Advertisement

Comments & Curiosities: Revolution in one word: Hair

January 29, 2011|By Peter Buffa

"Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair … shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen. Give me down-to-there hair, shoulder length or longer, flow it, show it, long as God can grow it, hair!"

We're not talking about my hair actually, even though it's usually a little long. We're talking about "Hair," the musical. It's back, at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts through Thursday — brash, rowdy and, fortunately, as outrageous and funny as ever. The full title is "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical."

But for people like me, who are no longer at any risk of being called young, all you need to say is "Hair." For us, that one word will trigger words and music that were seared into the collective American consciousness 40 years ago and will never fade. For all the 1970-or-later babies, a little context might be useful.

Advertisement

Yes, it's true, these are troubled times, with two wars, an economy on life-support and people around the world who are dying to blow themselves up. But those of us who experienced the 1960s in their full-on, tie-dyed bloom may be a little less worried than those who didn't. It's not that the issues then were more important or serious or scary than the issues now, but the protests surrounding them were much louder — and way wilder. America's social seams were being ripped apart over a gender revolution, drugs, huge demonstrations against the Vietnam War and in support of civil rights. There were also riots in cities across the country, the likes of which haven't been seen since, including post-Rodney King.

Everything we thought we knew about who we were and how we were supposed to act was turned on its head and shaken real hard. No one had a clue what sexual revolution or LSD or hippie meant in 1964, but we were totally clear in 1968. By 1969, if you saw a crowd around an open fire in the middle of the street, you didn't bother calling anyone. You just walked or drove around it. It had to be either draft cards, American flags or bras going up in smoke, and if you stopped for every demonstration you saw, you'd never get anywhere.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|