Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Choreo-poems give the quadruple threat's perspective on the history of hip-hop
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PREVIEW Marc Bamuthi Joseph is an artist who makes you want to bow down in admiration or curse the gods for bestowing him with so many talents. He's a poet. He's a singer. A dancer. An actor. An activist. And good-looking, to boot. It doesn't seem fair that one human being should possess so many gifts, even when he uses them for the benefit of others by revealing truths about environmental destruction, human devastation, and the experience of fatherhood. Joseph draws connections between the global and the personal to express the idea that all politics is local. Although his reputation primarily is based on his solo choreo-poems — most prominently Word Becomes Flesh (2003) — with his 2005 hip-hop Scourge, he stepped outside his comfort zone into the arena of ensemble work. For that collage-meditation on being an American of Haitian descent, he brought in a combination of actors and dancers. Now with the break/s: a mixtape for stage, he returns to the solo form. Taking Jeff Chang's tome Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation (Macmillan, 2005) as a starting point, Joseph puts his own perspective on the phenomenon. He has called the work "a travel diary recorded as dream. It's Lewis and Clark at hip-hop's Mason-Dixon line. It's one last look at Africa."

MARC BAMUTHI JOSEPH Thurs/19–Sat/21, 8 p.m. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, San Francisco. $23–$30. (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org

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