Don’t take the VW!

I was talking with a friend the other day about the year I dared to go through the Doo Dah Parade route twice.


The first time, I was in the proper place as Runner-Up to the queen. I waved to the crowd and had a fun time. Anything fun, is worth doing again… or is it? After returning to Memorial Park, I met with Miss Viola, Cherry Capri and Count Smokuela, who invited me to join them on another trip down Colorado Boulevard in a Volkswagen convertible. The yellow bug was enticing and, with so many smiles around, how could I say no?


About halfway through the parade route the VW died. It didn’t shake, it didn’t sputter, it didn’t do anything to indicate a problem. It just quietly decided that it was not going to go any further. All of us got out of the car and, because there was no other choice, began pushing it up the street. The driver looked dapper in his Hawaiian shirt, but looks don’t count when you can get your car restarted.


We pushed, and pushed, and pushed that little Bug all the way through the rest of the route – as the crowd on the sidewalks laughed – and around the corner until it could be safely parked.


Is there a moral to this story? Yes! By all means, garner the spot as Queen for the event (like I have) and your feet won’t have to touch the ground nor… god forbid!… will your dress get soiled and your hair mussed. But if you aren’t so lucky, do what you must with a smile.



Offering regal advice

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I have often been the person friends come to for advice and last night was no different.


It was 9:30 p.m. when my phone rang. My friend Roc wanted to bounce some ideas off of me for his entry into the Doo Dah Parade in January. Normally he dresses up as Sancho Claus, a Santa with baggy, low-slung pants, and walks the route tossing candy to children. His father drives Roc’s black Corvette, stereo blasting Elvis, which carries boxes filled with candy for Roc to replenish his supply as needed. But he is seeking a different schtick this time around.


At the Queen Try-Outs, Roc (Sancho Claus) seemed to be missing this year. Well, it’s hard to recognize your annual quirky Santa, when he’s sitting in a wheelchair decked out in a rabbit suit. Roc had fun at the auditions in the costume, but it’s still not quite how he wants to go down the street.


He shared his ideas, I offered my thoughts and I think he may have come up with something pretty goofy (translates to “perfect for Doo Dah”). I won’t give it away, but I will share one of the highlights of our conversation:


Me: So where did you get the rabbit outfit anyway?

Roc: On e-Bay. I bought it from some guy in Alaska. It was around $60 even with the shipping.

Me: Wait a second- it’s from Alaska? Why would someone in Alaska want a bunny suit? Do you know why they had it?

Roc: No. It doesn’t seem strange to me.


Hmmmm…. It seems sorta strange to me, but then, maybe that’s just my way of looking at the world…




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Fun at McGinty’s Gallery at the End of the World

Friday night I donned my crown, grabbed up my scepter and, before I even made it through the door of McGinty’s Gallery at the End of the World, people were whispering “It’s the Queen. The Queen is here.”

This quirky, super cool gallery is not really at the end of the world, but actually next door to the Rancho bar in Altadena. The owner, Ben, had put up a canopy and a firepit out front with plans that I would dance there later in the evening. Unfortunately it was too cold in that spot, but, fortunately for me, the bands playing in the inner courtyard were happy to share some time. As it should be, I am the Queen, you know.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of Doo Dah, announced me with relish. Then gave my Official Entourage, Valerie, a flourishy intro as we launched into a belly dance set. The performance went well, except for having to deal with uneven asphalt with lots of large cracks. It was a good thing I wore my sneakers!  Not necessarily pretty, but practical….

Later, I autographed photos and posed for even more photos. And before leaving, I knighted Sir Ben McGinty, Protector of Art. You can never have too many knights, you just need a bigger table. 




Join me for Pasadena Museum of History’s Guilded Age Holiday Tour & Tea

Special Appearance by Michelle Mills,
Queen of Pasadena’s 31st Occasional Doo Dah Parade
Due to the sold-out status of the Gilded Age Holiday Tour and Tea Package, the Pasadena Museum of History has added a “Royal Tour and Tea” on Friday, December 28, 12:00 noon, which will feature a special welcome by Michelle Mills, newspaper reporter and Queen of the 31st Occasional Doo Dah Parade.
The tour spotlights the history of Edwardian-style holiday d├ęcor in the 100 year-old Fenyes Mansion, one of the few remaining grand residences that once lined Orange Grove Boulevard — Pasadena’s famed “Millionaire’s Row.”  Trained docents weave stories of long-ago holiday celebrations with details of the decorating styles of the early 1900s and the genesis of many of today’s cherished traditions.   The festive afternoon continues with a special tea at The Raymond Restaurant, originally the caretaker’s cottage of the famed Raymond Hotel.
Time: 12:00 noon – Fenyes Mansion Tour; 1:45 pm Tea at The Raymond Restaurant
Date: Friday, December 28, 2007 (please note: the tours on Thursdays, December 13, 20 & 27 are sold out)
Location: Fenyes Mansion at the Pasadena Museum of History, 470 W. Walnut St. (corner Orange Grove & Walnut), Pasadena; The Raymond Restaurant, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena.  Please note: tour guests must self-drive to the restaurant.
Cost: Tour $8 general; $4 museum members (advance payment required); Tea $25 (payable at restaurant; 20% percent of your restaurant bill will be donated to the Museum).
Reservations: Advanced reservation & tour payment required.  Please call 626 577-1660, ext. 20 and ask for the holiday decor mansion tour and tea package. 
Online information:

A very Doo Dah important meeting

 I meet with Patricia Hurley from Light Bringer Project to discuss Doo Dah plans and duties. Since I have dance practice tonight I splurge on a iced white chocolate mocha. Paddy is good and sticks with hot green tea.


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I now have four women as my Official Entourage- Valerie, Angela, Linda and Louise. I am touting them as not only beautiful, but smart and – listen up boys – single. My entry will have two classic convertibles- my Jack Russell terrier Atticus and I will ride in one and my Entourage will ride in the other. We may even enlist a mini-legion of knights to protect us on the route. Not that Pasadena is all that dangerous, but it will add to the regalness (is that a word?) of the day.


We discuss appearances, photo shoots, the parade and more until my brain is totally full. I always worry that if I take in too much information, I’ll lose some gem I’ve been storing in my mind-files for my stint on “Jeopardy.” I haven’t been invited to be on the game show… I haven’t even auditioned. Now that I’m the Queen, though, how could Alex Trebek miss all the wonderful fame I could bring him? Hold on, I think my phone’s ringing….


It was my mother asking me to pick something up from the store for her. I tried to tell her I need to keep my line open for all the movie, television, recording and sweepstakes offers I should be getting any minute now, but she just laughed. Remember Susan Lucci, mom? Yeah, she finally won that Emmy, so why can’t I? I even have one up on her because Susan’s never been a Doo Dah Queen!

Party princess… errr… Queen

 It’s the holiday party for the Star-News and we’re going across the street to the Ice House for dinner, drinks and a comedy show. I’ve changed my clothes, fixed my makeup- adding glitter as always and am ready for fun. I’ve invited local singer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire Joe Walla to join me as my guest. I love hanging out with Joe, as always makes me laugh!… ummm, not because of his music, but because of his personality~ he’s one happy, easygoing guy.

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Dinner’s great, but the co-worker chatter is better. I really like the people I work with, they’re sooo nice.

At one point, Mike Moreno from sales stands up to make announcements. I prepare for the usual, good work guys, we appreciate you, blah, blah, blah. It’s fine, but I’d really just like to eat my dessert.

“I’d like you all to know that the Queen of the Doo Dah Parade is here,” Mike says.

What? Oh boy…

He encourages me to stand, so I do and blow kisses at everyone as they clap. Then I use my dismissive wave, entoning, “Carry on, as you were.”

They laugh. I sit. ‘Nuff said.

Hometown heroine

 At my coronation, Rich Seymour of the Fret House in Covina was the first person to hit me up for an appearance so I’m granting his wishes.

It’s open mic night, which is always the first Saturday of the month, and the line of performers scoots over to let me enter. That’s right, make way for the Queen, I think…. but then again I am carrying swords and that could have something to do with it.

Rich greets me and Valerie and gives us our own private dressing room upstairs. He’s pro all right. We finish up what we need to do and go back down to the performance room. Rich tells a man to get off the couch in the back so we can sit down. Gallantry is not dead, dying, but not dead.

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We sit through one singer/songwriter/guitarist after another. Most warble about depression and love, some venture into suicide or a Christmas tune, a few brave ones offer something upbeat and ask the audience to sing along.

It’s close to “half-time.” Rich takes the stage and tells the crowd that it’s a very special night because there is a real celebrity here. I look around- is it Jewel? Maybe Alanis? How about one of those Extreme boys? Oooohhhhh, he means me!

As Rich announces me I make my way down the center aisle, scepter raised like the Statue of Liberty. Once on stage, I tell the crowd who I am and why I’m here and introduce my Official Entourage, Valerie. We give the audience three perky numbers and lots of smiles and they eat it up.

Rich comes back up and we tell everyone about the parade- when and where it will be – and why they shouldn’t miss it. On a whim, I tell Rich to kneel.

I pull out my sword, “I knight you Sir Rich, Protector of Music.”

He accepts (hey, he has no choice- I have a sword, he has what? a microphone?) and asks how he can serve me. I solemnly explain that his best service would be to continue making the open mic night available to all. The onlooking crowds applauds.

Well done.