Downtown art

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July 5, 2004 // UPDATED 2:21 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'Hair'

My hair is perfectly in style for the Rapunzel look-alike

contest that is the musical "Hair." At first, I couldn't

afford a haircut. Now, I'm just indecisive. In any case, I'm

on top of 1960s hippie fashion. "Hair" makes the mullet

look like a mild outgrowth of our political

past (so does mine): Find Abie Baby

(formerly known as Abraham Lincoln),

John Wilkes Booth, Ulysses S. Grant,

Calvin Coolidge, Scarlett O'Hara,

Supremes-posers, he-she's, men dressed

as gorillas, nuns, monks and Shakespeare

running amok, under the influence of

lyric use of pot (not to mention that

man's real contribution to science here is

a walk on a hash-covered moon).

Speaking of drugs, free love is truly

given out freely, and for medicinal purposes.

Banging pots and sticks, these

peace-loving freewheeling tribal members

point to a hole in the national bucket, with "there's

a hole in the flag." They usher in the "Age of

Aquarius/Psychedelic Ice age" by debunking political

mythology and decadence. Protesting Institutions, the

hippies burn draft cards (or, uh, library cards), in the

name of Flower Power and the groovy revolution.

With an absurdly poignant plot, the tribe ridicules a

national lifestyle that refers to a standardized exam for A.

Work Ethic, B. American Values, and C. other social fixtures.

When "Hair" was first performed in 1967, it

shocked audiences by baring all, literally, with controversial

nudity.

As is tradition for the musical, "Hair" cast members in

this production chose a tribal name for themselves. In

this case, Sean Michael Dooley, who plays the 18-year-old

Berger, had a little trouble remembering the mouthful

"Anapo Agape," which is a hybrid of Native American

and Latin (or perhaps Greek? he pondered?) ideals that

harkens the dawn of unconditional love. The name was a

democratic decision and, afterwards, the tribe reflected

on what "Hair" meant to them. They did trust exercises

and other community-building activities to create an

intimate rapport on and off stage.

For his part, Dooley researched the musical's setting,

1960s Greenwich Village. He also dug out musty yearbooks

that pictured his 18-year-old self and tried to

invoke the spirits of things that made him uptight, embarrassed

or gleeful. True to the show's ultimate mission

(beyond irreverence and smart navet), an inspired

Dooley said he's been apathetic to social and political

change - the radical "Hair" caused him to rethink how

he might respond to justice/injustice.

"These people were capable of making a positive

change. It made me think I should emulate these young

people and help make a better world. Hopefully, the

show will incite that in people who come to see it.

That's what it set out to do," he said.

'Bout time I get a trim, too.

_ Tuesday-Sunday, July 8-Aug. 1, various times.

Historic Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave. S.

$34.50-$48.50. 651-989-5151.

'The Cult of Dorian Gray II'

"The Cult of Dorian Gray II" spoofs occupational

hazards. The corporate workplace is a corrupt stage -

with an in-closet CEO who, instead of handshakes, uses

sexual harassment as currency. And it's no secret that the

voluptuous secretary gets plastic surgery on the company

clock.

Meantime, middle management fight their way up the

corporate summit with underhanded tactics (it's staff

gone wild!). And the computer guy, well,

as they say, spots a conflict of interests on

"both platforms," according to the press

release.

This is what choreographer Gerry

Girouard gets when he muses over Oscar

Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and

Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities."

But that's not all. Sounding a bit like a

horror movie gone wrong, this production

is actually an acrobatic/dance/athletic-

thon (just when you thought it sounded

predictable).

The dramatic employee troupe revises

Dorian Gray's life and the dangers of vanity

by treading lightly on large Plexiglass walls and flinging

briefcases as they pursue star status at the ad agency.

Seduction and betrayal is illustrated through tangos,

duels, the Brazilian martial art Capoeira, break-dance

and street basketball. Video projections dress up walls,

thighs and bellies while the electronica plays on, building

up the tempo to punctuate the soap operatic actions of

those relentless seekers of money, class and eternal life

- to the death.

Would Wilde and Wolfe approve of this sequel? I think so.

_ July 8-25, Thursday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. Red Eye

Theater, 15 W. 14th St. $15. 870-0309.

'Reaching'

Barb Janisch's paintings, called "Reaching," reenact

the salty wind and refreshing ocean spritzers of a happygo-

lucky boat ride. She takes us on an affordable vacation

to a "Sloop Off Saba," among other aquatic havens,

cruising through intense summer heat (it's a hard life, in

paradise). In soft but bright colors she depicts the

rhythm of a gently lifting sloop sail.

Experience the marine wildlife, other boats and the

surrounding mainland when Janisch is your tour guide.

Feel the wind whipping your tanned face?