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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Tuesday
Jun262007

Ain't got no mind, etc.

Henry is seriously into Hair. Not the keratinous filaments sprouting from your head, you charming scamp! The American tribal love-rock musical! And let's get this out of the way—yes, I bought the CD of Hair: The Movie with my own well-earned money; yes, I have been known to sing along; yes, I'm a dirty hippie. But you knew that already.



I got him into Hair: The Musical: The Movie to get him out of the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, which was his father’s fault, and so here we are. And yes, I know that half the songs are about sex and drugs and sex while on drugs and making drugs while having sex, but we zip right past those songs. I do allow the occasional "orgasm" or "virgin" to slip in there. I'm probably asking for trouble. But then, he's already listened to Bowie; he'll be hooked on drugs before the year is out. I'm pinning all my hopes and dreams on the cat.

Anyway, a while ago Scott pointed out that the lyrics in Hair consist almost exclusively of lists. And now this is all I can think about when I listen to Hair, which we have to do every time we're in the car. Now instead of grooving on the mellow vibes and rock-by-way-of-Broadway stylings, I can only think about the lists. The lists! Why? If Charismatic Hippie Treat Williams isn't naming his many bodily and spiritual assets, then Righteous Black Hippie is tallying the various derogatory synonyms for "black," or Nell Carter and Another Hippie Who Kind of Reminds Me Of That Guy From Ashford and Simpson are specifying all the items they do not have, which come out to quite a lot. One thing they do have in abundance: scarves. That’s why they’re so cheerful!





Because musicals often mirror reality, it’s clear to me that hippies were deeply into itemizing. It was how they kept from slipping into a hashish-induced paranoid funk. "I love a lot of things, man. Brother, I'm gonna enumerate the many things I love, while swooping around with my fan-freaky-tastic Twyla Tharp moves. Dig!"



I love peace and birds!

[kick turn lurch arabesque]

I love songs and beats and words!

[graceful fall into a pile of leaves, afro is covered in twigs, no matter!]

I love drugs and love and shit!

[entwining hands with an ambiguously ethnic, macrame-wearing woman]

I love you, let's all say "tit!"

[all the hippies fall into place]

Tit tit titty-tit tits!

Now we'll all sing about our bits!

[incoherent mumbling]

Aaaand... nipple!

War is bad! WAR IS SAD!

War is bad and sad and makes me mad!

Here are 37 more synonyms for negative feelings we have about war!

Aaaand... fade out.

This is how life was.



In conclusion, I love that movie still and you can't make me not love it, even though Treat Williams has actual caterpillars pinned above his eyes, after he lost his eyebrows in a motorcycle accident.

Reader Comments (42)

For some reason I now cannot recall, when I was in the Peace Corps I used "Hair" in my phonetics class, to teach my college students to read phonemic transcription. So they were all reciting, "Give me a head with hair" in Received Pronunciation accents.

This was the nineties, so I don't even have the excuse that it was timely. I have no idea what I was thinking.
June 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
OMG, I thought I was the only child of the 70's who still LOVES Hair and JCS to this day! I'm so happy I'm not alone! And thanks for the transcription, I never knew what that word was after cunnilingus. (Although I do know what it means, oddly enough because I looked it up after hearing it in Mike Errico song...)
June 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSuzie
I remember listeing to Hair in high school & asking my mom what sodomy, felatio and cunnilingus mean. As I seem to remember she never answered me... but handed me a dictionary.

Sodomy: sex with boys - was the only word in the dictionary.

She referred me to my father... who must have distracted me in some way... becauseI don't remember getting an answer.

Can't wait until MY kids are old enough to ask me questions like that!!!
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Sakes alive! I had no idea that Henry could learn about sodomy from both RENT and HAIR! Clearly I have not been listening to enough HAIR.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
I love the song "Frank Mills"...we have the cd in the car and I always crank it up and sing as loud as possible, much to the consernation of my 4 yr old
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterb
This is absolutely brilliant. And not in the overused blog "brilliant!" kind of way, but in the real, give the girl a Nobel prize kind of way.

And boy did I love Treat Williams then. Caterpillars not withstanding.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMom101
Ha! The entire time I was reading your post I was thinking: Hair? The movie remake and soundtrack are out already? The one with John Travolta dressed as a woman? And when I got to the end I smacked myself in the forehead and realized I was thinking of Hairspray. I'm off to try and find where I left my mind now...
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbellevelma
Hippies and the generations after them Itemize because these days it's not What You're Like, but: What You Like.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
Bossy can't believe she said, "These days" like a fooking Grandmother -- and next Bossy is going to be saying things like, "in my day" and "those were the days."
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
Well, if he learns all the lyrics he'll be able to quote at length from Hamlet at the age of five. Not bad!

Hippies also plagiarize.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterozma
Your explanation makes me feel a lot more inclined to ever see and/or listen to Hair, which I hadn't really been planning on doing before. Not that I'd do it now, I'm just more inclined. If Netflix couldn't offer anything else or something.
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie
I have never seen this film/show, but your summary up there just made me laugh harder than I have all day. Thank you for that.

(I grew up to Guys & Dolls. And The Fantasticks, which has that wonderful "Rape Ballet" number. Oh, and A Chorus Line ("Tits! When am I gonna grow tits?"). Musicals are awesome.)
June 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGabbiana
OK, this is so what I needed to read this morning. 16-month-old DD was up for half the night and I was feeling exhausted and rotten, and your tales of Hair made me laugh. Thanks!
June 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJulia
The Spanish subtitles were an especially nice touch!
June 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLIB
oh man sister, you said it! besides finding you funny as shit, i think we actually have something in common now =)i grew up listening to my mom's JCS album, and damn if Hair isn't one of my, if not singly, my most favorite movie, evah! and i am not, in any way, a fan of musicals. but i cry, every. single. time. i have the DVD and i'm a gonna go watch it right now...'cause it's been about 2 years now....thanks for the reminder!
July 1, 2007 | Unregistered Commentershannon
I thought of this entry while listening to "My Favorite Things" on the soundtrack to The Sound of Music.
July 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRachelskirts
We were a "Godspell" household, here. Haven't seen the movie in probably 20 years. I know it contains the awesome sight of Jesus!Victor Garber...but if memory serves, they also sing "It's All For the Best" while dancing around atop the World Trade Center. :( I haven't been able to rewatch that.

Still belt it out in the shower, though.

July 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKim_Douglas

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