Sunday, January 10, 2010

Taking Woodstock Again

Last week we watched the film Taking Woodstock about Elliot Tiber, who ostensibly saved the Woodstock Music Festival from disintegrating when it was booted out of Wallkill, NY, by inviting the organizers to hold it at his family’s property in White Falls. The film is directed by Ang Lee and it’s based on Tiber’s book (same title), which is an autobiographical account of the chain of events leading up to Woodstock, as he remembers it, and about how it changed his life as well as the lives of an entire generation. One of the greatest regrets of my life is that I didn’t go to Woodstock. I turned 15 the week after Woodstock took place and even though I lived in Upstate New York, very near to the event, I was too young and undeveloped for it. Had I been two years older, I would have been dancing in the mud.

The movie meticulously captured the details of the time and place so exceptionally well that every scene resonated with me; not only because I was part of the Woodstock generation, but also because I grew up in Upstate New York. At one point, I blurted to Ron, “Oh my gosh, I can smell that!” The hippies and the free love movement, the Viet Nam vets returning to the impossible task of picking up their lives, the various responses of the older generation to the hippie movement (from Max Yasgur, who was deeply moved by the hippies, to the conservative townspeople of White Falls, who would have shot the hippies all dead if they could have gotten away with it), the visionaries who organized Woodstock based on good vibes, etc.

I do not write this as a movie review. Or a book review. This is a few words from an aging former pseudo hippie to say I remember that time, I appreciate being reminded of exactly what it felt like, and I have to agree with Elliot Tiber, Max Yasgur, and Ang Lee, that Woodstock did change the world.

Here is the link to the Wikipedia entry about the book and movie.
Here is the link to more about Ang Lee's movie.
Here is the link to the movie trailer.

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