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'Hair' Film Proof 'Real Miracles Can Happen'

"Hair" is back, some 50 years after the original hit Broadway musical and nearly 40 years after the 1979 musical anti-war film.

The movie version of the story -- directed by Czech-born Milos Forman, adapted for the screen by Michael Weller and choreographed by Twyla Tharp -- will show one time only next Thursday (Oct. 25)  7 p.m. at the Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, downtown Nevada City. 

The evening is a benefit for the Bridge Street Project, the building collaboration between KVMR 89.5 FM's new radio home and the Nevada Theatre's renovations and new large backstage. 

"I'm hoping for another dawn of the Age of Aquarius," quipped KVMR board member and co-producer Diane McIntire about the song most associated with "Hair" that's ranked as the 33rd best movie song by the American Film Institute in 2004. 

Tickets for the fundraising screening are $20 at the door and kvmr.org, including a custom cocktail created by KVMR broadcaster/mixologist Chris Towne. 

"In honor of the film, I suggested Chris name it the hairy navel," said McIntire. 

Why "Hair"?

"Well, we're still in political upheaval, but it's a way for us to rekindle the spirit of those days -- free speech and expression," said McIntire.

 

DIVIDED TIMES

KVMR Development Director Cynthia Tweed noted "In a time when the country is so divided, we thought it might be appropriate to bring our community together to reflect on the memory of the tribulations of the mid-sixties."

"The music, choreography and stylistic artifacts of the flower-power generation bring a light-hearted view to the conflict of lifestyles," Tweed added. 

"Remember, it was a big deal to have such long hair in those times," added McIntire. 

In the film, a Vietnam War draftee from Oklahoma takes a self-guided tour of New York City before his draft board appointment, when he encounters a close-knit "tribe" of hippies.  The hippies introduce him to marijuana and LSD and their environment of unorthodox relationships and draft evasion. 

For instance, when the tribe crashes a socialite party, they're arrested and taken to jail, where one hippie refuses to have his hair cut, leading to the title song of the movie  (duh, "Hair"). 

According to Frank Rich, then the film critic for Time Magazine, "The film version of Hair is proof that real miracles can happen in show business.  If ever a project looked doomed, it was this one."

Rich said the Broadway musical version was largely plotless and already dated, that the film creators had never "negotiated the perilous tides" of movie musicals, plus it had an unproved cast and big budget. 

 

'EXHILARATING'

"'Hair' succeeds at all levels--as lowdown fun, as affecting drama, as exhilarating spectacle and as provocative social observation", according Rich, by following the rules of classic American musical comedy to create "a juggernaut of excitement."

And Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it a "rollicking musical memoir," providing "time and space for the development of characters who, on the stage, had to express themselves almost entirely in song."

Plus it snared two Golden Globe award nominations -- including best musical or comedy. 

On top of all that, KVMR is inviting moviegoers to wear costumes. They're expecting an overdose of hippiewear, notes Tweed. 

"It's a unique opportunity to 'experience' a film, Taking in the costumes while sipping on a custom cocktail, while supporting community radio," summarized Tweet. 

"And it's a great night to come together, have fun and experience peace, love and grooviness," added McIntire.

 

DRIVE ENDS SATURDAY

KVMR 89.5 FM's "Make Your Voice Heard" on-air fundraiser continues until 8 p.m. Saturday, October 20th. 

Thursday features "Dancing In The Streets: Obscure and Hits From Motown and Aretha" noon to 2 p.m. with Warren D and Meri St. Mary.

Friday has Johnny Gallagher hosting the "Ladies Of Soul" morning show 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., next Laurie DesJardin welcomes acclaimed folk instrumentalist  Darrell Anger to town  for an in-studio performance at 10, and noon brings "Higher Frequency" hosts Sarah Grew and Maria Herrera, plus special guest Patricia Smith, with cannabis-related membership thank you gifts.  John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen are saluted on "The Beatle and The Boss" with hosts Michael Young and Diane McIntire at 4 p.m.

And Thomas Greener unleashes collectable songs about dogs, cats, pets and animals on "Ragged But Right" 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, then Chris Towne and Joel Brungardt Get (Tom) Petty at 4,with Laura Miller closing out the drive with Kris Kristoffersen and Van Morrison specials and her "Tracks Of Our Years" 40th anniversary compilation.

The specials air on KVMR 89.5 FM (kvmr.org streaming).

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KNOW & GO

WHO: KVMR 89.5 FM and The Nevada Theatre

WHAT: A benefit showing of "Hair", the musical anti-war film based on the 1968 Broadway hit

WHEN: 7 p.m. , Thursday, Oct. 25 only

WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $20, including complimentary cocktail; proceeds benefit the Bridge Street Project building fund; available at the door or online at kvmr.org/events

INFO: Call 530/265-9073 or visit kvmr.org