My television (OK, so it’s cable access) debut

 It’s pouring rain! I thought it I left all that cruddy weather behind in my college days at Syracuse University. But noooo! And I have to drive out to East Los Angeles! I’m a Queen, I deserve a chauffeured limo. Oh well, it should be worth the journey, I’m going to appear on the popular cable access show, “Horror Kung Fu Theater.”


I arrive early at the studio and take over the green room which doubles as a dressing room. I have selected a gown with a rock and roll touch, plus some spikey jewelry for effect.

The show’s host, Nightshadow, comes in shaking off the rain. He greets me and asks me if I brought music and am ready to show how I won the Queen try-outs.

Camera’s rolling. Nightshadow introduces me and his co-host and other guests try to give me a bad time. They’re outta luck. I used to co-host a cable show and am used to being live and unscripted. Ha ha!

It’s time for my act. I’m introduced and the strains of Rob Zombie’s “Dracula” roll in. I use my veil and all three of my swords and wish I picked an even shorter song. Time seems to drag when you’re dancing solo! But I make it through and Nightshadow seems pleased.

I autograph a couple of photos for Nightshadow and the studio’s star wall (I am a star now too, you know), thank everyone, change and head back into the rain for my drive to the office. Yeah, yeah, I may be the Queen, but I’ve still gotta make my rent.

My first fete

 Tonight is my big night- the Official Doo Dah Queen Party and Pre-Doo Dah Soiree at Club Fluffer at Hyperion Tavern in Silver Lake. I am not only being feted, but am performing.

Valerie, my Official Entourage, and I check out the stage. We have danced all over- the Los Angeles County Fair, Pasadena Senior Center, Las Vegas, but this is the strangest venue yet. The stage is about as deep as a sidewalk and raised as high as my shoulders. This may not be a big deal to some people, but we dance with swords. Have you ever tried to trade places with someone where there’s barely room with one person?


 OK, yeah, maybe you have. Have you tried it with a sword on your head?


Alright, alright. How about two swords on your head?


 Now you understand.

We decided to be professional and give it a go.

I take the stairs up to the stage and make my first mistake by looking down. It’s a lot higher up here than I thought. Oooo and squishier too. Can I turn around with my sword? Well, sorta. I’ll need to be careful.

And then there’s those holes at the front of the stage. Three chunks about two inches wide each. Big enough to step in, but at least my toes won’t get stuck.

We do a slightly modified performance of our choreographies, but we’ve done similar things. Valerie and I have been dancing together for going on six years, so we think almost alike and can pick up and follow each other as needed.

We launch into our finale- a drum solo. Shaking and shimmying to the beats. We’ve managed not to lose our swords or slash the audience nor did we fall off the stage. I think they like us.

On a whim, I lure the evening’s emcee, Tequila Mockingbird, out of the DJ booth and onto the stage with us.

 “Shake it, baybee,” I tell her. She smiles broadly and complies.

It’s done. The crowd applauds. They enjoyed us, even with our abbreviated show.

When it’s time to go I pack my swords, crown and scepter into the trunk of my car and sigh…. sometimes it’s good to be the queen and sometimes it’s a little hard….

Civic leaders and dinosaurs (not necessarily the same thing!)

 I’m sitting in the office of the Star-News and our foyer is becoming crowded with the City Council. They’re here for a meeting with Larry Wilson. I know Ann Erdman (from Doo Dah- she’s usually a judge) so I get up and say hello.

Ann apologizes for being unable to make the try-outs- of all years, Ann, you should be ashamed! She has always been supportive of me, although I don’t know who she’s voted for in the past… hmmmm….

Ann introduces me to Mayor Bogaard. He gives me a firm handshake.

“Congratulations, it’s an honor,” he says. “Councilpeople, we have royalty in our midst.”

I’m now being recognized by politicians, is this good or bad? I guess that depends on your voter registration….


In the evening I go to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena for a lecture by “Dinotopia” series creator, author and illustrator James Gurney.

I approach him before his talk to ask him to sign my book. He lived in the Pasadena area for a while, so he’s jazzed about me capturing the crown.


Gurney’s slide lecture is terrific, but I am left with lots of questions:

I know he uses family, friends and neighbors as models for his illustrations. Do you think he would add me in to one of his books? Should I command it while I can?? What kind of dinosaur would he draw me with? I really like pterodactyls….

There’s responsibilities with fame

 Being famous brings tremedous responsibilities, such as having a photo ready to autograph for your fans. After my yoga class I stop by Wal-Mart to make copies of one of the pictures a photographer gave me. The two ladies at the photo counter are totally overwhelmed. Santa Claus is at the store today and children can visit him with their wishes and have a photo taken for their parents and if that’s not enough- the photos are free. Not the cruddy little Polaroid ones either, but nice big 5″x7″s printed properly in full color with holly borders.


I tell the women that I am the 31 Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade Queen and they stop sorting photos and actually have a little spat over who will help me! Geez, I want a peaceful kingdom! They end up smiling and tease each other bantering back and forth as one helps me select a snowflake border and write my name and title under the photo.


I get 50 copies, which should hold me out for a little while and go home to practice my penmanship.


My friend Joe Walla is a decent songwriter and singer and an awesome guitarist. He is doing an acoustic show for a change down at the Universal Bar and Grill in Hollywood. It’s cold, but I put on something cute and head out the door.

He greets me with a hug and a “Congrats” in his booming voice and then tells me all about what he’s been doing and where he’ll play next.

The show is going well and Joe is working the crowd with his funny patter. He prepares to introduce the next song.

“Here’s one for the ladies. Oh, did I tell ya, there’s some special people in the house tonight. My producer’s mother is here- wave ma. And the Queen of the Doo Dah Parade- say hello.”

Pasadena’s party parade is even well-known in Hollyweird.

Recognized for the first time

 Wow! I’ve found even more stories in print and online and I’m having the time of my life.

My friend Linda and I go to the Dockside Grill in West Covina for dinner and music. We sit in the bar and enjoy the sounds of The Subs, a local acoustic rock trio, as we sip soup- clam chowder for her and lobster bisque for me. Yummy!

The Subs introduce me to the crowd and ask me to stand up and tell everyone about the parade. I do my thing and then turn to the band.

“Carry on, as you were,” I say adding a dismissive wave.

It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m sleepy. I stand up to leave and The Subs stop and ask everyone to bid me goodbye. Many stand as I make my way out of the restaurant.

This queen stuff is getting better by the minute.

Day two – the fun is just starting

 I work at the Pasadena Star-News office several days a week. I come in wearing my crown and, again, am met with applause, cheers and bows. I treat my loyal subjects to Hershey’s Kisses throughout the day.


The calls and e-mails continue. In turn, I begin my hunt for more articles about my coronation. I sneak over to the coffee shop next door and raid its news racks and Google “Doo Dah Queen.”


The best site I find states “Is Pasadena Big Enough for Two Queens?” A large photo of me from my coronation is at the top and underneath it is the Tournament of Roses Queen and her Court. They’re really tiny and look like ants with dots for mouths compared to my broad beam. Seeing this makes me feel good and bad at the same time. It’s funny because TOR has always been the jewel of Crown City, while Doo Dah has been akin to the redheaded stepchild- it’s there, it’s loud, but it gets slighted.


People are leaving comments on the site so I add my own:


Yes, of course Pasadena is big enough for two queens. Los Angeles and New York think they’ve got it all, but Pasadena is where it’s at.


Queen Naughty Mickie


This has become my mantra. It’s smart, short and makes people smile. Works for me.

After lunchtime, local photographer Terry Miller stops by to present me with a disc of photos he took at the try-outs. He’s ever the English gentleman- dashing, tall and handsome and driving an old MG with the top down.

He treats me to coffee and promises to protect me to the death. I’m flattered and thankful.

The beginning of regal life

1058-erikacrown blog-thumb-300x205.jpg

 To celebrate my coronation, Valerie, the Duke and I went to Taco Bell. OK, so it’s not fancy schmancy, but I’m not that picky. ‘Sides the Duke is buying so I didn’t complain.

I had wonderful dreams all night.


My phone and e-mail are going crazy! It began last night with friends calling to congratulate me and me calling friends to share my good news.

I stayed up way too late changing channels on the TV to catch myself on All the news stations and got up extra early to watch more. Wow! I’m, like, almost famous!

I walk into work at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune office as I always swore I would if I won- wearing my crown and a big smile. It’s amazing. People are coming from the back offices to applaud and congratulate me. I hand out Hershey’s kisses to them.


 Then I see the papers. I am on the front page of the Pasadena Star-News and inside both the Tribune and the Whittier Daily News!

At my desk, I begin checking my phone and e-mail messages and I can’t keep up- as soon as I delete or reply to one, there’s five more. Other writers, people I do business with and – to my delight – my readers are all cheering my good fortune and better talent.

Administrative Assistant Grace Reaza brings me a cup of coffee, “For you, your majesty,” she says and backs away.

“Good morning, your highness,” Features Editorial Assistant Linda Gold says with a curtsey.

Oooo I’m beginning to like this… a lot!

After work I go to band rehearsal and the guys just razz me about being queen, but I know they’re really only jealous. They might care less about the crown and be intimidated by the scepter– it’s all the fame they want and ha ha ha it’s all mine!

Coronation time!

 “In case the queen cannot fulfill her duties,” Queen Tequila draws it out, “the first runner-up will assume the throne.”

Queen Erika and Queen Tequila together, “The first runner-up is Erica!”

He grabs me in a hug as I jump up and down screaming and laughing. I don’t believe this. I feel faint. Oh no, I’m going to cry and ruin my makeup.

They’re placing the crown on my head and a huge scepter in my arms.

“Announcing Queen Naughty Mickie, Queen of the 31st Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade,” someone says.


1045-queen blog-thumb-300x428.jpg

Everyone is cheering and I’m pulled down off the stage and the media crowds around me shoving microphones and cameras into my face.

“How do you feel?”

“What will you do now?”

“Did you really audition seven times?”

No time to try to compose myself, I try to blurt out intelligent and witty answers… And remember to smile (Hey, I want to look pretty on TV, wouldn’t you?)

They finally let me go and I make my way outside away from the noise to make my first regal phone call.

“Hello, mom. I won! I’m the queen!”

“That’s nice dear,” she says. “Tell your brother.”

“Hello,” Jason answers.


“I won! I’m the Doo Dah Queen!”


“Great,” he replies. “I guess that means we have to go to the parade this year.”

Gee, after so many auditions, you’d think my family would be more excited.

“Watch the news tonight,” I tell him and hang up.

Most of the media and the crowd are gone. I sit in a folding chair sipping water and watching the staff clean up.

Valerie looks at me sorta weird, “Hey, did you know that your crown is on upside down?”

Welcome to Doo Dah.


31st Annual Pasadena Doo Dah Queen Try-Outs EXTRAS!

Photo Gallery link:


Video link:

<embed type=’application/x-shockwave-flash’ src=’‘ id=’mediumFlashEmbedded’ pluginspage=’‘ bgcolor=’#000000′ allowScriptAccess=’always’ quality=’high’ name=’mediumFlash’ play=’false’ scale=’noscale’ menu=’false’ salign=’LT’ scriptAccess=’always’ wmode=’false’ height=’305′ width=’320′ flashvars=’playerId=sgvncomvideos&referralObject=1a61c807-1978-43a5-903a-1138b56985a4&referralPlaylistId=fe2cc4cd981182221dfd19eab9e2e7341959fb36′ />


Both by San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group Staff Photographer Sarah Reingewirtz



The waiting is the hardest part

 It seems forever until the announcement will happen. Other acts follow- some good, some not so good, but all entertaining in their own way.


Now the band is playing and we all take to the floor to dance. There’s no couples here, everyone switches around to chat and shake it with someone new, working their way through the crowd.

Prince Andrew finally is at the mic again asking the crowd to quiet down and prepare for the coronation. Patricia Hurley from Light Bringer Project explains that the queen and runner-up hopefuls who have made the cut will be called on stage for their placements, then she hands things off to Queen Erika and Queen Tequila.

I just realized all these queens are getting confusing. To clarify things- the queens are all former Doo Dah Queens (except for the drag queen- that’s another story), they retain the title after their reign and become judges for future queens.

Five of us are called up. It seems as if time is going slowly as “Marilyn” and Mona, a cheerleader/princess are named third runner-up and the gospel singer, Crystal, takes second. It’s down to me and Erica, the drag queen. He (she?) looks at me and says, “I love you, I hope you win.” I take his hand and wish him well too, as he has been trying out for several years and is quite talented, but hasn’t even made runner-up.

Time stops. My heart beats hard. My mind is saying I won’t be queen, but it’s OK because I’m truly happy just to be runner-up again. I honestly am.

My audition

 One by one we move forward as each queen hopeful takes their turn on stage. When I finally get inside the door, I get to watch accordion players, a gospel singer, a belly dancer, a drag queen with a wicked guitar, a Marilyn Monroe wannabe, an Easter bunny “dancing” in an electric wheelchair and other acts.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of Doo Dah, gets my attention and leads me onto the stage.

“Presenting Miss Naughty Mickie, contestant number 666,” he says.

I glance over at Valerie, all’s well, as she’s standing beside the stage with my swords.

I prepare to strum my guitar, but the crowd won’t quiet down. I smile and wait and wait and wait. Finally I just go for it, singing and strumming the beginning of “Sweet Jane.” After one verse and chorus I say, “Forget this. We need some rock and roll.”

I tear off my guitar and toss it to the ground in a smooth motion, give a nod to the band behind me and get moving. Valerie hands me a sword, which I place on my head and keep dancing. I kneel and lean back on the floor and reach out for sword number two.

I straighten up, add the sword to my head and get up and dance some more.


1054-queendance blog-thumb-300x230.jpg

All right, it’s time for my denouement. Valerie hands me sword number three, which I place across my chest. I turn slowly so everyone can see all the swords I’m balancing. Mid-turn I suddenly realize that I recognize the song the band is playing- it’s a tune made famous by strippers. At first this frustrates me, but then I find it funny and almost laugh. It’s hard to laugh while balancing swords and I wouldn’t recommend it because you don’t get as good tips when you skewer your audience.

I make the song mine (but keep all my clothes on) and finish up with a flurry of swords and shimmies.

The judges politely applaud and prepare to give me hell.

“I see you dance with swords, but do you swallow?” a judge asks trying to upset me.

“A lady never tells,” I whip back with a grin.

“Just how naughty are you?” another judge taunts.

“Meet me after the auditions,” I quip and he begins to blush.

Queen Sabrina takes the microphone and looks at me unamused, “Why should you be Doo Dah Queen instead of the other contestants?”

I smile to bely my nervousness- this is the clincher question.

“I am very involved with Pasadena and as queen I can spread the spirit of Doo Dah everywhere and let the world know that, although Los Angeles and New York think they’re the best, Pasadena is where it’s at.”


The judges break into a wild applause.


 That was my best shot, so I hope it worked, as now I’m being escorted off the stage.