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NY TIMES: Taking Woodstock made with Woodstock Groove

Posted August 23, 2009

NY TIMES: Taking Woodstock made with Woodstock Groove Image

As Karen Schoemer points out in her New York Times piece fo the Sunday Arts and Leisure section, “Turn ON, Tune In, Turn Back the Clock,” in the case of Ang Lee’s new film, life imitated art (imitated life). The story of how a new generation invaded the small upstate town of Bethel in 1969 for three days of peace, love and music, was told by invaded the small upstate town of New Lebanon for five months of peace, love and filmmaking. As Schoemer points out , the production was launched on a mission of love when it came to integrating with the local citizens:

Mr. Schamus especially was intent on setting a good tone with the locals. He owns a weekend house in Columbia County. He recalled telling the crew: “At the end of the shoot you get to go home, and I’m stuck here like some hostage in a Greek tragedy. If you do anything rude, if you do anything that makes people feel like they’ve been used, I get to go shopping with them for the next 30 years of my life.”

And by all accounts, the filmmaking team won the hearts of the upstate folks. When the film was screening in Chatham, many of the people involved in the production crammed into the local theater:

Inside, as the film was about to begin, Mr. Lee stepped forward. The roar of appreciation might have been heard all the way to Manhattan. He tried to make a speech thanking the crowd, but his microphone kept feeding back. Finally he just said, “This is a real-life Woodstock for me.”

The image from the actor Kevin Sussman's own site gives hint of the happy days last summer.