cover image 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

Elliot Tiber, . . Square One, $24.95 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-7570-0293-9

Ahumble motel owner and his parents become the heroes in carrying off the momentous 1969 Woodstock rock concert in Tiber’s occasionally improbable yet thoroughly entertaining tale. Tiber, né Teichberg of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, put on hold his personal ambition in the mid-1950s as an artist to help his aging Old World Jewish parents run their ramshackle resort motel in White Lake, deep in the Catskill Mountains. Hounded by the guilt that he can’t live up to his parents’ standards and riven by his own covert homosexuality, Tiber pokes fun at what he calls the Teichberg Curse, a scourge that won’t allow the family to escape financial ruin. As head of the Chamber of Commerce in his small town, and possessed of the yearly permit to hold summer music concerts, Tiber gets wind of rock concert promoter Michael Lang’s need for a venue to hold the Woodstock festival. A month of frenzied preparations ensues as Max Yasgur’s farm is secured, the anticipated numbers swell, and tensions grow in the town. Yet the planning of the concert makes up only one part of Tiber’s very human story, which includes affecting side chapters on brushes with artists (Mark Rothko, Robert Mapplethorpe) and standing defiant when the cops raided the West Village gay bar Stonewall. (Aug.)