My friend Claudia will miss our bi-monthly dinner group because she is going to see a revival of the musical “Hair” Saturday downtown. That triggered a flood of memories for a number of us.
For many coming of age in the late 60’s and early 70’s “Hair” enjoys an iconic status.Its anti-Vietnam story presented with a kick- ass sex , drugs and rock and roll attitude was pitch perfect for the times. Lots of us remember when and where we saw “Hair”.
I saw it twice in August of 1970 in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. My college friend Alan and I had saved money from our summer jobs so that we could spend a month touring the West. It was our version of “Easy Rider” except instead of motorcycles we travelled in Al’s GTO that overheated every 100 miles and we didn’t get any girls. But then nobody got killed.
We stayed with Al’s drug-addled friends who he had met on World Campus Afloat. Some of them talked and looked like the cast from “Hair”. The vibe was all very sweet.
Poor Marsha never got to see “Hair”. By the time it got to Louisville she was working to send me to law school, but she knew all the songs from the album. I’m partial to the title song and the poignant “Frank Mills” and its wonderful closing line: ” Tell him Angela and I don’t want our two dollars back, just him.”
Marsha asked if I wanted to see the revival production which plays only two weeks here in Chicago. I don’t think so. The memory of seeing “Hair” on a warm August California night when I was young, and the world was one of great possibility should be kept safe.