Marc Bamuthi Joseph / The Living Word Project enthrall with 'red, black, and GREEN: a blues (rbGb)'

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An unequivocal standing ovation erupted tonight for Marc Bamuthi Joseph and the Living Word Project's 'red, black and GREEN: a blues (rbGb)' at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

rbGB is an inspiring example of the amazing multimedia work that can be done to bring communities into the Green, and the conversations that should happen with people of all colors to help humanity survive and thrive.

Bamuthi Joseph captivates his audience from the moment they step into the room to find the performers at home in and on unique, colorful installations. The first section of the performance thus begins with the audience mere inches from the artists. At such close range, we are reminded that we are not mere onlookers of the performance nor of life.

Such an introduction creatively sets a precedent for the whole evening, where rbGb_1-Mark_Bamuthi_Joseph-credit_Bethaniel_Hines_Photography.jpgaudience members are consistently connected as participants of a critical discussion in new light: how do we sustain the human race? What role do cultural roots and history play? And who is responsible for this task?

We find our way to our seats only to fall into a whirlwind of true stories and fictionalized memoirs; snatches of conversations and breathtaking dance duets; rousing vocals and indelible spoken word; narratives that gracefully built on each other in the most beautifully crafted manner of telling a story.

The homeless user, caught in a cycle of drugs, dropping hard truths about his situation in a whisper caught by nervous passersby too busy to care.

A mother, too devastated by the loss of her son to feel compassion for the question of climate change.

The boy who was like good brown earth that would be prized in a garden, but whose life was taken in a city where it seems that nothing can grow.

The hopeful organizer of a sustainability initiative, pummeled with familiar guilt trips about faucets and organic produce who stops us with humor to ask- how are those Green dreams possible?

This question is highly relevant to many communities across America, where access to good, affordable food and education is unthinkable- let alone access to the necessary means for sustainability.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph's eloquent response to the show's question is built upon a narrative swirl of energy, humor, sadness, passion, and hope: "Red state /Blues people /Use art /To shift Black /Towards Green."

Tonight's performance was a powerful conversation with a clearly supportive audience, and I hope that rbGb and similar conversations can be introduced widely into schools and communities across the country- particularly those that might not normally have access to such an incredible event.

There are only two more days to catch the unparalleled rbGb performance at YBCA, and the performers are moving out with delectable energy that is not to be missed. A must-see for anyone who cares for this earth and for unbelievable performances:

Last two shows: Oct 21-22, 7:30pm, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

EBAC thanks the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for access to the show.

Photo Credits: Bethaniel Hines Photography

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