Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra News - Doc Scantlin Newsroom

New Year Wishes

Posted by Chou Chou

Today, I cried. I seldom do, but a huge wish came true, so I did! Do you make New Year Wishes? I certainly do, far more than resolutions. Wishes, you see, involve magic and belief. Resolutions are pragmatic enforcement. As someone fortunate enough to live a life of self invention, I want to shake my fist at enforcement. I get grumpy if the resolve doesn’t take. But making a wish and having it coming true is enchantment and stardust and such. How could I ever give up on that? So such wishes tend to come true!

photo: Jay Hopkins

A little over a year ago, I was fresh back from launching my new cabaret show, Blissfully Being. People began asking me to send them something about it so they could book my new act. Well, living here in our little retro world, I had no video or tech skills to put something together for myself, and, boy, was I ever tired of asking for help! So I stopped everything so I could learn. Just like that.

You know how that goes. It was excruciatingly hard. I’m awfully stubborn. I had done a few posts and attempts, but it was always such a self-enforced struggle. I’ve mentioned how I feel about enforcement! But I dreamed of one day being able to connect and share all the bright joys of our life and what we create in our sweet little time-warp bubble. That’s something no one can really do for me. Like our shows, it must come deeply, honestly, from the heart.

I was drowning at first, in uncharted waters, stuck for days at a time in whirlpools of data confusion. Then, finally, I saw the distant shores of a promise land! It got easier. The learning got faster. Then I claimed the land as my own. At least in the way it suits me.

Some strong-hearted friends helped me more than they should. And then I would beg even more. I fully expected to be disowned by a certain IT CEO relation. Minnie the Moocher had nothing on me! But instead of jewels and cars my wants were all computer knowledge. I will be singing in praise of each mentor for a very long time to come. Probably quite often to you.

As I worked and dreamed, dreams begot bigger dreams and more work, and more mooching and oh, poor husband Doc! Who stole his Blondie wife and left this computer nerd? He listened patiently, most of the time. Like I do when he talks some things. I was clearly on my own with this. We no longer seemed joined at the hip!

There was trouble in paradise, and you don’t need to hear that. And then everything came together, better than ever, and so did we! I put out the band newsletter, manage website and domain, most important security, network, the band’s new digital sound system. We’re video and recording shows! I am in the kiddie pools of music production, film editing, plus graphics and visual arts! Oh, I am greedy, rushing to the next steps of live production using endless technologies! Digital lighting and video mapping has me yearning with such lustings! All, with the full love and support of my very, very, analog man. Even without understanding. It took much adjustment, patience, respect, compromises, and long waits for some time together. But that man posesses a strange sort of magic and tends to make dreams come true. Doc saw me through as I pushed beyond reason, adjusting to ever new complications. He loves generously, overwhelmingly. At our New Year’s Eve Show, on the beautiful stage of the Art Deco Palace, Bethesda Blues and Jazz, with our friends as witness, Doc and I renewed our wedding vows for our 25th Anniversary.


It was zany and fun, because that’s entertainment, but grounded in the deepest commitment. Even more, an understanding of all we have been, and are now, and want to be for each other.

All this, in a year. I not only had my wish of tech literacy fulfilled, but have a new paradise in our love nest. One that includes a more capable me! And less mentor moochie, at least most of the time. I’m still learning, after all.

As of today, I have EVERYTHING set correctly, have all the tools, and enough skills, to connect here to you with pleasure, not pain! And that’s why I cried. Because hard-won wishes are the kind that come true, if you believe and work hard enough! Maybe this tech stuff comes easy to you, but it certainly didn’t for me! Like Rip Van Winkle, I’ve missed years of this, happy in our musical heaven. This year’s New Year’s Wish is to connect with you! To share ourselves, our music, our lifestyle, and our musings. And I have a big wish that you will do the same with us, too! This is your hangout, too, so welcome and comment! Subscribe, follow, like, and the rest! Such cyber candy forms bonds of friendship and love! And, oh, we have so much fun, don’t we? Just like at all of our shows!

One final thing: That struggling tech newbie? Well, she not only got her wish, but much more. The creative couldn’t help but take over. Seems once that kicked in, this little Blondie took to technology and it stuck in a sweet spot. Performing, of course, and music making! Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Chou Chou, in her newest mischief, as part of our Imperial Palms Orchestra offerings, “Chou Chou as DJ BLISS”! Really! I hope you were sitting! A retro singing, dancing DJ, Imperial Palms style! Me, costumed, of course, and a Gramophone booth, playing the happiest party music from the 20s-40s, mixing magic out of technology!

Here I am, with my new act, on the stage of the historic Warner Theater. Not knowing this would be much more than super-fun, I am a bit startled by so many requests for bookings! And for me to send them something about it. Which brings me back to why I learned all this! To make those electronic press kits. Now, gloriously, enthusiastically, I am! Happy New Year! Make a wish! They do come true,you know.

Chou Chou shines in “Blissfully Being”

Thought we’d let you know that Chou Chou’s new cabaret show “Blissfully Being” is profoundly touching those who have attended her DC area preview and San Diego debut. Based on her life as an entertainer on the autistic spectum, she sings and coos tales of her experiences with open-hearted positivity, all in her inimitatable style. “I have been asked so often to add my voice to the understanding of what we know about Autism, especially autistic women. I feel a responsibility to do so, but I can be very shy when not performing, so it is a struggle. But I light up when onstage, and that has always been my best way to communicate, so I have created this new show”.

This is no advocacy presentation or lesson in autism. Fans of Doc Scantlin and his Imperial Palms Orchestra are well aware of Chou Chou’s unique ability to melt hearts and spread believe-in-your-dreams joy among all in attendance, and she shines best when strolling a room, sharing romantic songs. So she has created her own kind of advocacy, using her skills as an accomplished performer. “I simply love. I am autistic and happy and lead a complete life, and some may think that is not possible. I am simply sharing who I am, authentically, as a performer, and as an autistic woman, and I choose do it with love”. 

There’s a good chance you may rethink some of what you think autism is and enjoy a charming night out as well. You can join Chou Chou with musicians Harry Appelman (piano), Henry Tyszler (violin), and David Jerigan (bass) at the Cabaret at Fredericksburg Square Friday, Nov. 11. 

Reservations for dinner and show here


Chou Chou performing “Blissfully Being” at the Love and Autism Conference in San Diego 

A personal note from Chou Chou

Sweet friends, before I announce the first batch of the upcoming season’s public performances, let’s talk. Doc and I have been doing some great shows, but on a creative sabbatical of sorts, and not sharing much of this process with you. Partly because we have lived so long in the public’s eye and it felt great to pull back and be private. Partly because we would rather do anything other than sit at a computer, or, in my case, my little pink iPad. We do many things beyond music-making and our happy little retro life takes all we have to keep it humming. And old stuff breaks;) But there is more to this story. When Richard Zampella created this beautiful website, we were floored by the brilliant new home he created for Doc Scantlin and his Imperial Palms Orchestra. It is so lovely! It remarkably shows us as we are, in spite of our lack of interest promoting ourselves or creating content for online use. We are live entertainers. Beyond the music and all the fun, what we give must come from the heart, in the moment. That’s the magic. So there has been a huge problem for me. I was uncomfortable being honest with our friends and fans, here, in our lovely online home. I was trying to separate the real me for the branding of me, and that felt awful. So I pulled back and thought about this a very long time, and I am ready now to share. A lot. For years, it has been public knowlege, here, here, here, and here, that I am an autistic woman and advocate, but I felt as the band’s producer and singer that it could cause concern or confusion for some event clients. So I kept it off this website. And it made me avoid the website altogether. At the same time, I have been working on a passion project, a new little treasure of a cabaret show, that tells my story as an autistic woman. I have always connected best by performing. I am on the stage to love you! So it only felt right to tell my story it a way that most suits me, through singing and storytelling in my own unique way. Doc is thrilled and proud of what I have created and encouraging me to share it with you here. And a surprising thing happened once I agreed to. I feel like myself and comfortable sharing other things. So now I want to share, share, share, about my new show, Doc’s music, the Imperial Palms, our retro life, and so much more! Because our music life cannot, should not, be a separate thing from who we are. It is the expression of who we are! Sorry it took me so long to figure this all out. You deserve better. So the best thing I can give you is all of me, Doc, and the whole Imperial Palms family in my authentic different way. So, welcome! As Doc said when I accepted his marriage proposal so many years ago, “Ohhhhhhh, we are going to have so much fun together!” Thanks for waiting while I figured this out. I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment, if you can. Have you struggled with a similar experience?

Here is my new show flyer. I’ll be posting shows on our band event page. And look forward to sharing news here! XO!Blissfully_Being.jpg


Thanks for the Swell Summer!

Things are hoppin’ at Doc and Chou Chou’s Bungalow on the Bay, as we get ready for our musical season ahead. Much to do, and we’re rarin’ to go, but, before we get into the swing of swingin’, we want to thank all our wonderful friends who made our events over this past season over-the-top fun! We live to make you happy, but, oh, how happy you make us! There were the balls and galas, romantic weddings, road trips and concerts, including almost being blown away by a summer storm, in an amphitheater build over the water, while the band played on. Chou Chou has announced the sand is finally all out of her little sequined shoes. There was the best of fun on the band bus, and the marathon sleepless back to back events. Doc lost his favorite sleeping cap somewhere along the way. Summer’s swan song couldn’t have been better: A standing-room-only 1000+ house of the greatest audience members ever, followed by a packed concert of guests old enough to remember the great music we play, and cheering like teenagers, while we brought it to life for them. We love how great music presented in an entertaining show appeals to all ages, but there is something really special about playing to those who remember it from the first time ’round. Then there is the tremendous joy of introducing young ones to the thrill of a live Big Band Orchestra for the very first time. Here’s to more fun to come! We’re always planning surprises along the way. Sometimes, there are surprises we don’t even plan, like, if you hang around after a show, if you’re really, really lucky, you may find this: Doc and George giving an impromptu country music performance after the show! Who knew?