Beer bribes, live punk rock, and host of colorful characters inspired the crowning of a new Queen for the occasional parade known to East Pasadena as the Doo Dah. Queen Veronika MeowMeowz, PCC alum Veronika Sorrow, has been crowned the 2015-2016 Queen for the 38th Occasional Doo Dah parade that takes place this Sunday. November 22, 2015.Sorrow, a local business owner of the “1 stop rock shop” MeowMeowz! in Pasadena, said that in the five years since her shop has been on Colorado she’s attended past parades to enjoy the festivities, celebrate friends who have been Queen, and promote her shop among the revelers.
A hair stylist, musician, and Siouxsie and the Banshees tribute performer, Sorrow’s own unique style and vivacious personality strongly lend to all that is expected of a Doo Dah Queen. Dressed in a clinging and sleek floor length black velvet dress and dripping with Cleopatra-inspired jewels in her signature punk-rock style, in a bit of irony, Sorrow reflected that it never occurred to her to ever tryout as Doo Dah Queen herself.
“It took former Queen Suzann [Edmonds] to smack me upside the head a couple of months ago and basically say ‘What are you doing? This is an incredible opportunity for the shop. Get out there and get your name in the public’s eye.’”
The contest has few requirements, some of which involve a $5 fee, a brief three-minute performance or presentation, having a unique personality, a unique talent, and the willingness to give bribes of the food and alcohol variety.
Gareth Powell from Wales and Lisa Kaspin-Powell, both of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Space Society, came to support Sorrow to be first time judges and enjoy some “fine traditions of bribery and corruption,” said Powell with a laugh.
“Everyone was having a blast. It was just insane and we loved it. It was so uncool it was cool,” said Powell. “It was just kind of colorful, vibrant, multi-colored lunacy from anyone who bothered to turn up.”
After Sorrow and PCC student and band member/boyfriend Adriel Mederos performed their set, she was asked about 10 on-the-spot questions that ranged from masturbatory practices to intimate knowledge of John Waters’ film. And the one serious question on how she sees her future as Queen.
“That was a really deep question,” she said. “So what I said was, ‘I want to use the shop as a platform to collaborate now with the Light Bringer Project…cool music stuff and cool art stuff, all ages events, something that would shed more light on their projects and on the shop.”
After about two hours of merrymaking, the 20 or so contestants were judged by their peers and nearly 100 participants.
“It was just total disbelief,” she continued and thought to herself. “Like ‘No way! This is my first time trying out. ‘A lot of these women here have tried out several years in a row. There’s more wackier, wild Kool-Aid style kind of folks here. I didn’t want to be too hopeful.’”
Each year prior to the contest, the outgoing queen creates a new crown. Queen Veronika MeowMeowz’ crown, created by belly dancer Queen Narayana, is crafted from faux leopard skin and adorned with red silk roses and stiff red crinoline or tulle, giving it a height of nearly two feet.
Inspired by the event and upcoming parade, Queen Veronika MeowMeowz had new thoughts on what the contest means as opposed to what other pageant-like contests represent.
“It’s not a beauty contest. It’s actually a talent and spirit contest, and that’s what a lot of other beauty pageants I feel lack,” she said. “The other thing about Doo Dah—anything goes. “I love that…It’s completely uncensored.”
Mederos, who also works at MeowMeowz, was enthused about the future promotional aspect for the shop and in his happiness for his girlfriend.
“I just think that Veronika as Queen can really express and can show the Doo Dah spirit,” said Mederos. “Because I’ve always felt that MeowMeowz is Doo Dah 24/7.”
The 38th Occasional Doo Dah Parade is Sunday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Colorado Boulevard from Altadena Drive to San Gabriel Boulevard.