Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend celebrates 23 years.
by Megan Smith
For twenty-three years, lesbians from all over the world have flocked to Palm Springs, California, for five days of non-stop sun, sex, love, and friendship at the largest girl party and music festival in the world—Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.
Founded by Mariah Hanson in 1991 under her Club Skirts marquee, the Dinah, which coincides with the Ladies Professional Gold Association’s Kraft Nabisco Championship Golf Tournament, serves as a one-stop destination for gay women to connect with one another, regardless of age, cultural background, or ability. From wet and wild pool parties to red-carpet celebrity events, the Dinah gives “loving women” a whole new meaning. “This past presidential election has proven that the country’s demographic makeup is drastically changing, and the voices of many minority groups, including women and the LGBT community, are now being heard,” says Hanson. “These voices make for the new face of a changing nation—a nation that is based on and celebrates diversity. And that is also what the Dinah represents: a celebration of the tapestry of lesbians and women around the world.”
In 2006, the Dinah took things one step further and added musical performances by some of the top names in the industry. Past headliners have included Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Salt-N-Pepa, and more. “In 2006, I finally had the freedom to present a Dinah that was equal to the event’s international fame,” Hanson emphasizes. “The Pussycat Dolls actually left their Black Eyed Peas tour to play the gig. It was momentous.”
Since then, the Dinah hasn’t slowed down one bit. With big-name sponsors like Bacardi, Bud Light, AfterEllen, and Logo, this year’s party promises to be bigger and better than ever. “For those of us who have the freedom to walk the streets holding hands with our partners, it’s difficult to fathom the idea that our lifestyle is not [typical] for the majority of others, but rather the exception,” Hanson explains. “We take for granted the fact that our reality is still a dream many wish would come true. But once a year, the Dinah makes that dream come true.”
This year’s event, held April 3–7, kicks off on Wednesday with drinks, dancing, and mingling at the Dinah Official Pre-Party in the newly renovated Hilton Hotel and Spa.
The following day, some of the funniest ladies in comedy bring their laugh-inducing talent to the stage for the Dinah’s Thursday Night Comedy event. Hosted by the famous Suzanne Westenhoefer, newcomers Jackie Loeb and Jacqueline Monahan join Chelsea Lately’s Fortune Feimster for an evening of hilarious entertainment.
But the night isn’t over after the comedy event—it’s just getting started with the Dinah Opening Party. Promising the hottest women around, the party also includes a musical performance from up-and-coming artist K. Rose singing her hit song “Sleep When I’m Dead.”
Rose’s lyrics could well be the spot-on theme song for the weekend—who needs sleep when you’ve got events like Friday’s TGIDF (Thank God It’s Dinah Friday) Pool Party (featuring a live performance by pop sensation Anjulie), a photo booth, and a live Sirius Radio XM broadcast?
Next up is the Dinah Film Festival with two one-of-a-kind world premieres. First is a screening of Second Shot, a new independent LGBT sitcom series that follows an ex-soccer player’s journey after she inherits her hometown gay bar. Then stick around to see Out in the Desert, a behind-the-scenes look at the Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.
Friday night brings a Dinah exclusive—the White Party at Hotel Zoso. As attendees explore the three levels of parties and shake it in the two dance rooms, special guest Havana Brown performs her international hit “We Run the Night.” And don’t forget the Curve Magazine VIP party and red-carpet celebrity arrivals.
After a Saturday morning full of outdoor beer gardens, a The Real L Word cast-members’ autograph signing, celebrity dodge ball, and a performance by the Vampire Diaries’ Kat Graham at the Cabana Girl Pool Party, it’s time to channel your inner girl rocker for the Dinah’s Girls That Rock series. Featuring serious rockers Life Down Here, L.A. duo PlayBoy School, and The Real L Word theme song’s Love’s Darling, this concert series has some major kick-butt attitude.
The Dinah isn’t just about celebrating community, but giving back to it as well. That’s why all proceeds from Saturday night’s Celebrity Poker, featuring The Real L Word’s Lauren Bedford Russell, actress Jill Bennett, and America’s Next Top Model Kim Stolz, directly benefit the Human Rights Campaign. The event takes place during the Dinah’s largest party of the weekend, the Dinah Goes to Monte Carlo, which includes a concert by American pop duo Karmin followed by dancing through the night.
Although Sunday is the Dinah’s final day, it doesn’t go out without a bang. Kicking the day off with the Wet and Wild Pool Party, guests enjoy a performance by international artist Diana King while catching some sun. The evening includes a full concert by electropop band Uh Huh Her, featuring The L Word’s Leisha Hailey. The weekend concludes on a high note with the Dinah Official Closing Party, bringing out the hottest DJs, dancers, and a performance by new “it girl” Katy Tiz.
Tickets for individual days and events are available for purchase online. However, Dinah organizers recommend the Platinum Pass as the best value for your money. This pass includes access to the majority of pool parties and evening party events.
“The Dinah is not only a hugely popular travel destination for lesbians, but also—and most importantly—a life-changing experience for women,” Hanson says. “In the course of five days, out of the other 360 days of the year, the Dinah allows them to be who they truly are, without fearing the judgment of others, and as well gain a tremendous amount of self-worth.”
For a full schedule of events, to purchase tickets, or for more information, visit thedinah.com.
Megan Smith is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.