Monday, December 8, 2008

The more things change…

It is Finals week here in the Big Apple. This may not mean much for those of you already embarked on the real, grown-up world of work, but I’m hip deep in over-caffeinated summary and analysis.

As a break from the monotonous hum of my laptop’s internal fan, I attended NYU’s Wagner Alumni Association Annual Holiday Fundraiser. The WAA was screening “HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In”, a documentary about the making of the 40-year-old hippy musical, its cultural impact, and current revival. It was a treat to hear IT Awards presenter Ben Vereen and Honorary Award recipient Tom O’Horgan reminisce about the show.

I’ve heard it said that once you work on a show you either A) get sick of it and never want to hear another measure or B) fall in love with it and carry it with you always. Full disclosure: I stage managed a production of HAIR 8 years ago, and began singing along in my head all over again. The music and lyrics move me every time.

That said - the documentary is far from perfect. Milos Forman, Keith Carradine, Tim Curry, Melba Moore, and Michael Butler talk about their HAIR experiences. The interviews - both archival and new - are completely charming, but are presented without fact-checking. The “political analysis” and “current events parallels” are dubious and have all been said before. And Indie to my core I looked around the audience thinking, “Well, if you folks like radical theater so much, there is plenty of great new work that could use your patronage!”

“HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In” is worth a peek via Netflix one night. Keep making inspiring outsider art, kids, and maybe you, too, will be on French public television in 40 years. Stay warm and have a happy, healthy holiday season.


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