The festival, staged on Max Yasgur’s farm in August 1969, was a high point of the youth counterculture movement.
Tiber, who just turned 80, wrote a bestselling and hilarious “stranger-than-fiction” memoir about the event called “Taking Woodstock” (co-written by Tom Monte). An acclaimed 2009 feature film followed by two-time Oscar winning director Ang Lee.
The film is slowly becoming a cult classic. Elliot was portrayed by comedian Demetri Martin, who re-enacted Tiber’s acid trip during the concert. Watching the scene has become a rite of passage for college kids.
Elliott Tiber’s Prequel
Palm Trees on the Hudson
With publication of his “prequel” memoir in early 2011, “Palm Trees on the Hudson,” Tiber tells the winning story of his near-decade rise to the top of the line as a chic Manhattan interior decorator and designer.
He also tells of his one-time meeting with Judy Garland in May 1968 aboard a boozed-up cruise ship where a mobster’s birthday party that Tiber designed had gone terribly awry. Garland did much to save both his life and his sense of self. “Judy taught me that ‘home’ was not some farmhouse in Kansas, or my parents’ apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn,” Tiber recalls. “Home is a place inside yourself that is filled with comfort, with joy, with confidence, and with love.”
For nearly two years after publication of “Palm Trees in the Hudson,” Tiber was very much without that special home inside of himself. Beset by months of depression, some bouts of bad health involving angioplasty, and the fear that he might not have anything left to give, he found himself talking with his publisher, Square One’s president Rudy Shur. The net result was his latest book.
Although he’s best known as “Woodstock Daddy,” Tiber’s life after the concert became another long, strange trip, and he’s documented his experience in his latest book, “After Woodstock.”
Square One Publisher President Rudy Shur recalls the day the book idea sprang to mind.
‘I found myself talking with Elliot on the phone one day,” notes Shur. “He was telling me about his years after the Woodstock summer of ’69, and I was nearly knocked off my seat by the immensity of experience that he had gone through.”
“During those years, Elliot had done many things. He wrote a hit TV show, penned a bestselling novel, created an award-winning motion picture and staged a well-received off-Broadway play,” he said.
Shur asked if Tiber would write another book “and that’s how ‘After Woodstock’ came to life,” he told TheImproper in an interview.
“After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown” is a glorious feast of a book.
It has already received rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist, and has also been blessed with an enthusiastic Foreword by director Ang Lee.
Lee calls the book “by turns a brave, hilarious, mortifying, and heartbreaking story.”
Tiber covers in amazingly personal detail the world of the entertainment industry, together with a deeply personal and often beautiful love story with the love of his life, the late Belgian playwright and director, André Ernotte.
“Revisiting my time with André,” recalls Tiber, “was as delicious for me as it was painful. I also had to relive and recapture the terror of the AIDS crisis as it began to hit in the early 1980s.
“Going back proved to be nearly unbearable to me, but it was the only way that I was going to move forward,” he said.
Through it all, though, Tiber still goes for the laugh. Some things may never change, but his innate humor remains a constant.
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