By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt
Back in the good old B.C.
days--in fact the weekend just before Covid changed our world--we were lucky enough
to see a special event at St. James Episcopal Church by the Sea in La Jolla,
presented by a group we’d never heard of before: PROJECT [BLANK]. We had
been to many concerts in the sanctuary, but this was a whole new experience, as
we were guided through the chapel, library and courtyard, greeted by an array
of imaginative pieces by sound and video artists, painters, sculptors and
At that time, PROJECT [BLANK] had some interesting works-in-progress,
and I wondered when we’d be able to see them again. Then just a few weeks ago,
I heard they were doing a three-evening event at another beautiful church--St.
Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Bankers Hill--featuring artists and performers
from both sides of the border. It promised to be “a pilgrimage through sacred
spaces, profane realities, and everything in between!”
So at 6 p.m. on a cold Saturday-the-13th, we were there, at
what they called Working Title. The pews in the sanctuary had
been removed during the pandemic, replaced by folding chairs that could be
appropriately spaced as needed. With only a scattering of chairs in the
neo-gothic interior, there was plenty of room to wander around the artful
This time, we had a chance to chat with Leslie Ann Leytham, who
co-founded PROJECT [BLANK] with pianist Brendan Nguyen in 2019 “to provide new
and exciting creative opportunities for local musicians, artists, and
audiences.” They managed to live-stream programs all
through the pandemic, but this was their first return to a real live event.
One of the
highlights of the evening was hearing Leslie display her gorgeous mezzo-soprano
voice onstage, in a contemporary piece by Sofia Gubaidulina inspired by the
visions of Hildegarde von Bingen, a 12th-century
German abbess, composer, writer, and visionary. A second, jazzy part of the piece came from
halfway across the sanctuary: a solo on double bass by Matthew Kline.
|Another musical highlight: A meditative performance by percussionist Kosuke Matsuda and his electronically amplified water droplets.
Below are some of the artworks and artists we saw on this very special evening. Click here to find out about future events https://www.projectblanksd.org
PROJECT [BLANK] name came from, here’s the simple answer
from Leslie Ann Leytham: “Each event that we do is a ‘fill in the blank’!”
|This and the following image are from Triskele & The Monster’s Tools, a collaborative video installation by Ash Capachione, Maria Molteni, Laura Campagna, & Vin Caponigro including animation, sound, and hand-painted groundwork.
|Moon Greeting, a unique little piece by composer/vocalist Akari Komura invited viewers to tune into the phases of the moon by making a phone call that promises an answer from a lunar signal.
|Claudia Cano with Manto de Boda, a hand-stitched wedding cloak with hand-dyed feathers she made to celebrate her son’s recent marriage. In the center is a peony, the flower her daughter-in-law carried in her bridal bouquet.
One image from Rapture,
a colorful 2-channel video by media artist/musician Nick Lesley that referenced
stained glass windows with processed footage from a punk show mosh pit.
Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning
author/lyricist/playwright who has been writing about arts and lifestyles in
San Diego County for over a dozen years. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org