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Joshua Light Show

Sunset
South Terrace Stage

During the summer of 1967, San Francisco’s Fillmore rock impresario Bill Graham hired artist Joshua White to create a light show for a series of concerts in Toronto featuring the Jefferson Airplane. Because Graham needed to sell all of the theater’s tickets, the lightshow could not occupy the balcony normally inhabited by a typical Bay Area lightshow. At Graham’s challenge, White designed a system where projections would be performed from the stage, behind a giant screen. This experience led to the formation of the Joshua Light Show.

Six months later, Graham opened the Fillmore East in New York and hired the Joshua Light Show to be its resident artists. The venue welcomed performances by the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, the Grateful Dead and the Doors, among many other great musicians of the era. The lightshow provided visual support. During this time, Joshua Light Show created lighting effects for the legendary party sequence in the Academy Award winning film Midnight Cowboy and performed at Woodstock. Soon thereafter, White left the light show to focus on video magnification for the ever-increasing rock spectacle, which led to a career in television.

The early 21st Century saw a renewed interest in light shows—this time in the art world—and White returned to his former craft. In 2004, he teamed up with artist Gary Panter at Anthology Film Archives in New York. Over the next eight years, the regenerated light show evolved with the participation of new collaborators, including Alyson Denny, Seth Kirby, Ana Matronic, Brock Monroe, Doug Pope, Briged Smith, Bec Stupak and music director Nick Hallett.