Authors: Elliot Tiber, with Tom Monte
Publisher: Square One Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7570-0333-2

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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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