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Here's mud in your eye.

Life magazine almost didn't send anyone. The New York Times relied on stringers who filed anthropological dispatches explaining what a bad trip it was.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

While the mainstream press in 1969 didn't catch onto Woodstock's cultural significance until after the fact, there's little chance next year's 40th anni will catch anyone unaware.

Many tie-ins are already in the works: Warners is prepping a major reissue of the Oscar-winning doe by Michael Wadleigh. There's another music-filled event being planned near the site of the original concert. Barbara Kopple, who did a doe on the 1994 Woodstock revival, is working on a new doe about the 1969 fest. And original Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang will release a memoir. Also on the theme, Focus Features last week decided to move ahead with "Talking Woodstock," an adaptation of a memoir by Elliot Tiber, who introduced Lang to Max Yasgur, the farmer who rented out his land to the fest at the last minute.

Lang, who was all of 23 during the festival that has come to define his life, laughs when he describes the reception the fest first received from major media.

"It kind of snuck up on everybody," he says. "They were really behind the curve."

Back then, Lang explains, "The underground was a very separate thing from everybody else in those days."

The Gray Lady initially wagged its fingers at the chaotic scene in an Aug. 18. 1969. editorial titled "Nightmare in the Catskills." but by the next day marveled at the courteous behavior of so many stoned young folk.

The media have been making up for their obliviousness ever since, dutifully covering anniversary activities that pop up every five to 10 years.

"It's nice to have all the interest There are so many similarities in terms of what's going on around us and the generation I grew up in," Lang says, citing human rights issues, ecology and the war.

The producer predicts another explosion next summer.

"I think it's going to be huge," he says. "I'm already getting calls from all over."

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Title Annotation:Smoke & Mirror: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE BIZ'S DEALS, DECISIONS AND DIVERSIONS
Author:Garrett, Diane
Publication:Variety
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 11, 2008
Words:342
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