The movie “Taking Woodstock“, scheduled to be released in August 2009 is based on the autobiography of creative writer Elliot Tiber titled Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life. The film offers a new perspective into the groundbreaking festival as well as the social and cultural strife faced by individuals of the era.
Tiber was unaware that that he would be so deeply impactful in the gay and hippie subcultures of the era. The Stonewall riots which he was present for and documented marked a colossal breakthrough in the gay community, while Woodstock 1969 which featured quite possibly the most historic musical lineup of all time. Such icons as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and Joe Cocker performed at Woodstock, making the lineup one of the most legendary in the history of music.
Within the center of the gay movement of New York, Tiber, a professor of fine arts at Hunter College, was staying at the Stonewall Inn during the Stonewall Riots. In June ’69 in a crowd of angry gay men and lesbians flooded the streets, overturned a cop car, and ultimately defined the gay movement within the area.
Tiber had given his barn to the Earthlight Theatre group of Greenwich Village and had converted his casino into an underground cinema which also provided free shelter for struggling artists. Tiber offered a haven for social misfits who were on the edge of society’s knife and would later help orchestrate debatably the largest music festival in history.
Taking Woodstock Back
When the organizers of Woodstock had lost their permit to hold the festival in Wallkill, NY, Tiber contacted the head of the offices Mike Lang and offered to hold the festival on the land surrounding the El Monaco. When Lange stated that the 15 acres would not be large enough for the event, the frazzled Tiber told Lang that his milkman Max Yasgur would likely allow the concert to be held on his farm.
The dairy farmer agreed and Woodstock, billed as “An Aquarian Expostion” was held in Bethel, NY on Yasgur’s 600 acre farm from August 15-18, 1969.
The motion picture based on Tiber’s memoir will feature academy winning director Ang Lee and will star Demetri Martin. Taking Woodstock will tell the story of Woodstock like no other motion picture has by documenting the life of a person at the core of America’s Cultural Revolution.