K.C. Rocks With D.C.
By Cat Ortiz-White
I'm ba-a--a-ck! It's Cat here again with the continuing saga of "How the Fan Clubs Turn." For those of you who are new, please read my other stories first starting with "First Encounter of a Da-idy Kind" then, "In Calgary Dreams Are Nuthin' More Than Wishes," followed by "On the Fantasy Island Set," and I last left you with "An Amazing Time in New York." When I last left off, I had a joint club with Urda Voss from Germany called "The International l David Cassidy Fan Club." In the Spring of 1984 after 5 years of living with my boyfriend Mark Conlan, we went our separate ways. Soon after Urda & I also decided to end our merger and go back to being separate clubs. This was before computers and the net so distance was a problem as well as artistic differences with the newsletter. She would keep the title we had together as she'd started her club first, so it was only fair and I finally decided on the name "Friends Of David Cassidy" with the "Da-idy Magazine." Urda still put out the "Da-idy Newsletter" and both of the "Da-idy's" were bi-monthly. We tried to put them out on different months from each other so that members of both our clubs would get a "Da-idy" each month.
In 1984 we all found out that David was doing "Jesus Christ Superstar" in Kansas City, MO for the week of Aug. 6th to Aug. 12th. Since we were all still friends, we all called & wrote each other about our arrival times, etc. Lisa Richmond had even helped restarted Jan Shulman's old club DGAD (David's Girls Against Disease - the first club ever started by a fan for David back in 1972.) Lisa stayed with Renee' Burdick from California, Barbara Pazmino from N.Y., Urda, Tina & some other fans from Germany. Lisa left early though, so I didn't get to see her although I did call her after the trip and we became friends as well. I had arranged to share a room with Betty Syzdek from Texas and her friend Lydia for the weekend.
David posing in his Jesus costume after the show. Aug. 10, 1994
My plane to K.C. arrived late Friday night, (Aug. 10th) and I had to take a cab straight to the Starlight Theater with luggage & all, in order to see the show! I looked for Betty but couldn't find her. I finally took a seat and watched the show. It was really great! Nicolette Larson played Mary and the show had many people from the original Broadway production. I did notice David was not in quite as good a voice as when I last saw him last in "Joseph" and I later found out that he had a strained vocal chord and was under doctors orders to talk as little as possible while not on-stage! I'd also heard he was in much better voice earlier in the week. The part of Jesus is a very vocally demanding part requiring a 4 octave range, so I really felt for David having strained his voice at a time like this!
After the show, Betty & Lydia told me that before that evenings show, David had come out back and posed for pictures with them and the European group, then he had come out again in his Jesus robe to pose for more pictures. I was so upset I missed it! Above is one of the pictures that Betty Syzdek took of David in his Jesus robe.
After each show, David would go to the side of the theater to an iron gate & sign a few autographs. It was there that I saw him and asked if I could meet with him later for my club. He said "I did that already tonight, and my voice is really bad now." I said he didn't have to talk but just pose for a few pics. He said "I did that tonight, that's it." I found it a bit strange that he'd posed for everyone on Friday instead of Saturday night when Betty & I told everyone we'd be there. Betty got to take pictures of David as she was lucky enough to see and follow the European group around the theater before the show. She did not know about the meeting before hand.
Betty & I hit it off as friends and even decided to "merge" out two clubs together. This only lasted for two issues though as Betty later became very ill and her club shut down completely shortly after the split.
After the show on Saturday night we went around back to meet with David and Meryl, who we'd seen before the show, said he'd talk to us then. Betty tried to talk to David and I of course wanted to take some pictures as I'd missed the big meeting the night before.
I took a few photos, then asked David if he minded. David said "Yes, actually I do." I put my camera down and said "ok," and tried to see what he thought of our merger. Unfortunately, some other fans who were there kept clicking away, so David became annoyed and wanted to leave. He said he thought the idea was fine "whatever is best for the fans, etc." A German girl then asked for an autograph & posed with him for a pic.
David then looked over at me and motioned for me to come next to him. Right then my camera jammed but Betty said she'd take a pic. so not to worry.
David said "Well, at least let her have SOME of what you all had the other night!" I was wearing a big straw sun hat with a sun dress and he leaned over and bit the hat - everyone laughed. The he smiled for another picture. Betty was the only one to take a picture of us together. I didn't even know he bit the hat until afterward and Betty told me. I thought it was really cute that he did that and only wished someone had gotten one of him actually biting it! David then moved away a posed for a minute alone and then left.
Betty & Lydia decided to leave earlier than planned and left Sunday morning. I didn't know what to do as I didn't have enough money for the hotel alone and my plane wasn't leaving until Monday and I couldn't change the flight! Luckily Mark Wycoff and his mom (Mark was only 15 years. old then) were also there and when I told them my situation, they let me stay with them and insisted that it be for free!! Not only that, but they paid for my food and taxi rides with them to the theater and airport. Mark also contributed many items to the next n/l as well. To this day, Mark is a great friend and one of the sweetest people on earth!!!
Sunday before the show, Mark & I went to wait for David. I gave David an envelope with 2 pics & a blank piece of paper for a message for him to sign. Unfortunately when I was trying to tell him I especially wanted the message for the new club, some other girls there were talking over me so he didn't hear me. I got the two pictures back signed which was still very nice of him to do.
All in all, the trip was worth while as I made new friends, saw a great show and I'll never forget how David wanted me to be able to get a picture with him and how he playfully tried to make it a special picture by biting my hat!
Left: Photo by Betty Syzdek. After the infamous "bite."
Not only that but even though I missed the big meeting, Tina Funk was VERY kind and sent me a beautiful 8 X10 picture of David in his Jesus robe for my following Birthday which I got to use for the cover of one of my Da-idy n/l's. To this day, I appreciate how nice she's always been to me and that she was never at all "cold" towards me even though we had separate clubs. I'm also very happy that to this day, she's continued to run a club for David so that he still has one. Many others have shut down but it's good that D.C. fans still can get a "Just David" newsletter and meet other D.C. fans.
When I first got a computer, I read on the net about the trip that Barbara Pazmino, who's now helping Tina by doing the North American n/l's arranged for fans to meet David in Las Vegas for his Birthday in April 1997. More recently, Barbara also helped sell out some of David's concerts on the East Coast, getting fan club members preferred seating at some venues. She also helped arrange a promotional event with Decca Records and the TV show Good Morning America for fan club members. Barbara not only got the fans on "Good Morning America" but then also took photos of all the fans that showed up with David at the "Then & Now" CD signing at a Costco in NY on May 6, 2002. I just think that's SUPER!! I'm so very happy for all of the fans that went and it's so sweet and generous of Barbara and Tina to be working on the fans behalf! Hopefully, David and his people will continue to work with the fan club so that even more fans can meet David in person.
Until next time, as D.C. often says, "Keep rockin'!"