Outside Reading — It’s Your Trip, So Be My Guest edition

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The Triumph and Tragedy of Woodstock’s Forgotten Album Producer by David Browne

The fiftieth anniversary shabby clone version of the famed Aquarian Exposition hilariously collapsed this week, sparing the universe the weird embarrassment of current crummy bands trying desperately to smear themselves in a unseemly coating of borrowed legend. But that is definitely not going to impede the tried and true media practice of treating every notable moment from the baby boomers’ shared past as a cause for reverential reflection. Luckily, there are indeed fascinating stories to be told, and Rolling Stone is still probably the outlet the best equipped to unearth the most novel and intriguing details. David Browne’s angle is to recount the tangled tale of the live album released the year after the festival in a three-record set, an exceedingly rare extravagance at the time. The darker part of the story is the fate of Eric Blackstead, the album’s producer. He became one of the more obscure casualties of rock ‘n’ roll.


Dorothy Toy, 102, Dancer Who Electrified the Stage Until a War Intervened by Neil Genzlinger

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The New York Times has undertaken a remarkable and moving project over the course of the past year-and-a-half or so, essentially correcting the record by writing long-delayed obituaries for notable, remarkable figures — initially all women, but the scope expanded —  whose deaths were not originally noted in the newspaper. Neil Genzlinger’s memorial recounting of the life of Japanese-American dancer Dorothy Toy doesn’t fall under the Overlooked project, but as I read her remarkable story, I kept thinking of how easily her obituary might have been shunted aside by editors just one generation ago. The same newspaper today gave over precious — and sadly more prominent —column inches today to an op-ed writer who terms diversity and inclusion “shibboleths” to which institutions of higher learning have become, in his view, tragically beholden, so it’s not all good at the Times these days. Still, I truly believe the ongoing efforts to redefine which global lives are worthy of increased attention will overtake the regressive fiends who seek to preserve the stultifying defaults. Reading about Toy was a moving, inspiring experience for me. It makes me better to know more of her life and times.

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