Joshua Tree offers cosmic shows, but few brave openings

Artist and curator Wendy Lee Gadzuk stands next to her artwork at La Matadora Gallery. The Mothership Art opening was on Pi Day, aka March 14 from 6-9 p.m.

The second-Saturday Downtown Nights art shows in Joshua Tree are usually packed with visitors. Last weekend the shows went on, but many visitors stayed home.

The handful of art lovers who attended the art shows were advised to keep their social distance, as signs posted across the Art Queen reminded folks enjoying the live music and art on display.

A hand sanitizer station was set up outside the food and drink station at the Art Queen studios. It offered a homemade solution of alcohol and aloe, as bottled hand sanitizer is currently worth its weight in gold, with most stores out of stock.

New Orleans native musician Lenny Jorns took the stage solo at the Art Queen.

In the gathering space on a typical Saturday, there would be a dozen or more people feeling the vibes and grooves, but this time it was an audience of a few people. It was a night that otherwise would have been packed with people eager to hear this one-of-a-kind musical show.

Jorns is an accomplished musician and songwriter who has played venues across Nashville, the Crossroads Music Festival in Memphis and the famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He has also worked as a session bassist with Melissa Etheridge, Grammy nominee Pat McLaughlin and John Carter Cash.

At the Art Queen, the show titled “Mirroz — Reflections in Reality” featured the work of fine artist Ryan Laing Holland, who is based at Cruz Studio Art in Rancho Mirage.

“My mission as a fine art painter is to progress the ethics and reality of art. I have taken on the alter ego of Cruz Studios to embody art in a form that is beyond human and give an experience that is out of body to transcend the mind. This experience I present in Mirroz,” Holland said of his art.

Holland said this exhibit consists of views and perspectives, using edgy styles and spacey visuals.

“Is life the way you really see it?” the artist asks.

At La Matadora Gallery, a small crowd gathered for the art party with live music, including a special guest performance by Alien Probe. Several of the band’s musicians were also featured in the art show, including Tony Buhagiar, Beth Allen and drummer Shawn Shonzie Smith.

La Matadora encouraged attendees to, “Feel free to wear your space suits and alien masks” during the art party. A few people dressed up for the occasion. They also asked people online to be cautious about everyone’s health.

“If you’re feeling sick and/or immune compromised, please stay home,” the gallery Facebook page stated.

The gallery’s show, “Mothership Art,” offered a cosmic space-themed collection of work by 23 artists.

If art lovers missed the show, curator Wendy Gadzuk has put together a preview online:

La Matadora Gallery also had hand sanitizer available. They carefully wiped down after every Square transaction and people were careful also to keep a distance while viewing the art in the show.

(1) comment


A big thank you to EVERYONE who visited any, or all of the venues. Also, thanks to the Hi-Desert Star and Ms. Jenna Hunt for their comittment to the arts. One day soon things will be better and, I hope to be a part of it.

Adversity can mess with your mind, but not with your heart.

All the best, L.P.Jorns

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