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Headline: Marc Bamuthi Joseph on soccer, art, and the spinning pelota we all live on

Photo courtesy of Bethanie Hines, resized and recropped
At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, performers Yaw Agyeman, Traci Tolmaire, Tommy Shepherd, Amara Tabor-Smith, and Marc Bamuthi Joseph in /peh-LO-tah/

Soccer, or futbol, as the rest of the world knows it can be a source of joy and release in a complicated world. Bay Area theater artist, writer and educator Marc Bamuthi Joseph knows the feeling. A child of Haitian immigrants, he grew up playing the “beautiful game,” and over the years he’s spent a lot of time watching, playing, and thinking about it. But he’s never made a show about it until now. Bamuthi’s newest multi-disciplinary work /peh-LO-tah/ explores the the complexities of soccer as a conduit for global joy and global corruption through poetry, dance, video and live music.

Bamuthi: Artists, I think, have an obligation to keep us all dreaming, to keep the engine of American Dream humming.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s /peh-LO-tah/ premieres at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Friday, and runs all weekend.

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.