Forty years ago this summer, an army of ungroomed idealists invaded upstate New York for a three-day concert that changed the world. Ang Lee's latest film, Taking Woodstock, pays homage to that moment, and during last night's Gilt Groupe and Quintessentially-sponsored screening, the weather gods seemed to be in on it, providing an amplified bass line of thunder and the kind of heavy rain that makes for a rip-roaring good time in the mud. "Just not inside the theater, I hope," Lee cautioned.
Speaking of: It turns out the film's re-enactments of Woodstock's famous free-for-alls weren't entirely authentic. "It was mud mixed with cooking oil, so that we could slip faster," lead Demetri Martin revealed. Guests happily slid into theme, with Erin Fetherston and some pals spilling out of a colorful VW bus splashed with psychedelic swirls and Claire Danes and cast member Emile Hirsch posing for photographers holding the daisies that were being handed out at the door. And at the after-party at the Bowery Hotel, there were almost enough headbands and flower-girl dresses for a Summer of Love, round two.
Perhaps more than his co-stars, Liev Schreiber was in his element. "My mom and dad were big hippies and I spent time on communes," the actor recalled. "I just remember the smell of soybeans everywhere. People were making all sorts of strange things out of soybeans: food, clothing, paper, everything. I suppose if I'd gone to military school, maybe I'd be pining for something like Woodstock. But I'm certainly pining for what it represents, and I think that's what Ang was really after with the film."