Doo Dah DNA

Doo Dah DNA

Alan Zorthian named grand marshal of Pasadena’s ‘other’ parade

By Nick Smith 03/14/2013

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Alan Zorthian, son of famed artists Jirayr Zorthina and his wife Dabney, has been named Grand Marshal of the 36th Occasional Doo Dah Parade, the “twisted sister” of Pasadena’s annual Rose Parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. April 27 on Colorado Boulevard in East Pasadena, between Altadena Drive and San Gabriel Boulevard.

Although his parents have passed away, Alan Zorthian remains an active patron of the local arts scene, running the 48-acre Zorthian Ranch in the foothills of Altadena as an artistic backdrop of sorts, displaying art and hosting retreats, movie shoots and musical performances. In addition, Alan Zorthian has reinforced structures on the ranch while providing an archive for the art and life of his well-known parents. He has also worked with the Institute for Urban Ecology to create a 22-acre urban farm on the property.

“We just want to honor Alan because, after both his parents died, and [since] many of his siblings don’t live in the area anymore, he has singlehandedly taken charge of what goes on at [Zorthian Ranch],” said Patricia Hurley, managing director of the nonprofit Light Bringer Project, which puts on the parade.

“We’re very supportive of his efforts to revitalize the space and make it a place for the community to come to,” Hurley said.

“Alan has always been a big supporter and friend. He carries the Zorthian torch proudly and has Doo Dah in his DNA,” Light Bringer Project President Tom Coston said in a statement.”

The parade, a quirky and satirical response to the time-honored Rose Parade, began in the late 1970s as an alternative for those bored with the traditional high school marching bands, baton twirlers and equestrian units.

Here, acts like the Synchronized Drill Team, Count Smokula and Uncle Fester of Addams Family fame hold sway for the day. Along with those “traditional” entrants, last year featured acts with names like Moveable Feast (a dining room table on wheels), Conehead Rocket Sled, Hippie Cream, Easy Acres Chicken Sitters, Wisdom Arts Laboratory, Mile High Bed, Balkan Brass Band and the Ladies Auxiliary for Cultural Enrichment.

In addition to wacky people and groups customarily interested in participating in the usually annual event, Doo Dah also includes old favorites Scotty Snotty and Hankies, which will be among the group’s performing after the parade at the American Legion hall on nearby Vinedo Avenue.

“We’re getting a large variety of entries coming from outside the Pasadena area,” Hurley said of the acts that have applied to be in the lineup.

“Every new entry is radically different from the entry that came in before. I think we’ve got a lot of good energy this year,” she said.

For more information, call (626) 590-7596 or visit Visit Light Bringer at


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