To avoid therapy maintain some connection with my creative self, i support local community theatre activities, from fundraising to management to performing. I was recently asked to assist with a production of Hair – being performed in honor of the 40th anniversary. My, how time flies when your brain is fried from acid and shrooms…
Rather than use original-esque cast members, who would now be in their 60’s, the director cast a collection of young, talented, beautiful 20-somethings (who will look nice nekkid). After a few rehearsals he realized that these lovely creatures knew exactly dick about the culture that inspired the tribal rock musical.
Calling for a character development meeting with the cast, he invited me, and several other people who were at least alive in the 60’s, to talk about the times.
ouch. i had actually considered auditioning for this one…. with the newly reconstructed Model Year 2007 Bionic Twins, i might have pulled it off…[sigh]
So there they were – beautiful, groggy (it was 10 am) and hungry for insight. The director started with a discussion of post-WWII culture, the creation of the suburbs and the seeds of dissent from the 50’s ‘beatniks’. He also pointed out that concurrently, there was a great technological boom – we’d entered the space race, putting a man on the moon in 1969.
“Allegedly”, said the beautiful boy at the end of the table (playing Woof).
[light bulb goes off over my head]
“No, that was the 80’s – the cynicism, conspiracy-theory, oliver-stone era. In the 60’s, it was idealistic – ‘we can make it better, here have a flower and mellow out…’.”
That was the magic of it all – then and now. Things were bad, but we were going to fix it! Not a clue how to do that, but it would be all right – some caring people, good music and lots of talking could change the world!
After the character development meeting, hugs all around from the tribesmen of the theater, and into my car. And a moment of sadness. When did we stop believing we could fix it? When did we stop trying? Why did we stop trying?
Yeah and all those flower children went on to become wall street brokers…
I was just on the end cusp of the baby boom thang, so I did my best to be a hippie at age 12 and even for awhile afterwards. Possibly because I had Janis Joplin hair…
Kids these days, eh? All so cynical while they spend their ex-hippie parent’s money buying the latest techno-gismos and designer jeans.
I think the magic is still there. Thing is, you can change the world by living a life that isn’t cynical and by caring about things that would benefit those less fortunate than yourself. I don’t think you’ve stopped trying and neither have I. So, there’s still hope, I reckon.
Naked 20-somethings with a burning desire to do community/semi-professional theater.
Did you get them stoned and show them what free love was like before the internets?
Sigh. Sometimes I miss Ohio. Make sure you sign on as production photographer and send me snapshots. Purely with the intention of nurturing my theatrical roots, of course.
az – technically, i wasn’t old enough to be a hippie, but my heart was in it -clinging pathetically to the ideals/music through the disco 70’s. and yes, the idealism is still there, i’d just like to see it take hold more broadly in the US.
bob – shhhhh…. not yet. i’ll spring that on them at the cast party. i’ll be working backstage (props/costumes). director also offered me to participate in the ‘be in’. i’ll send pics of the pretty ones… and no, the lovely little naked dancer from ‘bat boy’ isn’t in this show.
I’m hooked. The very first entry I read got me laughing. Such meaty pathos! One thing I certainly share with you is a brain fried from ‘shrooms and acid…
Mark – Welcome to The Park. Gave up the hallucinogens when i started breeding – now i mostly drinks a bit…. And for other folks reading here, recommend you take a look at Mark’s site – phenomenal project on historic hotels of San Fran!
Gawd when I hear “Hair” or “Spray” I think of fricking Ricki Lake for some reason. Thanks for the nightmares I will be having tonight. Shoot, my female penis just went soft. Ugggh. Daisy, it’s your fault I’m sleeping alone tonight!
uw – just dig out the corset (er, at least what’s left of it) and you’ll be back in the saddle again in no time!
I was going to do a similar blog as one of my serious Sunday thingies, from a slightly earlier perspective being at art school in the late 60’s, but you’ve done it better – much better.
If I ever do, which is doubtful, I’ll try and remember this one and point people over here …. oooo, I can bookmark can’t I!!! – brilliant, then all I’ve got to do is remember I bookmarked something somewhere. I think it’s going really well.
DP – you should do it. i was a sprout, being born in 1962, but with a flower child sister who is 10 years older and a rock and roll brother 8 years my senior, i was in love with the culture! i tried to ignore the disco 70’s and the ‘it’s all about me’ 80’s. the culture of the 60’s — well not the acid, but the ‘we can change the world’ part — is important, and it would be good to recapture some of that…
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