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January 26th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
It was a dark and thorny night… Well actually, it was a lovely balmy southern California evening. I just needed an excuse to use this intro. It seemed appropriate to this reporter.
To put it meekly, the Doo Dah people (and those who know, love and care for them) sure know how to have a good time. This Saturday, merely moments after the announcement of a most deserved recipient for the 2009 Thorny Rose Award, a troupe of brilliant bagpipers called The Pasadena Scots entered the Old Town Pub (the unofficial/ official/closest watering hole to the parade) piping to their hearts content. People literally stood at attention, took off their Doo Dah hats and stood in awe, some even in shock. (But we think that might have had something to do with the special ales on tap.) After all, it is not every day you see men in skirts, squeezing sacks which emit dulcet tones that would make even the staunchest Republican weak at the knees.
This Year’s Thorny Rose recipient will be part of the parade: A Great Firewall of China Marching Brigade will follow a vintage car carrying this year’s Thorny Rose Award winner. The Brigade will highlight the internet censorship in China and the continuous imprisonment of internet writers, journalists, religious persons, etc. Sponsoring organizations include the Visual Artists Guild, Free Church for China, Amnesty International Group #148, West America Chinese Political Refugees Association, and the Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation. A committee of socio-political observers selected Ann Lau, Chair of Visual Artists Guild, as the recipient of the 2009 Thorny Rose award in Pasadena’s annual Doo-Dah Parade. In their citation, Doo-Dah Parade organizers stated, “The Thorny Rose Award was conceived of nine years ago in hopes of sparking more open, even controversial conversation about issues of concern among community members. The selection was and is meant to acknowledge the citizen who has been the most tenacious, and even loudest, in support of an issue, cause or opinion they most care about. Ann Lau, of the Visual Arts Guild, has certainly risen to this standard more than anyone over the last year in her lively protest of human rights abuses in China. We’re happy to have her as this year’s winner!” Upon notification, Ann Lau stated: “I am honored to be the recipient of the 2009 Thorny Rose Award. When I told my daughters, they said that their mother rocks. This must certainly be the closest I will ever get to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Shining a light on the issues of international human rights in the City of Pasadena has been a most rewarding experience. How else would Mayor Bill Bogaard have indicated that he discovered the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the same time he rejected the recommendations of his own Commission on Human Relations to make a strong statement about human rights abuses in China? Indeed, it was a one giant step for the Mayor to host the City of Pasadena’s first ever celebration of the Universal Declaration this past December.
Without the deep compassion and tremendous support of an untold number of fine citizens of the City of Pasadena, the issue of human rights in China might have been ignored. I thank them for their support and encourage them to continue to raise their voices.”
Now, back to the party! This was the pre-party party organized to get the Queen, her court and the band in fine tune and ready for their big day this Sunday.
From the obligatory “Doo dah days” to “Amazing Grace,” the Pasadena Scots took the breath away from this reporter. There is something hypnotic and eye-watering about bagpipes, especially to those of us with British heritage. After hearing the Scots, I felt the uncontrollable, albeit obligatory, urge for a cold pint of Guinness.
We met many of the participants in the upcoming 32nd OccasionalPasadena Doo Dah Parade at this pre-party party in-between and during performances by H.R.H. Prince Andrew’s band, Bad Stuff, Old But Not Dead as well as the Pasadena Scots.
Former Doo Dah Queens Naughty Mickie, Mercy, Tequila Mockingbird and Kavita Sharma made fabulous entrances and kept their loyal subjects captivated with not only their beauty but also their wit and repartee. H.R.H. Prince Andrew held a trivia contest featuring questions some people actually knew the answers to, although some of them were rather obscure.
In addition to being a jolly good time, the party was a fund raiser for the Tree People, as H.R.H. (His Royal Highness, if you’re still wondering) Prince Andrew kept reminding everyone in between sets as his band played.
For more information or how to sign up to be in this year’s parade, call (626) 205-4029 or visit the event’s web site at www.pasadenadoodahparade.info. You better move fast, as the parade is this Sunday. Truly one of Southern California’s silliest and most fun parades ever, it is not to be missed. If you like Mardis Gras with a dash of Monty Python, a sprinkle of Absolutely Fabulous and a measure of sheer madness, then you’ll not be disappointed.
Story and Photos by Terry Miller