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Lethe Productions presents





Why Create Art?

2020 was a year for the ages.  A wild roller coaster of a ride that is still not over even though many of us would like to get off.  Instead we found ourselves gripping tight to the bar and existentially screaming at the top of our lungs as we tried to figure out how to survive while looking toward a most uncertain future.  In short, things were scary.  This was a perfect storm made of a global pandemic, a social justice movement, a polarizing election, and a struggling economy. It felt like we were in a dystopian nightmare that we could not wake up from.  To cap it off we lost some important legends such as Little Richard, Kirk Douglas, Eddie Van Halen, and Chadwick Boseman, as well as civil rights icons, John Lewis and C.T. Vivian. The nation felt the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi. But one icon to pass, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, was in some ways the hardest to cope with as her death left a hole in our country’s democratic process and the darkness came rushing in.  


While Santa Barbara was in its own little bubble we were still part of the world and we were affected by the changes that were happening on a national and global scale.  For this project, we wanted to focus a lens on our Santa Barbara community and give ourselves a chance to look inward and reflect.  The metaphor of the Labyrinth seems appropriate as we were searching in the darkness for a way out, a way forward.  The ancient Sumerian myth of the "Descent of Inanna" seemed like the perfect frame for this project.  We wanted to re-envision a world post-pandemic as we moved into 2021 and the future. We wanted to explore the themes of survival, rebirth, and hope.  The goal is not to have answers, but to raise questions and give Santa Barbara a gift that says, “The future is coming...there is still hope."

Update: December 20, 2021

So here we are a year later and while the world has adjusted in some ways to the this new reality of living in an ongoing pandemic, we still seem to be no better off then we were a year ago.  A new Omicron variant of COVID 19 is causing spikes in cases across the U.S. and the world and things are beginning to shut down again. What does this mean for the future? What lessons are we still not learning?  How do we navigate this treacherous slackline of that we call our lives.  I just finished a show at the historic Lobero Theater last night with The Revels Santa Barbara which was a show about tradition, celebration, and the sacredness of community no matter what culture you are from. So as we enter this year's Winter Solstice, may we all look inward and navigate our own truths, create new ceremonies that heal us, and share in the work that must still be done in order to bring our world back into the light.   I hope this little film of ours brings you some joy, reflection, and hope.

- J. Velasco

Joseph Velasco


JOSEPH VELASCO began his career in 1991 with the renowned Chicano theater company, El Teatro Campesino as a resident director. He went on to study physical theater at the international Estudio Busqueda de Pantomima Teatro in Guanjuato, Mexico and later joined James Donlon & Company in creating original movement theater works including the award-winning WRENCH. A co-founder of BOXTALES Theatre Company, Joseph has also worked and taught in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as well as with various local theater groups including the Lobero Theater, Speaking of Stories, and the Ensemble Theatre Company. He is the former Artistic Director for City at Peace Santa Barbara which used the performing arts to empower youth to create original theater.  He currently teaches English with an emphasis in Ethnic Studies at Santa Barbara High School and continues to be a storyteller as well as an artist in residence at the Community Arts Workshop.  The LAByrinth Project is his second collaboration with Sio Tepper. 


Lethe Productions

Sio Tepper

Music Director/Producer

With extensive formal training in classical piano and substantial experience in various genres, Sio is an active professional musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, recording artist/songwriter, and educator in Santa Barbara. She graduated from Santa Barbara High in 2010, and from UCSB in 2014 with a degree in Ethnomusicology.  Sio is continuously inspired to give back to the community that shaped her as an artist by being involved in music and arts education. She is currently working on a compositional collaboration with the UCSB Dance Department. She teaches privately and in workshop settings as well as working as an accompanist and performer. She also teaches piano, guitar, and songwriting privately to students of various ages through her own studio, SB Musicology, and the Music and Arts Conservatory. She is also an educator in the Santa Barbara High School Theatre Department, having worked on over a dozen productions as music director, and vocal director, and as a specialist teacher for the advanced theatre class. She has been music director with other local theatre companies such as Out of the Box Theatre Co. and Stage Left Productions and was music director for the community theatre project, Cuentos del Pueblos at the Community Arts Workshop. She has also composed music for films in the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Sio is involved in several local performance groups such as the Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra, Fratelli, and Ojai O’Daiko. She also performs classical chamber music as well as her own original music. Learn more about Tepper at, instagram: @siobear, or

Sio 1.jpeg

Joshua Roberts

Cinematographer/Film Editor/Producer

Joshua Roberts is a multi-media artist based in Santa Barbara. His work is deeply informed by the stark juxtaposition of the landscapes of his upbringing between Alaska and Texas. Since childhood, he has always had a fascination with the play between light and dark - the chiaroscuro of the human spirit. He studied multi-media and audio engineering before finishing his degree in Consciousness Studies at Evergreen State College. His unconventional travels across the globe have offered him a unique insight into both the diversity and universal threads of the human experience, and the subsequent metaphors that structure our beliefs about who we are. Joshua has always had a deep curiosity for the hidden layers of the human psyche and seeks to unravel and explore the shadows of his own unconscious mind as well as the collective through music, movement, visual arts, photography, and videography. 

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