The Ultimate Culture Guide 2009: T

Taking Stock

Forty years ago this August, a half-million people gathered on Max Yasgur’s farm near Woodstock for a three-day concert celebrating peace, music, and the Age of Aquarius. This summer the stardusted memories come flooding back, with a host of books, movies, and events commemorating the watershed fest.

Director Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, opening in August, tells the true story of a young man who puts up a troupe of idealist festival organizers at his family’s Catskills hotel. And Michael Wadleigh’s influential Woodstock documentary is being reissued in June with two hours of extra performance footage, some of it rarely seen.

On the publishing front, festival founder Michael Lang’s memoir, The Road to Woodstock (Ecco), comes out in July. A multimedia package titled The Woodstock Experience (Genesis), available in June, features works by psychedelic artist Peter Max and writings by Paul Krassner, the Merry Prankster. And Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel, Inherent Vice (Penguin), due out in August, doesn’t address Woodstock directly, but its depiction of hazy, late-sixties optimism curdling to paranoia is solidly on topic.

No one is more immersed in keeping the Woodstock dream alive than Lang, who hopes to organize a free concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. “You can’t re-create that time,” he says, “but the Obama inauguration had that same special atmosphere. There’s a real sense of possibility and hope, especially when contrasted against such dire times.”


Dasha Zhukova, 27, is a former model, entrepreneur, the very rich girlfriend of billionaire Roman Abramovich, and, since February, editor of the London-based cult fashion magazine Pop. Most important, she’s now the Russian art world’s It Girl thanks to her new Moscow exhibition space, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.

True Blood

The prince of darkness is back, and it has nothing to do with HBO or those teen Twilight books. Dacre Stoker, a great-grandnephew of Dracula author Bram Stoker, got a $1 million-plus advance to write a sequel with historian Ian Holt called Dracula: The Un-Dead, to be published by Dutton Books in October.

Trilogy’s End

After wowing Paris with his installation of art and antiques at the Ecole des Beaux Arts chapel last fall, Belgian dealer-decorator Axel Vervoordt will stage “In-finitum” at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, June 7 to November 22, the last of three special thematic shows.