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

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

by Elliot Tiber, Tom Monte

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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 on Friday, June 28, Elliot walked into the Stonewall Inn—and witnessed the riot that would galvanize the American gay movement and enable him to take stock of his own lifestyle. And on July 15, when Elliot learned that the Woodstock Concert promoters were unable to stage the show in Wallkill, he offered to find them a new venue. Soon he was swept up in a vortex that would change his life forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780757053337
Publisher: Square One Publishers
Publication date: 05/09/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 424,205
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Elliot Tiber (April 15, 1935–August 3, 2016) was a gay rights pioneer who wrote and produced numerous award-winning plays and musical comedies. As a professor of comedy writing and performance, he taught at the New School and Hunter College in Manhattan. His first novel, Rue Haute, was a bestseller in Europe, and was published in the United States as High Street. The novel was made into a 1976 French-language feature film adapted and directed by coauthor and partner André Ernotte. As a humorist, Mr. Tiber appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, BBC, and CNBC, as well as on television shows in Franch, England, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Belgium, and elsewhere throughout the world.

Mr. Tiber's memoir Taking Woodstock, which he wrote with Tom Monte, was first published in 2007 and was soon after turned into a feature film by director Ang Lee. He is also the author of another memoir that explored his life before Woodstock called Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland, and Interior Decorating. In addition to his work as a writer, Tiber was a highly sought-after lecturer who appeared in many international venues. In his final years, Mr. Tiber lived in the Miami Beach section of Florida, where he continued his work as a writer; a painter; and a humorist.

A national best-selling writer, counselor, and teacher of natural healing methods,Tom Monte is a leading voice in the natural health movement. He has written and co-authored more than thirty books and many hundreds of articles on virtually every area of health. Among his bestsellers are Recalled by Life, Living Well Naturally, and Natural Prozac. Tom has lectured and conducted transformational programs throughout the United States and around the world. His eight-month Healer’s Program, based in New York City and Orval, Belgium, trains practitioners in the useof highly effective natural methods for healing body, mind, and spirit. The Healer’s Program is also an experience in personal transformation. Tom also conducts workshops that focus on healing the heart and personal relationships.He lives with his wife, Toby, in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents


1. Lost in White Lake
2. The Teichberg Curse
3. My “Other” Life
4. Digging a Deeper Grave While Laughing Hysterically
5. Stonewall and the Seeds of Liberation
6. The Golden Goose Lands at the El Monaco
7. The World Is Made Anew
8. The First Wave
9. White Lake Rebels
10. Everyone Wants a Piece of the Pie
11. The Day Is Saved
12. Taking Woodstock


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Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
sara00 More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong, this book is very well written; however, it definitely caught me off guard. I was about 100 and some pages into the book and Woodstock had yet to even be mentioned. The book is more about a man learning he is homosexual, and the struggles he faces. I am not the type of person to stop reading a book half-way into it, but I just really didn't want to read anymore about this man's sex life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book...ALMOST went to woodstock....lived in the area in the early 70's...time period brings back lots of memories....loved the book..a must read....just too funny!
iammbb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not for the prudish or homophobic.But so long as you don't belong to either of those two groups, this book appeals.Many of the anecdotes beg disbelief and, of course, since most of the players are deceased, there's no real fact checking to be done but Tiber's story is an aspect of Woodstock that hasn't been previously explored.How and why The Woodstock Music & Art Festival ended up 50 miles from Woodstock is yet another piece in the improbable, nay, impossible event that took place nonetheless.As a baby boomer who was 7 years old at the time, my knowledge of Woodstock was woefully lacking and Tiber's book is an intriguing, if at times appalling, introduction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very entertaining book. It just isn't about the history of the most famous outdoor rock concert, but it is also about Tiber's colorful life. Not boring. Very interesting and in some parts very funny. Highly recommended.
ProReviewing More than 1 year ago
This buoyant, upbeat memoir is a vivid record of one young man's emergence from relative obscurity to becoming number one facilitator of one of the greatest rock festivals of all times. Taking Woodstock tells of how Elliot Tiber worked his way up from being a much put upon youngster, subjected to his own mother's verbal abuse as well as to the prejudices of broader society, to using his leverage as President of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce to arrange for the translocation of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival to his own home town, on the shores of White Lake in Napier County, upstate New York. Elliot's ability to triumph over the odds that so many times seemed stacked against him provides the backbone to the book. From a position as an underdog, feeling isolated and estranged, he tells of how his growing awareness that there were others like him in the world enabled him to express his pent-up rage in the Stonewall riots. He grows in stature throughout the book, from being a kid whose only form of close physical contact is being groped in a movie theater, through his encounters with such leading cultural figures as Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Robert Mapplethorpe, to becoming a leading Manhattan interior designer who is single-handedly able to rescue his motel, the El Monaco, from the brink of financial collapse through his own foresight and determination. His relationship with his Dad grows, too, to one where they come to view each other with an equal degree of love and respect. Exposing his vulnerabilities to his readership, Elliot succeeds in conveying an overall sense of purpose and meaning in his life, despite his tending to downplay the importance of his own actions. Encountering a myriad of obstacles, he shows how he was able to overcome each one in turn. But this is not a moral tale-in fact, the more conservative readership might even regard parts of the narrative as leaning towards the immoral, or even the amoral. And, oh boy, he certainly doesn't mince words about his exploits, including, above all, his penchant for S&M sex (one of the bungalows at his motel, he does not hesitate to tell us, was dedicated to the pursuance of such ends during the six weeks surrounding the Woodstock mega-event). The spirit wins out in all respects over the flesh, though, and this tale is a triumphant and joyous one. This edition of Taking Woodstock was brought out to commemorate the 41st anniversary of Woodstock and the continued popularity of the film by the same name, directed by the Oscar-winning Ang Lee, and which is based on Elliot's account of events. Taking Woodstock should appeal to all those who have empathy with the gay cause, as well as to all those who are interested in the iconic legends of the second half of the twentieth century.
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300flowers More than 1 year ago
This book should be called "Taking Woodstock and Did I Mention I'm Gay?" In a classic case of oversharing, the first half of the book describes in detail the author's sex life beginning when he's eleven years old. And when he finally gets around to talking about Woodstock, he still finds it necessary to remind us every couple of pages that he's gay. Okay, we get it but that's not what we bought the book for. I found the Woodstock part (what there was of it) interesting but the rest was just TMI.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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 remembrance of that great music festival. Also an awesome unique feature that this reviewer really likes is the reversible dust jacket¿one side conservative, the other psychedelic. This feature, according to Square One¿s publisher Rudy Shur in Publishers Weekly, represents ¿The notion of duality [that] has been a central theme throughout Elliot¿s life, and we wanted the book to represent that notion of difference in a very direct and colorful way.' So whichever trip you decide to take, this is one you¿ll never forget.
Cisley More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up a while back but haven't had time to read much lately. Among the 50-75 books I do have to read, I decided on this one. It was a fascinating look into the life of a young gay man unsure of himself in his youth and young adulthood, and suddenly, being in the right place at the right time (his parents hotel) the person who made Woodstock happen in Bethel NY, at Max's farm. One of the best, most original and interesting memoirs I have read in a while.