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       Art of Rock Concert Lighting

Discusion List





Bibliography » History and Images of the Psychedelic Light Show

In addition to sources listed above those below were referenced as part of presentation of video sources documenting the (liquid) light show.

Garcia, Gerry. The Acid Tests. Audio Recording. Source unknown.

Short audio clip featuring Gerry Garcia of the Greatful Dead describing what it was like to play at "the acid tests."

The Summer of Love San Francisco. Producer, Photographer, Writer, Ken Schwartz. Young Broadcasting of San Francisco (KRON4). 2003.

Excerpts from this TV video documentary include visuals from an “acid test” dance and liquid light shows at dances like those in the Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms.

My Generation. The history of rock 'n' roll [videorecording]. Vol. 6. Andrew Solt Productions. Warner Home Video. 1995.

Contains an excerpt (also included in longer form in the documentary: “Berkeley in the 60s”) of a speech made by Ronald Reagan denouncing immoral behavior on the Berkeley campus. This version is inter-cut with images of a liquid light show in a dance hall or gymnasium.

Text Transcript of the excerpt (edited version from "History" v.6):

'The issuances are so bad, so contrary to our standards of human behavior, that I couldn't possibly recite them to you, here from this platform, in detail. But all during the dance, movies were shown on two screens at the opposite end of the gymnasium. These movies were the only lights in the gym proper. They gave the appearance of different colored liquids swirling across the screen, followed by shots of men and women on occasion. Shots where the men and women`s nude torsos, on occasion. And persons twisted and gyrated in provocative and sensual fashion."

Allman Brothers Band. Fillmore East. Video Clip. Unreleased. 1970.

Excerpts from this bootleg video of a 1970 performance by the Allman Brothers Band at the Fillmore East shows several good shots of the Joshua Light Show.

Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsies, Live at the Fillmore East (1969). DVD. Experience Hendrix. 1999.

Excerpts of this legendary performance by Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore East December 31st, 1969 contains shots of the Joshua Light Show. One segment shows the rear-projection screen flying into position with the light show on it.

Jones, Tom Douglas. The Art of Light and Color; Featuring Mobile Color Expression, Lumia, Kinetic Light--with Instructions for the Creation of Dramatic Color and Light Instruments. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1972.

Contains some history of 19-20th century light/color art, lumia, and color organs.

Pink Floyd London 1966-1967. VHS.

The first part of this video contains a complete audio version of Interstellar Overdrive which is supported by inter-cut shots from a live performance (presumably in the UFO club), studio recording footage, and a few shots from another live performance. The UFO shots offer a glimpse into some of the elements of the lighting used by Pink Floyd and collaborating visual artists in their early shows.

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (1967). DVD. Criterion. 2002.

The Light show created by Headlights is shown in many shots in this festival video documentary. Some of the best examples appear during performances by Otis Redding, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who--among others. In the DVD audio commentary (audio track 4) the filmmaker offers specific commentary on the light show as an element of the concert near the end of the Otis Redding set on Disc 1.

Midnight Cowboy. (1969) Dir. John Schlesinger. DVD. MGM 2000.

This feature film contains a Hollywood portrayal of an acid trip supported by visuals created by the Joshua Light Show.

McKay, Glen, Visual Artist. Plastic Fantastic Lover, Altered States 1966-1999. VHS. 1999.

Documents a 1999 installation of the light/art work of Glen McKay at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The first two visual pieces in the collection, set to music by Jefferson Airplane, demonstrate period liquid projection techniques as well as the painted slides for which Glen McKay is known.

Joshua White. Light Show presentation 03-18-05. Flash Movie. Online at: http://hirshhorn.si.edu/visualmusic/lightshows.html

On 3/18/2005 Joshua White presented a light show in the style of the Joshua Light Show as part of the Exhibit: Visual Music: Synaesthesia in art and music since 1900 co-produced by the Hirshhorn Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern art. This flash movie shows both behind the scenes technique images as well as the view of the screen from the front.

Additional Reference Sources

Edmund Scientific Co. Edmund Unique Lighting Handbook. Barrington, NJ, Edmund Scientific Co. 1969.

There are two slightly different early versions of this publication from 1969 (the later version has a different chapter on blacklights. There are chapters on: Blacklights, Flashing Lights, Overhead Projectors, 35mm Projectors, Visual Effects, Slides, Color Wheels, Screens, Color Organs, Mirrors, Light Boxes, Musicvision, Lumia, Groovy Movies, Light Sources, and Electricity for Light Shows. This publication includes how-tos, example projects, as well as history of many of the effects it describes. Note that some of the information is out of date concerning the suggested use of dangerous chemicals.

Edmund Scientific Co. The Edmund Unique Lighting Handbook. Barrington, NJ, Edmund Scientific Co. 1977.

The 1977 edition of the Edmund Scientific publication on home built lighting effects is more focused on electronic and mechanical effects and has less specific information about wet shows and chemical combinations (probably due to safety issues). Chapters include: 35mm Projectors, Overhead Projectors, The Art of Sculpting Light, Color Wheels, Color Organs, Mirrored Materials, Kaleidoscopes, Lumia, Lasers and Holograms, Strobes, Blacklight, Light Boxes, Screens, Slides, Lamps, Electricity.


Lightworks Co. Psychedelic Lighting Manual. New York. 1968.

A short publication that describes several types of projects: Light Machines, Shadow Box and Globe, Special Effects, Strobes, Mechanical Strobe, Color Organs, One Channel Color Organ, and sections on Channeling, and Light Shows.