Taking Time: The Road to Woodstock

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Slide 1: Hippies and Homosexuals

Elliot Teichberg, his mother Sonia (Imelda Staunton) and father Jake (Henry Goodman) head off to the bank to forestall foreclosure on the El Monaco Motel.

During the summer of 1969, the gay rights movement that was born out of the Stonewall Riots and hippie culture reached its apex with Woodstock. But what did the angry gay men storming the streets of Greenwich Village on June 28 and happy hippies flocking to Woodstock seven weeks later have in common? Much more than you might think.

In Taking Woodstock, Elliot Teichberg (Demetri Martin) is a young man whose life during that summer of 1969 straddles the gay movement and hippie culture. He leaves his gay life in Greenwich Village to spend the summer of 1969 helping his parents run the El Monaco, a family motel in the Catskills—and a far cry from the Riviera. One day, he reads a headline in the paper: “Wallkill Pulls Permit on Music Festival—Mayor: ‘Hippies not welcome here.’ ” So, Elliot, seeing an opportunity to help the struggling family business, helps bring the music festival that would be known as Woodstock to his hometown of Bethel, N.Y.

1935 Eliyahu Teichberg (whose name is later changed to Elliot Tiber) is born in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish immigrant parents

1955 Jacob (Jake) and Sonia Teichberg, the parents of Elliot Tiber, buy the El Monaco Motel in White Lake, New York and operate it with their son

December 1960 The birth of “The Pill,” a birth-control method that effectively revolutionizes sex

1963 Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique is published, marking the beginning of modern feminism

August 28, 1963 During the Civil Rights March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I have a dream” speech

Nov. 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy is assassinated; Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as President

February 9 and 16, 1964 The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show

July 2, 1964 The Civil Rights Act is passed

August 2, 1964 The Gulf of Tonkin incident in southeast Asia, where the Viet Cong are waging war in South Vietnam and the U.S. has been building up troops, spurs the Senate to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution urging LBJ to wage war against Vietnam without a Declaration of War

February 21, 1965 Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X is assassinated

March 21, 1965 First anti-Vietnam War Teach-In is held

January 14, 1967 “Human Be-In” is held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, drawing @30,000; Timothy Leary coins directive “Turn on, tune in, drop out”

June 16-18, 1967 The Monterey International Pop Festival, held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California, showcases many performers who would also play at Woodstock two years later; @200,000 people attend; the documentary feature Monterey Pop is released the following year

Summer 1967 The Summer of Love unfolds in San Francisco, becoming a flashpoint for the full flowering of the hippie movement as thousands of high-school and college-age students head to the city

March 16, 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam

April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated

June 6, 1968 Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated

January 20, 1969 The inauguration of Richard M. Nixon as President

February 20, 1969 President Nixon approves the bombing of Cambodia

March 11, 1969 Levi’s begins to sell bell-bottomed blue jeans

March 19, 1969 The Chicago 7 are indicted in the aftermath of the previous summer’s violent Chicago Democratic Convention protests

May 15, 1969 University of California officials fence People’s Park in Berkeley despite protests of 3000 people to save it; Governor Ronald Reagan places Berkeley under martial law; one protester is shot and killed

May 23, 1969 The Who release their rock-opera album Tommy

June 22, 1969 Judy Garland dies

June 27-28, 1969 The Stonewall Riots (so named for the Stonewall Inn bar, which was targeted for police harassment) erupt in New York City, marking the beginning of the Gay Liberation movement; Elliot Tiber is among the active participants in the Riots

July 14, 1969 Michael Lang and his fellow producers Joel Rosenman and John Roberts are denied a permit for a music and arts festival in Wallkill, New York

July 15, 1969 Hearing that the festival’s permit has been denied, Elliot Tiber contacts Michael Lang

July 18, 1969 In an accident, Senator Ted Kennedy’s car plunges off the Chappaquiddick Bridge, and his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne dies

July 18, 1969 Festivalgoers begin to arrive and camp out at the festival site

July 20, 1969 The U.S. lands the first man on the moon

August 9, 1969 Members of Charles Manson’s “Family” slay pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in California

August 15-18, 1969 “Woodstock Music & Art Fair presents An Aquarian Exposition in White Lake, N.Y.; 3 Days of Peace & Music;” approximately half a million people attend, and more try and fail to get to the site; performers include Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Country Joe and the Fish, Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Who, and two dozen more acts

September 26, 1969 The Beatles’ final album, Abbey Road, is released

November 15, 1969 250,000 people peacefully demonstrate against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C.

December 6, 1969 The Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway in California, where Hell’s Angels were hired as security, sees violent fighting break out and four people die; footage from the concert is seen the following year in the documentary feature Gimme Shelter

March 1970 Michael Wadleigh’s three-hour documentary Woodstock is released, as is the film’s soundtrack

April 10, 1971 Woodstock does not win the Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound, but the picture does win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature