You can do it all. That’s what we’re told these days, from the time we’re able to un­der­stand lan­guage un­til the mo­ment we run out of life. You can be­come what­ever you want, they say, with a lit­tle luck and hard work - and so au­thor El­liot Tiber did. In his memoir “Af­ter Wood­stock,” he shares.

Though their de­ci­sion to pur­chase and op­er­ate a run-down mo­tel in up­state New York was a dis­as­ter from the be­gin­ning, El­liot Tiber’s par­ents re­fused to give up the “sham­bles of a re­sort” they’d dreamed of own­ing. Tiber, a du­ti­ful Jewish son, “had been sucked into this black hole” four­teen years ear­lier, and he was stuck.

But in the sum­mer of ’69, some­thing “just short of a mir­a­cle” hap­pened: Wood­stock. For more than a week, the mo­tel was full of guests (at $750 a night) and when it was over, the hip­pies were gone, and the mud was cleaned up, the fam­ily was flush with cash.

Seiz­ing op­por­tu­nity, Tiber took his share and left “my largely mis­er­able past be­hind.” He bought a new Cadil­lac and headed for Los An­ge­les, where two friends had in­vited him to live with them in ex­change for dec­o­rat­ing an old man­sion they’d bought. Tiber was also ex­cited to see the HOL­LY­WOOD sign: “the letters weren’t ex­actly straight; well, nei­ther was I.”

Months af­ter ar­riv­ing, though, it was ap­par­ent that Cal­i­for­nia wasn’t the place he ought to be. Tiber’s fa­ther was dy­ing, so Tiber re­turned to New York, mourned his fa­ther, fought with his mother, sold the mo­tel for her, and fell in love with a Bel­gian stu­dent who had to re­turn home af­ter his stud­ies were done. Months later, Tiber fol­lowed An­dré to Europe, learned French, and started writ­ing in earnest: TV skits, movie scripts, and mem­oirs.

But true love never runs smoothly, of course, and though they en­joyed danc­ing at leather clubs to­gether, An­dré started go­ing alone. Tiber never knew ex­actly what An­dré was do­ing but he had his sus­pi­cions, and since a “gay dis­ease” was ru­mored to be cir­cu­lat­ing, Tiber was con­cerned…

Af­ter read­ing “Af­ter Wood­stock,” I think you’ll agree that au­thor El­liot Tiber is the For­rest Gump of gay mem­oirs.

Tiber has done it all: or­ga­nized Wood­stock, crossed the Mafia, hob­nobbed with celebs, made movies, ap­peared on TV, the list goes on and on. It’s al­most ex­haust­ing – maybe be­cause this book could have easily been two books: Tiber packs a lot – an aw­ful lot – into this memoir, which can be over­whelm­ing. Yes, he’s got a wicked funny bone, and yes, this is an ap­peal­ing look at gay life from the Stonewall years for­ward, but it can be too much. While I didn’t not like this book, there were times when I needed a break from that frenzy.

I think stop-and-go read­ers will be able to get past the romp­ish­ness of this tale, and bi­og­ra­phy lovers will easily be able to ig­nore it. If, in fact, you like a lit­tle mad­ness with your memoir, find “Af­ter Wood­stock” and you’ll have it all.

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