ATLAS Presents Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s ‘red, black & GREEN: a blues’ on May 10-12th by Renee Littleton


MARC BAMUTHI JOSEPH’S red, black & GREEN: a blues
What sustains life in your community?

Featuring, Tommy Shepherd, Traci Tolmaire,
Yaw, and set design/installations from Theaster Gates


The Atlas Performing Arts Center is pleased to present the Washington premiere of red, black & GREEN: a blues (rbGb) on May 10-12, 2013 from Oakland-based spoken word artist and arts activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and the Living Word Project. Called “smart and provocative as it is breathtakingly beautiful” (San Francisco Chronicle), rbGb is an interactive performance that blends spoken word, music, film and contemporary dance sparking conversations about race, class, culture and environmentalism in urban communities often left out of the “living green” movement.

With key themes of sustainability and collective responsibility, rbGb through performance encourages patrons to do more in their own communities. Bamuthi Joseph, who was among last year’s inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists, has earned the Alpert Award in the Arts and has been named a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. He also serves as the Director of Performing Arts at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. rbGb is the second piece from Bamuthi Joseph presented by the Atlas. Word Becomes Flesh, Bamuthi’s semi-autobiographical story about a young man becoming a father for the first time was presented in March. Tickets to all performances can be purchased at or by calling (202) 399-7993, extension 2.

In red, black & GREEN: a blues, the audience experiences four seasons – summer in Chicago, fall in Houston, winter in Harlem and spring in Oakland – through a modular set design of four row houses made from repurposed materials, designed by contemporary artist Theaster Gates. Bamuthi and the artists of the Living Word Project, through touching and emotional performances some tinged with humor; explore stories of struggle and survival. Before the start of the performance, patrons are invited to walk through the set and interact with the performers onstage creating a direct connection between the audience and artists.
Additionally, the Atlas will host two community engagement activities:

• The Youth Arts Share Out on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Students from Arena Stage’s Voices of NOW Mead and Mentor Ensembles, FRESHH, Inc., Split This Rock Youth Slam Poetry Team, and Next Stop (formally, the Holloway Youth Project) will present dramatic, poetic, performing arts pieces that explore the question, “What sustains life in your community?” These presentations are culmination of a workshop Marc Bamuthi Joseph held with the young artists in March, 2013.

• rbGb Installation Viewing on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Visitors will have a chance to view and interact with the set design of rbGb, an installation of four houses created from all repurposed materials by master visual artist, Theaster Gates. Each house represents four American cities in the course of four seasons. The cities’ residents’ realities are the focus of the performance.
Directed by Michael John Garcés, rbGb’s collaborative artistic team includes Set Designer Theaster Gates, Filmmaker Fantauzzi, Choreographer Stacey Printz, and musician and composer Tommy Shepherd. Rounding out the team are Lighting Designer James Clotfelter, Media Designer David Szlasa, and Costume Designer Mai-Lei Pecorari.

About Marc Bamuthi Joseph/The Living Word Project

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is one of America’s vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. In the Fall of 2007, Bamuthi graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of America’s Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the 7-part HBO documentary Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship (2006), which annually recognizes 50 of the country’s “greatest living artists.” He is the 2011 Alpert Award winner in Theater and in April 2012, he was one of 21 artists to be named to the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists. He currently serves as Director of Performing Arts at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph in his multidisciplinary 'red, black & GREEN: a blues,' Photo by Bethanie Hines.
Marc Bamuthi Joseph in his multidisciplinary ‘red, black & GREEN: a blues,’ Photo by Bethanie Hines.

After appearing on Broadway as a young actor, Joseph has developed several poetically based works for the stage that have toured across the U.S., Europe, and Africa. These include Word Becomes Flesh, Scourge, and the break/s, which co-premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays and the Walker Arts Center in the Spring of 2008. Joseph’s Word Becomes Flesh was re-mounted in December 2010 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces series, and will tour throughout North America and Hawaii through 2013. In addition, he wrote the commissioned libretto, Home in 7 for the Atlanta Ballet in 2011, and is directing Dennis Kim’s Tree City Legends at Intersection for the Arts in 2012.

A gifted and nationally acclaimed educator and essayist, he has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities, been a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Lehigh University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. As the Artistic Director of Youth Speaks he mentored 13-19 year-old writers and curated the Living Word Festival and Left Coast Leaning. He is the co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. His proudest work is with his family, raising his two children and spoiling two dogs with his incredible wife in Oakland, California. (Mapp International)

About the Atlas

The Atlas Performing Arts Center is home to adventurous audiences, artists, and ideas, presenting contemporary performances in music, theater, dance, and performance arts unlike anywhere in the city. An artistic anchor on H Street NE, the Atlas is committed to its neighborhood and the arts community celebrating a range of artistic expressions and traditions to build understanding, respect and a stronger community.

The Atlas Performing Arts Center is located in a historic movie theatre complex on H Street, NE. H Street had been a bustling retail corridor for decades before the 1968 riots. In 2003, spurred by Jane Lang’s vision and commitment to restore the Atlas as a performing arts center, the city adopted a plan to rebuild the corridor and identified the Atlas as central to the revitalization. Vacant for years, the Atlas movie theatre re-opened in November, 2006 following an extensive four-year renovation. In addition to its theatres and dance studios, the Atlas also has administrative offices, dressing rooms, lobbies, a café and production and rehearsal spaces.

The center is home to a diverse group of locally renowned theatre and dance companies, symphony orchestras, choral groups and arts education programs.
Through its programs and service to the community, the Atlas seeks to honor and maintain the history and traditions of H Street NE while also fostering the changes taking place to renew the H Street corridor. The Atlas has become the artistic heart of a community struggling uneasily with its transformation, and it seeks to be a center for community conversation, where a range of artistic and individual expressions can come together to be shared and celebrated.

For information on the Atlas and the 2012-2013 Season, visit
Follow the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Facebook and on twitter @AtlasPACDC.

Atlas-DCMTA-468x60-rbGb-05.02.131333 H Street, NE ● Washington, DC 20002
202.399.7993 ext. 2
Art. Culture. Connection.
red, black & GREEN: a blues
by Marc Bamuthi Joseph/The Living Word Project ● 202.399.7993 ext. 2
May 10-12, 2013
Friday, May 10 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 11 at 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 12 at 3:00 pm
$28 –Advance
$32 – Door
$15 – Student
Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Tommy Shepherd
Traci Tolmaire


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