I just read Johnathon’s informative and touching book about HAIR. In addition I have been perusing this site like crazy.
After spending a working lifetime out of touch with everything but my career and family, I recently retired, calmed down, bought a house in Las Vegas and began to do what all Senior Citizens (well, I’ll be 60 in June) seem to do. I’ve been thinking a lot about what is important, and what I have done in my lifetime that is truly meaningful.
Although I had a fantastic career — since 1973 — in politics, broadcast journalism, the arts, public relations and writing, traveled and lived all over the United States, and met and worked with some incredible — often famous people, I have decided that there are only a few things I have done that really have meaning.
One of those is my involvement with HAIR. I was a member of the original Hawai’i company. We were the Paka’lolo Tribe. After months of auditions and the elimination of seemingly thousands of wanna-be cast members, as well as the excitement about doing the show on our home turf, we were told at the final audition that we would not open in Honolulu — at all. Then, I think it was Jerry Combs who dropped the “bomb.” The show would open in October 1969 at the International Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada — the “home” of Elvis, Ike and Tina, and Redd Fox, among others.
Well, I spent more than three years of my life involved with the Paka’lolo, Mercury and Rainbow companies. I deeply loved so many of the tribe members. But, some of the things that happened on the road, such as the tragic fire in Cleveland, were real lessons in life and, unfortunately, reality.
After all the cities, hotels, airplanes, buses and dressing rooms, I can honestly say that what happened to us in Las Vegas was astounding.
I guess because of this, and the fact that I live here now, I am sadly aware of the glaring omission of most information, photographs, and newspaper articles about the show and the cast on this site and in Johnathon’s book. I think many folks — even former HAIR cast members — might be interested in the conflicts we had with the hotel, police, the mob, the audiences and, yes, ourselves.
The deaths of Pohai, Patty, Kaipo, and so many others has grieved me deeply. I so often think about the many wonderful young people that were in the show. And I thank Michael Butler for influencing my life in a myriad of profound ways.
I only have a couple of pictures from the show which I would be happy to scan. I could check out the old Vegas newspapers, also. If anyone is interested in knowing more about this amazingly meaningful experience out here in the desert please let me know.
Aloha and Peace. Julie