RE: HAIR (multiple posts)
Sun, 28 Sep 1997 12:55:19 -0400


Anne Marie Ellison asks a good question about _Hair_. I am not encumbered by
any real knowledge of the musical's reception, but I do remember seeing it in
San Francisco in 1971.

Thinking about the musical now, I'm tempted to see it as part of the remarkable
ability of American capitalism to transform what is "out" to what is "in" with
incredible speed. That process usually succeeds in "pasteurizing" any
counter-cultural life out of the "product." We all become sort of catatonic,
unable to maintain any real horror about any outrage.

Much contemporary literature and film is about this catatonic state. Consider
_Fargo_, for example.

Ed Hagan

From: Steve Haas <>

Anne Marie Ellison wrote:
> As I metioned before, I'm writing my thesis on the musical _Hair_ as a
> lens on the Movement/Counterculture. I'm wondering what all of your
> responses were to the play? Did you think it a valid representation of
> "hippie life"? a gross caricature? something in between? My basic
> question is, was it only a big deal in the pages of _Life_ magazine or did
> it have meaning for 60s radicals/counterculturalists too?
> Thanks.
> -Anne Marie Ellison

I think the show had an effect, though it wasn't huge. It was a good
representation of a certain segment of life at the time, but by the time
the show came out, no one really cared. However, It did popularize the
lifestyle; on the other hand, it was commercial, which to many meant
that the whole 'thing' was being co-opted...on the other hand, it meant
for a lot of people that the lifestyle was being accepted, and that we
might actually be ' was a great anti-war statement.....but
it was in the mainstream, so wasn't it diluting the message?

To sum up, I don't think it had a great impact, but it was noticed and
commented upon....


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(3) From: (TED MORGAN)

>As I metioned before, I'm writing my thesis on the musical _Hair_ as a >lens on the Movement/Counterculture. I'm wondering what all of your >responses were to the play?

Well, I'll bite, Anne. I enjoyed the play & the music --bought the record. But I didn't see it as anything that was particularly profound or particularly captured the counterculture. Interesting to think about in retrospect: it seems more like a media caricature of the counterculture/Movement than anything else (and the media had been hyping/distorting facets of the counterculture since spring 1967 at least). I guess the two pieces that "felt" right to me were the poignancy about the prospects of fighting in the war/ the draft, etc. and the feeling of wanting to hang out with a community of others. Outside of that, little is memorable for me. Ted Morgan

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