lease was up in September and he was unable to come to terms with the building’s new owners. They demanded a monthly rent of $10,500, along with all his back rent owed from during the pandemic, plus six months’ rent upfront — and no subtenants allowed to help defray the costs.
Drougas has so far been unable to find a new affordable space in Greenwich Village or the Downtown area but is keeping on looking. For now, he’ll be putting his unsold inventory into storage. He wants to keep on selling books, though.
As of this Thursday, he had no updates to report on finding a new space.
Reverend Billy, the performance-artist preacher / activist, real name Bill Talen, said Drougas is nothing short of “sacred.”
“Our Carmine Street browse for poetry and stories of revolution — the Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books — has been evicted after 35 years,” Talen said.
“Earth Church canonizes with exalted sainthood owner Jim Drougas for lifting us up for so long!
“Is nothing sacred? No! Jim is sacred. He’s Saint James!”
Asked how he felt about becoming a saint, Drougas said, “I am honored and transfigured.”
The book merchant is not religious, at least not in the traditional sense.
“I guess you can say,” he said, “I am extremely happy that the current pope has said that even atheists can go to heaven if they are good people.”