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Paperback Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life Book

ISBN: 0757003338

ISBN13: 9780757003332

Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life

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Book Overview

Taking Woodstock is the funny, touching, and true story of Elliot Tiber, the man who was instrumental in arranging the site for the original Woodstock Concert. Elliot, whose parents owned an upstate New York motel, was working in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1969. He socialized with the likes of Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and yet somehow managed to keep his gay life a secret from his family. Then...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Taking Woodstock

Entertaining, fast moving story about being gay in the 60's, a background on how Woodstock came to be, and an excellent snapshot of the era. Based on a true story, this book shows indeed, that truth is stranger than fiction. The scenes range from bizarre to wildly hilarious. The author touches on the many issues and nuances of the time without getting weighed down by them. I found it a thoughtful rendition of Woodstock experience, from an entirely different perspective. An easy read, I read it in a day.

"It takes a village" ... and half a million people

The above would be an appropriate subtitle for this heartfelt but energetic and witty coming-of-age autobiography/memoir by Elliot Tiber, whose main claim to fame is that he fought the petty politics and narrow-mindedness of his small town of Bethel, NY, in order to make possible the Woodstock Festival in 1969. The author (born Eliyahu Teichberg) grew up in the richly ethnic neighborhood of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn in an emotionally-starved but hardworking family with his Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. His father worked as a roofer, while his mother ran a housewares store in which they all helped out. Elliot finished college and began a moderately successful career in art design, primarily starting out dressing store windows and painting murals for rich Manhattanites. A trip to the Catskills resulted in the family buying a run-down motel right off Highway 17B at White Lake, in the town of Bethel NY, and Elliot found himself splitting his time, working weekdays in NYC and spending weekends doing whatever had to be done to keep the motel operational and barely financially afloat. At the same time, Elliot came to the realization that he was gay, and - for whatever reason - favored the underground S & M flavored scene that existed in NYC in the mid 1960's. He met and partied with Robert Mapplethorpe, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and even encountered Rock Hudson at one point. Of course, coming out to his conservative parents wasn't an option for him at the time, but his "secret life" during the week somewhat served to make bearable the weekends at the motel, scrubbing toilets and dealing with customer complaints (The Teichbergs cut a few corners in customer service. For example, they had phones in each room, but they weren't connected to anything. The TV was an empty box, as was the air conditioner sleeve below the window. Need soap and a towel? It'll cost ya extra, but you're lucky you made it in today, since Dad has hosed off your sheets - the only cleaning they ever got - just yesterday.) In early 1969, Elliot read with interest the news accounts that the promoters of the planned Woodstock Music and Art Festival had been denied a permit by the town of Walkill, their planned location. As president (nobody else wanted the job) of Bethel's Chamber of Commerce, he had the authority to issue festival permits, and contacted the promoters about the possibility of moving the festival to Bethel, and offered the meadow of a friend, dairy farmer Max Yasgur, as the perfect venue. Much of the book details the whirlwind events that followed, as the festival took on a life of its own, eventually attracting around 500,000 people to the small town, resulting in threats by locals, payoffs to those who opposed it, nudity, drugs, gangsters, people bathing in the lake, shortages of food and water, but - despite it all - the most historic event in music and counterculture history, after which nothing would ever be the same again for Elliot and h

Totally awesome and even far out and groovy!

Born Eliyahu Teichberg, poor Elli struggles to break what he calls the "Teichberg Curse" and changes his name to Elliot Tiber--hoping that would break the curse. Always on the brink of financial ruin and trying to hide his deepest secret, he dreams of the miracle that would change his life. In 1969, he got that miracle. Manager of his Jewish parents' failing resort hotel El Monaco in White Lake, New York on the weekends, Elliot runs during the week to Greenwich Village where he can live the life he chooses as an interior designer and meeting the likes of Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Robert Mapplethorpe--all the while keeping his gay life a secret from his family. That is, until June 28, 1969, when he finds himself at the Stonewall Inn and the famous "Stonewall Riot" that would revolutionize the gay culture breaks out. With a newfound boldness, he finds out in July that the town of Wallkill has revoked the permit for the Woodstock festival. So he contacts Mike Lang, the concert's promoter, to offer his 15 acres for the concert. While Elliot hopes this is the miracle he has been waiting for, Mike Lang and his entourage arrive by helicopter but they end up feeling that the swampland of his resort hotel won't work for the concert. Tiber assures Lang and company that, since he has been the president of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce and has held a concert and art show for the past few years, he can get the necessary concert permit. Quickly, he calls his good friend Max Yasgur--who supports everything Elli does and only lives four miles up the road--and asks him to hold the concert. Elli explains to Mike that Max has a dairy farm on a hundred acres--more than enough to hold a concert. Arrangements are made and, before he knows it, Elli is caught up in the magic that will change his life forever. He is introduced to the hippie scene where everyone is accepted no matter who or what you are and learns he can love himself. Whoa! Totally awesome and even far out and groovy! This book is absolutely amazing! This reviewer couldn't put it down--in fact, read it twice before writing this review. If you've ever dreamed of being at Woodstock or even if you were there, the author Elliot Tiber will take you back. The Sixties will come alive and you won't want the trip to end! But that is only part of the story, as Elliot takes you through the time of his troubled past and describes in perfect word pictures the struggles of his secret life, his childhood, the insanity of running the hotel resort, and dealing with bigoted locals who persecute him because of his Jewish heritage. In the end, you'll feel you know everyone and that you were there, too. See Woodstock through the eyes of someone who lived it, who helped bring it to life - you'll never look at this period of history the same again. Don't pass this one by, as this autobiography guarantees to be one of the best reads of 2007 and is to be released just in time for the media's annual August reme

An Interesting Read

Being just a bit too young to have lived the Woodstock experience, I have been left to rely on the tales of others, mainly from an audience point of view. Having read Tiber's accounts of the experience from conception to fruition, brings a new appreciation for the era, the event and the effect on those who were a part of it.

Here's the Woodstock story that we HAVEN'T heard yet!

This book was recommended to me by a friend who had read about it in the Cindy Adams gossip column, of all places. Having just finished reading it, all I can say is that Woodstock wouldn't even have happened if Elliot Tiber hadn't found the courage (and the chutzpah) to contact the Woodstock organizers and help them get a permit to stage a show at Max Yasgur's farm (yes, THAT Yasgur's farm). First of all, this book comes with double dust jacket covers - there's one cover (and an author photo of Tiber) that is very sedate, while the inside cover is full-tilt psychedelic madness accompanied with a photo of Tiber in all his hippie splendor. This book is a very quick and easy read. The story moves along very smoothly, revealing the agony and the ecstasy of Tiber's life as he explores his homosexuality in New York City with the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe and Truman Capote (just to name two of the more famous paramours with whom Tiber shared a night or two). Equally interesting is how Elliot managed to live a closeted existence every weekend while helping his demanding "old world" Jewish parents try to make a go of their motel, the El Monaco. This motel makes the Waco compound look like Disneyland by comparison - it's a miracle that Tiber didn't lose his mind in addition to losing his money by staying there all those years. Something I didn't expect to run across in this book is Elliot's participation in the 1969 Stonewall Riot that essentially gave birth to the Gay Liberation movement in America. It's very interesting to see how entwined the struggles for gay rights and the setting of a "peace and love" concert really were - and Tiber stands as the thread-line between the two. More about finding one's self in America than just sex, drugs, and rock `n roll (don't worry, though - there's plenty of that to go around in this book!), TAKING WOODSTOCK is a story whose time has certainly come.

Taking Woodstock Mentions in Our Blog

Taking Woodstock in We Are Stardust, We Are Golden
We Are Stardust, We Are Golden
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 14, 2019

Woodstock 2019 might be cancelled, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the 50th anniversary of the renowned 1969 music festival. Woodstock was more than just a concert. It is a cultural touchstone, emblematic of the peace-loving, youth movement for change the 1960s and 70s.

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