Friday, February 28, 2014

Gettin' My 'Hair' Ready for the Show

Me and hair about 1972
Picked up a couple of tickets yesterday to "America's first tribal love-rock musical" ("Hair") at the Roanoke Civic Center March 8 and I'm pumped to be re-visiting my 22nd year, one of the best of all of them.

This was 1968 and I always recall the Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times" when that watershed year of American history comes up.

"Hair" revolves around a group of kids who are subject to the draft during the height of the Vietnam war, perhaps America's most controversial entanglement. It tells the story in some memorable songs ("Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine,” “Easy to Be Hard” and “Hair”) of a tribe of hippies in New York's Lower East Side. These kids are resisting their parents' culture and values, which seems to be the curse of every generation.

"Hair" was first noticed, I think, because there was a brief nude scene at the end. That became the center of the controversy about the play and always represented America's warped sense of values to me. War vs. nudity. Which to ban?

There's an interesting cultural afterlife to hair: long hair was a sign of rebellion in 1968. By 1980 poor, uneducated conservatives had adopted the scraggly look and these days it seems the few men around with long hair are in the arts. Ah, fashion.

In any case, I'm looking forward to this re-visit and all I ask is that the troupe of actors sound as much like the Cowsills as possible when singing "Hair." (Here)

"Gimme a head with hair/Long, beautiful hair ..."

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