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Elliot Tiber Publishes 'Prequel' to 'Taking Woodstock'

Elliot Tiber, the Greenwich Village interior designer who helped facilitate the legendary Woodstock rock festival in 1969 and whose story was told in the film Taking Woodstock, has published a 'prequel' to the memoirs that formed the basis to that film.

Tiber69 Tiber talks to Publishers Weekly about Palm Trees on the Hudson:

"Maybe I’m too cranky now at 75, but it seems that many younger members of today’s gay/lesbian community take their current freedoms for granted. I always knew I was gay, but there was really no “choice” at all for many of us in the 1950s and ’60s. We often had to remain closeted just to remain safe. Coming out in the summer of 1969 was the most dangerous yet liberating thing that ever happened to me. That summer lit a fire in my head, and the flame has never gone out. But that epiphany does not happen for me in this new 'prequel' book. Instead, I take time to show all readers—gay, straight, whatever—just how painful and often unbearably lonely it was for American gay men in those years. I also write about my frustrating experiences with psychotherapy during those years. Back then, it was either 'Story Time with Dr. Freud' or the ingestion of any number of pills designed to make you feel better for being who you were. If so many people hadn’t been hurt back then by the misguided theories and practices of shrinks, it would actually be funny. I put a lot of humor into those memories throughout the book—it has always been easier for me to deal with life by turning tragedy into laughter. As for the New York Times recognizing me as a 'gay rights icon,' I figure it’s about time! [laughs]"

More of the interview HERE.

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  1. Back then gay men were given drugs because society at large hated Gay men and forced the drugs on them, now gay men take drugs because they hate themselves. With messages all over the place about how bad drugs are and how much Gay men are loved one would think Gay men would be drug free; they're not. Go figure.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 10, 2011 12:01:28 PM

  2. What Elliot says is sad, but true.

    "Back then" it was agonizing for some of us homosexuals. I don't recall that I ever heard the term gay, but I certainly knew the queer label.

    I am about the same vintage as Tiber. At least he was in Manhattan.

    Talk about remaining in the closet just to be safe; can you imagine what it was like for some of us who lived in the provincial small towns of fly-over country?

    Posted by: Bruce | Jan 10, 2011 12:01:57 PM

  3. Gay men take drugs for many of the same reasons straight people take drugs. While there may be some additional influences, we shouldn't discount the fact that the lion's share of the motivation to take drugs may be applied to someone of any orientation.

    Sigh... Tiber sure was a handsome lad in '69, wasn't he?

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jan 10, 2011 12:41:48 PM

  4. Hope the inevitable film is as good as TAKING WOODSTOCK!

    Posted by: Wirrrn | Jan 10, 2011 1:25:28 PM

  5. It's interesting that this piece is about older gay guys talking about younger gay guys and then a commentor has the audacity to suggest that there are no non-druggy gays. Well, here is one and I know many many others who are drug free. And while some of us may go a little overboard on the drinking weekends, most are light to social drinkers. Why must the community that is constantly fighting stereotypes insist on typing members of its own community? I'm 26 by the way and have friends of many ages who do not do drugs - exclamation point.

    Posted by: Justice | Jan 19, 2011 10:03:18 AM

  6. I'm Elliot's age - from Manhattan (Mexico now) and enjoyed all the spots/activities he did in his day (Including both of Judy's concerts - I'm halfway through "Palm Trees . . .") - nights and weekends only. Weekdays were of necessity closety-days. Still, I lost promotions, opportunities, etc in my field (travel)because I wouldn't lie .Wasn't fun - However, never did drugs - Drinks on Fire Island, however. . .

    Posted by: Allen | Jul 28, 2011 7:28:05 AM

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