Monday, May 25, 2009

Reel People: Demetri Martin is Elliot Tiber

The film is Taking Woodstock, directed by Ang Lee. The script is written by Ang Lee's normal screenwriter/producer James Schamus (who wrote/produced films including Brokeback Mountain, Ride with the Devil, Lust, Caution, Hulk and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The screenplay is based on the book Taking Woodstock by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte.

Elliot Tiber

Elliot Tiber was born in Brooklyn New York in 1935. When Tiber was 20, his parents acquired the El Monoco Hotel in Bethel, New York.

Tiber received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from Hunter College in New York, as well as took Master of Fine Arts classes at Pratt College.

1969 was a big year for Tiber.

The Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969 in Greenwich Village, New York. This event was a riot that was led by Eliot Tiber among others who fought against the police deptment who targeted the Stonewall Inn and the gay and lesbian community in the neighborhood. Tiber was at the Stonewall Inn the night of the riot.

Shortly after the riots, the permitting for the Woodstock festival to be held in Wallkill, New York.
Elliot Tiber was very involved in keeping his families hotel running while eventually becoming a member of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce. When the permitting for the Woodstock festival was denied, Tiber connected with concert promoter Michael Lang who had founded Woodstock Ventures.

Tiber's attained very vague permits earlier for a chamber music event to be held at the Motel. The permits were under the event title of White Lake Music and Arts Festival. Tiber offered up these permits to Lang to be used for the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, held in Bethel, New York.

The motel grounds were not big enough for the concert, but Tiber helped connect Michael Lang to Max Yasgur, a Bethel dairy farmer who's 600 acre dairy farm was the real location for Woodstock, the largest concert event ever featuring over 32 artists over three days with a half million concert goers.

After the success of the event, Tiber sold the motel and moved to Europe, where as a writer he wrote the book Rue Haute, which was directed and adapted by his domestic partner André Ernotte. This book was translated and released in the United States in 1977 with the title High Street. He also went on to write and translate other works of fiction and teleplays.

Tiber also taught creative writing classes, art history, fashion design, and theater for many years at New York University, New York Institute of Technology, and Hunters College.

Taking Woodstock

The film tells Elliot's story as portrayed in his autobiography. Comedian Demitri Martin will play the part of Elliot. His Jewish mother will played by Oscar nominee Imedla Staunton. Comedic actor Eugne Levy will play the dairy farmer Max Yasugar, and Tony award nominee and One Life to Live actor Jonathan Groff plays concert organizer Michael Lang.

The cast of characters further give an indication to the nature of the story. Liev Schreiber plays the part of Vilma a transvestite, Jeffery Dean Morgan plays a married man that Elliot Tiber is having an homosexual relations with during the time of this story. Emile Hirsh plays a returned Vietnam vet named Billy, and Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan play a hippie couple who come to the concert.

I expect this story to be the type of film that that the Academy could embrace, but be very polarizing to the typical film going public. Like most Ang Lee films of late, it's hard to tell how this film will figure into award season.

Could Demetri Martin's portrayal of this influential person in the succes of Woodstock earn an Oscar nomination/win for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?

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