What exactly is a Doo-Dah Parade? From its Humble beginnings in 1978 –
By Terry Miller
The 37th annual Doo Dah Parade this past weekend was, as always, a celebration of the simple and yet complex issues in our lives. It is an “anything goes and usually does” kind of event in East Pasadena that really defies dogmatic definition.
It has lovingly been called the ‘twisted sister’ of the Rose Parade but it is so much more to hundreds who participate each year and the thousands who come out to enjoy the eclectic madness which is Doo Dah.
This year some of the usual suspects i.e. Uncle Fester, Count Smokula, and, of course Nancy Urbach were high on the list of favorites to watch.
The belly dancer who shimmies to the name Narayana was the queen of Saturday’s parade, selected a few weeks earlier at American Legion Post 287- the home of the official pre and after parties of Doo Dah.
Urbach has danced her way through the saucy parade every year since it started in 1978. Wearing the Doo Dah crown has been a fantasy of hers all these years- and now, that dream has become reality.
The royal Doo Dah crown, by the way, features rhinestones, not diamonds — as well as little peacocks and peacock feathers.
Queen Narayana arrived looking not unlike Cleopatra, on a litter carried by bare-chested men Saturday morning, waving and periodically getting off the litter and dancing in the streets.
Now, the other aspect of the parade is the great music. How about the world’s most sought after band ‘ Snotty Scotty and his Hankies’ whose classic hits include “Let’s get s—t faced” which climbed to number 1 on the obscure Surfboard Charts (a very distant cousin, 33times removed, of Billboard) a decade or two ago.
Other music included the Whistling Diva from Monrovia and Drunk in the Garage with their catchy little ditty entitled “ More Beer…” You can see the progression of theme – It is was it is!
Pasadena Police had their work cut out for them: ducking flying tortillas and checking the media for proper credentials of those attempting to photograph the exceptionally silly parade.
The highlight for this reporter was the Visual Arts Guild’s Umbrella Movement which highlighted the strife of Hong Kong students’ struggle for democracy.
Three-quarters of the way through the parade, an overly anxious Public Works employee from the city decided he’d start cleaning up the tortillas off the streets. Parade organizer, Paddy Hurley asked Pasadena PD why this was happening and in due course a motorcycle officer went code 3 and pulled the suspect over and ordered him to “step out of the vehicle.” The great tortilla premature tortilla clean-up was on hold.
Anyone is free to join, for a small fee, and everyone including that wonderful power couple of decades past ‘John and Yoko’ strolled the Boulevard this year this year. He looked rather good I must say, but Yoko was missing that Japanese gene.
Doo Dah’s perennial favorites, the laugh-out-louders, and the sheer “magnitude of merry silliness are all off the charts… did we mention the Doo Dah Parade is the only parade known to go in two directions at once…,” one local TV station decreed.
For veterans of Doo Dah this year’s parade was perhaps a little shorter and less well attended than in previous years but the climate was perfect.
It seemed obvious to one observer however, that the city “wants Doo Dah gone…”
The gentleman (we’ll call Fred to protect his high profile position) said that police officers were stricter than usual this year to the point of being almost rude to some people just looking to have a little fun on a Saturday morning. A nearby parade watcher echoed his sentiment adding that the PD was way too “heavy handed,” with the penal code rules and regulatrions – which, as we all know, don’t exists in Doo Dah land – thank goodness!
The 37th Doo Dah Parade once again hit the streets of East Pasadena Saturday morning with all the fun of Mardi Gras, Carnival and every irreverent party you could think of. Doo Dah is an institution owned and operated by the cool people of LightBringer: Tom Coston and Patty Hurley.
Long live Doo Dah