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September 6, 2009 | Cristy Lytal
Shaun Duffy and Sophia Costas never suspected they'd chosen a career path that would eventually require them to find 6,000 people willing to grow out their body hair. "A lot of the looking for extras in 'Taking Woodstock' was about hair," said Costas, who, along with Duffy, served as extras casting director on director Ang Lee's new film about the landmark music and cultural event. "We couldn't have any really short haircuts. And because several people appear nude in the movie, we also had to make sure that they had hair in all the right places!"
August 27, 2009 | Susan King
Rock 'n' roll is in the air this weekend as the American Cinematheque screens a Frank Zappa double feature: 1971's "200 Motels " and 1979's " Baby Snakes" tonight at the Aero Theatre. And on Friday the Aero will show a new 35-millimeter print of director Michael Wadleigh's cut of his 1970 Oscar-winning "Woodstock ," with an introduction by Hal Lifson, pop culture historian and author of "1966! The Coolest Year in Pop Culture History." 'Night Flight' salute Meanwhile, the Don't Knock the Rock 2009 festival winds up tonight at the Silent Movie Theatre with a tribute to "Night Flight," the seminal late-night show from 1981 that included music videos, short films, cartoons, interviews, concerts and cult movies.
August 27, 2009 | Rachel Abramowitz
Clearly, Woodstock was more than just a festival. For the more than 500,000 concertgoers who made the trip to that dairy farm in upstate New York 40 years ago, it was a three-day invocation that summoned up music as a shackle-busting experience, an uncorking of generational exuberance, aided along by a massive amount of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Director Ang Lee's experience with the event, however, was much more subdued but transformative nonetheless. It came via an old black-and-white TV. He was a 14-year-old middle schooler in Taiwan, studying docilely and relentlessly for his high-school entrance exam.
There are roughly half a million valid Woodstock stories, personal ones of lives transformed by the three days of peace, love, drugs, music and mud experienced by the masses who made their way to Max Yasgur's Catskills dairy farm for the legendary festival in the summer of '69. Director Ang Lee has chosen just one for "Taking Woodstock," a meticulously rendered and achingly authentic portrait of a time and a place that is, by turns, sweeping and...
August 15, 2009 | Paul Lieberman
The statute of limitations should protect us from prosecution, so let the truth be told -- we used anti-poverty funds to buy the Frankly Dankly bus in the landmark summer of '69. One of our group still insists we "passed the hat" to pay for the thing. But he's a respectable lawyer now, so we'll allow him that fog of memory. Everyone else is willing to 'fess up that we dipped into money intended to help the poor to procure the oil-leaking school bus we saw sitting in a lot with a "For Sale" sign.
"Revolution" is not a word you hear used seriously in America nowadays, possibly because of all the promised revolutions that failed or possibly because it has become co-opted, commercialized and devalued ("a revolution in hair care," that sort of thing). It was not so long ago, however, by geological time, that it evoked something more tangible: a real and imminent change in the way the world was run and who ran it in a time when the country seemed poised on the edge of several sorts of civil war and the culture was perpetually convulsive.
August 9, 2009 | Steve Appleford
Big things happened for Arlo Guthrie in '69. That was the year he got married, bought his farm in western Massachusetts and starred in "Alice's Restaurant," a Hollywood movie based on his popular talkin' blues anthem. And 40 years ago this week, the folk singer also landed at Yasgur's Farm, facing a crowd of nearly half a million at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. He still hears about that one.
August 9, 2009 | Randy Lewis
Even considering just the live performances during those celebrated "three days of peace and music" 40 years ago, Woodstock remains a magnificent cultural Rorschach test. Baby boomers tout it as the pinnacle of unfettered experimentation that characterized the 1960s. Many members of the punk and post-punk generations still sneer at what can come across as the bombastic self-indulgence of the classic-rock era.
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