Attendees Say Film Gets It Right

'Taking Woodstock' Reaction

Director Captured Spirit Of Woodstock, Say Local Residents Who Were There

August 28, 2009|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

In "Taking Woodstock," director Ang Lee gets the vibes of Woodstock right - everything from the camaraderie and the sense of oneness to the tripping and the sense of freedom.

So says Trudy Morgul, who was at Woodstock in a VW bus designed by pop painter and muralist Bob Hieronimus. An Associated Press photographer even took a picture of her and three friends, sitting in and on the bus. That image appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the country.

"The movie really put me in the mood to go right back there," says Morgul, 65. "Mostly, I think everyone that went there will love this movie."

So, too, does Hieronimus, who might not have actually made it to Woodstock (too many people, with too much potential for hassle, he says), but was certainly there in spirit. And he's continued to channel that spirit for much of the past four decades, as one of Baltimore's most visible, not to mention most amiable, links to the hippie generation.

"The film has the same energy as Woodstock," says Hieronimus, 65, co-host with his wife, Zoh, of "21st Century Radio" on WCBM-AM. "I know that not because I was there, but because that was part of the consciousness of so many of us. The energy of the people in the film really felt like the energy of the people that were there. How they did that, I don't know."

Morgul was a member of the Baltimore-based rock group Light, whose leader, Bob Grimm (who would later join the Four Seasons), had commissioned Hieronimus to paint the bus. Grimm and Morgul headed to Woodstock with the band's drummer, Rick Peters (who died in 1998), and Grimm's girlfriend at the time, Lynn McCracken. Morgul remembers Woodstock much as Lee presents it, as an idyllic time filled with possibilities, unburdened by any sense of the practical. It was, she insists, as wonderful as people say it was.

"It was a nice bunch of people," she says. "To really feel at home, with so many people like yourself - I mean, you felt like you knew everybody. You'd be hassled if you tried to hassle somebody. ... It just wasn't the kind of setting to be mad at anybody or to start any trouble. If your girlfriend went out with someone, go out and find yourself a boyfriend. It was not a time to just sit there by yourself and mope about anything."

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