The members of the Joshua Light Show were resident artists at the Fillmore East, a seated rock theater (capacity: 2,700) on Second Avenue in New York City. From March 8, 1968, until the venue closed in on June 27,1971, the group performed multiple shows every weekend for up to ten thousand people, receiving nearly equal billing to such acts as the Who, the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Albert King, Chuck Berry, and Iron Butterfly. Joshua White, who had studied electrical engineering, theatrical lighting, and magic-lantern techniques at Carnegie Tech and filmmaking at the University of Southern California, where he made a number of stop-motion and direct animation shorts, founded the group, which consisted of six to eight members during its brief existence. The most stable lineup included White, Tom Shoesmith, and Bill Schwarzbach, who met at Columbia University while studying theatrical lighting and electrical engineering; Cecily Hoyt, a photographer and painter; and Jane Ableman, an art student.
The group employed an arsenal of image-making apparatus to achieve diverse visual effects: three film projectors, two banks of four-carousel slide projectors, three overhead projectors, hundreds of color wheels, motorized reflectors made of such materials as aluminum foil, Mylar, and broken mirrors, two hair dryers, watercolors, oil colors, alcohol and glycerin, two crystal ashtrays, and dozens of clear glass clock crystals. White and his cohort designed a rear-projection system, situated roughly twenty feet behind the Fillmore stage, where several tons of equipment was arrayed on two elevated platforms.
The recent popular and critical resurgence in psychedelic art, media history, and intermedia practice has spurred White to return to performing under the name Joshua Light Show. He now works in collaboration with a cohort of younger video artists and VJs such as Bec Stupak, Alyson Denny, Seth Kirby, and Brock Monroe.