The Living Word


By Amber Peckham


When I heard the phrase “Living Word Festival” my first instinct was to think of some sort of religious revival in the back woods somewhere, with white robes and bathing in the river and people dancing with snakes. I was very far wrong, as any informed cultural citizen of the Bay probably already knows.

The Living Word Festival is a series of events that began on October 6 and ends on November 3. These events are taking place on both sides of the Bay, in all forums and flavors, from a day long discussion, concert, and dance battle tonight, Oct. 12 at Yerba Buena Gardens to the return of internationally acclaimed theater piece Scourge, which began its tour in San Francisco and will return as one of the key closing events for the festival in November. A full listing of events is available at the website of the event’s sponsor, Youth Speaks.


Youth Speaks is an organization that originated in San Francisco with the goal of providing youth the ability to express themselves through all forms of media, a goal that is evident in the vibrant showcase of events the festival is offering. And even though they aren’t dancing in the woods with snakes -- there is much more class here -- there is a spirituality to their mission and in their events, a desire to express, to connect, and ultimately, to enact positive change through culture.

My favorite part about this whole event is the way the invitation is signed -- “With A Radical Acceptance and Abundance”. To me, that is exactly what this event, with the theme of “Traditions in Transition”, embodies; a celebration of the state of flux our society is in, and a promise for acceptance, whatever your story may be.

Youth Speaks Presents: The Living Word Festival
Curated by the Living Word Project
under the direction of Marc Bamuthi Joseph

contemporary urban poetry/ dance/theater/funk/hip-hop

Oct 6- Nov 3, 2007
Events vary in price and age restriction.

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