THE JOSHUAS 2022
By Monique A. LeBleu
Cover photo by: Sandra Goodin
High Desert Stars Come Out to Shine for ‘The Joshuas’
On a warm and balmy mid-October night, some of the high desert’s brightest stars descended from the dusky firmament to gather at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center for the premier event of the year—The Joshuas Honors Gala—The Joshua Tree Voice Magazine’s inaugural Gala and Honors Presentation ceremony.
Adorned in a sparkling array of sequined and psychedelic regalia, complete with ostrich plumes, flowers crowns, fringed vests, turquoise Concho belts, tooled cowboy boots, leather-trimmed topcoats and feather-tipped top hats, the desert’s glitterati arrived with shining smiles and hopeful faces in anticipation of this night.
Attendees were greeted with cocktails and pours by the Joshua Tree Distilling Company and Rancho de la Luna Mezcal and music by Tumbleweed Time Machine for social mixing. Light bites were provided by Food for Thought Café and Casuelas Café. Then, like a newly christened ship into harbor, guests were welcomed into the Retreat’s Sanctuary by the drum and bagpipe march of Grammy-nominated Chris Poland and the California Celts, followed by an electric performance of their original song, “The Hills of Yucca Valley.”
The seats of the 5,000 square foot space quickly filled, leaving standing room only and a constant buzzing din as the social vibrating energy and collective excitement filled the air. The stage was lit in sunset colors of salmon, purple, and gold alongside a signature Joshuas backdrop awaiting the announcement of the Nominees and Honorees.
Hosted by Joshua Tree Voice publishers, Ray Rodriguez and Lisa Lynn Morgan, the evening’s festivities moved quickly into the program. In addition to the 26 eagerly awaited individual and group Honors presentations, the program was jam-packed with over a dozen live bands, a Legacy and a Voice of Joshua Tree Honor, and an In Memoriam.
The variety of musical artists featured represented genres from Contemporary to Fusion Rock, from Country to Americana Folk, and from World Music to Hip Hop, with many comprising from both the Nominees and, ultimately, the Honorees.
Photos by: Sandra Goodin. From Top to bottom – Outstanding Folk/Americana Nominees Tumbleweed Time Machine, Outstanding Rock Group Honorees Flames of Durga, Glen Harris for Local Love Honoree Joshua Tree No-Kill Shelter, Outstanding World Music Artist Honoree Kennedy Varrett,
Performances through the night by Art Podell (original member of the New Christy Minstrels), nominee Amritakripa with friends, nominee Rosa Pullman with members of Honorees, Los Poncho Tones, nominee Daytime Moon, Honorees, Shadow Mountain Band, Voice of Joshua Tree recipient Victoria Williams (and friends), Q.Varo (featuring Female Vocalist Nominee Gabriella Evaro), Sean Wheeler with Fatso Jetson backing him, Karma Dealers (nominees for Outstanding Song), Joe Garcia and Ted Quinn accompanying a video memorial tribute with their original song, “Fly On”, Honoree Jesika von Rabbit, Honoree Nigel Roman, Nominee Brad Byrd, and Nominee Mikey Reyes and The Feeling. What could arguably be considered the highlight of the evening was the impromptu and stirring performance by Outstanding Legacy Honoree, Harriet Le Fevre, who performed beautifully on a borrowed guitar (thank you, Nigel Roman) for the first time in decades. The room was spellbound until it erupted into a standing ovation.
In addition to individual and group musical artists, the Nominees list recognized three each of a local 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional artist, photographers and videographers, galleries, theater and theater performers, and individuals and organizations who have worked toward maintaining and preserving the local desert landscape, wildlife, and parks, and/or have contributed to the culture and community.
The Joshua given to Honorees was designed by local artist and sculptor, Ron Therrio, a self-taught artist and sculptor who “worked for over 25 years sculpting conceptual models for the footwear industry” while also working on architectural projects for the Getty Villa, the Taggart House, and more, before he transitioned to fine art. Each Joshua is handmade by Therrio and contains sand from Joshua Tree.
Following The Joshuas, guests flowed into the Lotus courtyard and gardens, where more refreshments and an abundance of Mexican food from Casuelas Café was served. The party was capped off with music by DJ Alkimmey, and a performance of fire eating, fire fan, and fire breathing by Cat LaCohie of Fire and Flight.
Photos by: Billy Folsom. Top to bottom/left to right: Ron Therrio (commissioned artist for The Joshuas Honor statuettes) with Harriet LeFevre and Victoria Williams, Outstanding Female Vocalist and Song Honoree Jesika Von Rabbit, and Outstanding Contribution to Culture Honoree Bobby Furst.
The event’s sponsors included the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce, and local community businesses Rancho de la Luna Mezcal, the 29 Palms Inn, Spaghetti Western, Cliffhanger Guides – Joshua Tree Rock Climbing, the Sun of the Desert General Store, the Joshua Tree Distilling Company, and the AWE Bar.
Ray Rodriguez, Principal of Joshua Tree Voice shared his thoughts following the event:
“Greeting attendees was a high dive into a brilliant pool of enthusiastic, dancing colors.
Welcoming creatives, trusted stewards and aficionados, all eager to celebrate, participate, but mostly, appreciate one another, was a privileged front row seat to an evening brimming with promise.
A promise fulfilled. I hold deep gratitude toward all who participated in The Joshuas, transforming it from a hopeful concept into a spectacular symphony of community.”
And the WINNERS are…
Harriet Le Fevre
VOICE OF JOSHUA TREE:
OUTSTANDING TWO-DIMENSIONAL ARTIST:
OUTSTANDING THREE-DIMENSIONAL ARTIST:
OUTSTANDING ART GALLERY:
OUTSTANDING AMERICANA/FOLK ARTIST/GROUP:
Shadow Mountain Band
OUTSTANDING INSTRUMENTAL ARTIST/GROUP:
Los Poncho Tones
OUTSTANDING WORLD MUSIC ARTIST/GROUP:
OUTSTANDING MUSIC EVENT:
Joshua Tree Music Festival
Adobe Collective’s All The Space That There Is
OUTSTANDING STUDIO PRODUCTION:
Goat Mountain Recording
“I Wanna Be a Cowboy” Jesika Von Rabbit
(featuring Jesse Hughes)
OUTSTANDING HIP HOP/RAP ARTIST/GROUP:
Mike Craftsman and the SpeakEZ
OUTSTANDING ROCK ARTIST OR GROUP:
Flames of Durga
OUTSTANDING FEMALE VOCALIST:
Jesika Von Rabbit
OUTSTANDING MALE VOCALIST:
OUTSTANDING THEATRICAL PERFORMER – FEMALE:
OUTSTANDING THEATRICAL PERFORMER – MALE:
OUTSTANDING INDOOR STAGE PRODUCTION:
Live from Joshua Tree (Mil-Tree Event)
OUTSTANDING OUTDOOR STAGE PRODUCTION:
Joshua Tree Theater Under the Sky
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO OUR ECOLOGY:
Mojave Desert Land Trust
OUTSTANDING DISPLAY OF LOCAL LOVE:
Joshua Tree No-Kill Animal Shelter
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO OUR CULTURE:
Bobby Furst – Furstwurld
Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours
Photos by Billy Folsom. Top to bottom/left to right: Outstanding Folk/Americana Nominee Brad Byrd, Ted Quinn and Joe Garcia, Chris Poland and the California Celts, Outstanding Song Nominees Karma Dealers,
The Voice of Joshua Tree Honoree Victoria Williams.