Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a National Poetry Slam champ, a Broadway vet, a hip-hop theater star, and an agile dancer with a light touch reflecting a lifetime of experiences spent on the stage and traveling around the world. This week the Oakland, California-based artist reveals a new work commissioned by the Walker Art Center and based on Can't Stop Won't Stop, Jeff Chang's award-winning book about hip hop, as the inspiration for local political and artistic movements that ultimately go global. Joseph's words spill from his mouth with lyrical ease, but he also possesses a sharp theatrical sensibility, and his storytelling is both dramatic and personal, alternating seamlessly between the light and dark sides of the human condition. Joseph's latest effort, which features live music by human beatbox percussionist Tommy Shepherd, a.k.a. Soulati and DJ Excess, is centered on a "travel diary" generated by a series of dream-journal entries drawn from journeys to the Philippines, Bosnia, Senegal, France, Cuba, and American cities such as Madison, Wisconsin. Those destinations are not often associated with hip hop, but nonetheless demonstrate the scope and reach of this dynamic, ever-evolving multidisciplinary cultural force.
April 10-12, 8 p.m., 2008