Today it’s audition number seven and I’m ready. I walk into the Legion Hall armed with my acoustic guitar, three swords, an assistant who I call my Official Entourage and a big smile. I may not win, but I’m confident I will at least keep my coveted spot and continue my ongoing runner-up reign.
I sign in and Valerie, my Entourage, picks out my number. 666. I laugh because it’s almost daring the judges to pick me. Hey, it’s rock and roll and it’s irreverent and – for you wussies out there – shocking, which means it’s perfect for me!
Next, I mingle with the judges, bribing them with Hershey’s Kisses and trying to find out what questions they may have. I also take the time to speak with my fellow contestants and wish them good luck (but politely leaving out the part about how much luck they’re gonna need with me in the ring). Oh yeah. I’m more than ready now.
We line up outside the hall and are sent in the line – kinda like school kids, only rowdier – to the back of the building. By the Dumpster. Somehow it’s oddly appropriate…
I am the Susan Lucci of Doo Dah. I first auditioned to be on the infamous Pasadena parade’s royal court as an assignment from my editor, Catherine Gaugh. Knowing little about the event, I dressed up as my alter-ego (or perhaps my real self!), Naughty Mickie, the Princess of Rock and Roll, and offered to sing an opera aria or a rock song- judges choice. They picked opera and I complied. They howled and hooted and then hit me with a barrage of questions, ranging from geography to how I had chosen my attire.
I didn’t win. Heck, I didn’t even make runner-up. But I did get a good story and I learned the why of Doo Dah.
For the uninformed, the Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade has a long and convoluted history, one which has even led to some too loud discussions in local bars. But basically it was started by a bunch of guys with nothing better to do on a Sunday than march around town. It has grown and evolved into a more or less organized event with a parade stepping off a the corner of Holly and Raymond in Pasadena, traisping down the way to Colorado and going on for a few more blocks before dwindling down and heading out in assorted bunches to the various bars and restaurants for a citywide party.
The participants are pretty much anyone who can ante up the $10 entry fee. The wackier the entry, the better. Parade fan favorites have included the Hibachi Grill Team, Ferret Freedom and the Men of Leisure (who roll down the route in Barco-loungers).
It is as occasional parade because it hasn’t been held every year and has even been held twice in one year. Nothing is as expected with Doo Dah.
The Light Bringer Project took the event on awhile back and now uses the money raised from entry fees and T-shirt sales to fund its various community art programs, including mentoring and museum admissions for children and mental health therapy through art.
This is why I made the decision to come back and try out again.
And each time, just like Ms. Lucci, I garnered one of three runner-up spots to the Big Kahuna. Alas, always a bridesmaid…