Saturday, July 6, 2019

Taking Woodstock with Elliot Tiber

Without Elliot Tiber, author of the true-story memoir Taking Woodstock, there would have been no Woodstock. Now that the acclaimed movie from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) is being shown all summer long on national cable channels, this is the perfect time for you to talk with the real-life Elliot Tiber about those amazing times back in 1969—and how, on the eve of the 41st anniversary of the Woodstock festival, things have changed (or not changed) since those times.

• How he managed to convince a narrow-minded town to allow thousands of hippies to celebrate peace, love... and skinny-dipping!
• How, as the Bethel Chamber of Commerce president, Elliot was able to provide the crucial concert permit to the Woodstock organizers, and also how he played a part in helping bring them together with Max Yasgur to lease his farm for the concert in August 1969—after the original festival site in Wallkill, New York fell through.
• What it was like to watch and be a part of the Woodstock phenomenon as it electrified the sleepy little town of Bethel, New York.
• His current plans, which include a busy lecturing schedule; a brand-new memoir he is writing about his pre-Woodstock life experiences titled Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland, and Interior Decorating (to be published by Square One Publishers); and just how things are going these days with his new little Yorkie terrier named “Woody Woodstock.”

If you haven’t yet seen the film or read the book (cowritten by Tom Monte), here’s how it all went down: The summer of 1969 found Elliot Tiber working in Greenwich Village while also trying to make a go with his parents of their broken-down motel in upstate New York. All the while, he managed to keep his gay life a secret from his family. Then something changed, and Tiber found himself forever tied to the wild and tie-dyed revelry that was Woodstock.

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