Interview with Mariah Hanson

AE: Last year, a documentary called Out in the Desert shot the event. Was that the first time anyone had done a documentary about The Dinah?
MH:
There’s a documentary every year. But none of them have taken [Out in the Desert Executive Producer] Page Hurwitz‘s angle. I had a long conversation with Page about her vision: the importance of the event within the lesbian community. She did something really different and got to the heart of the weekend, which is that The Dinah affects the attendees’ lives. Out in the Desert explores the personal stories of some women’s hopes and dreams when coming to this crazy annual weekend.

 

 
photo credit: Christian Thomas

 

MH: I haven’t seen it yet but I can’t wait. It sounds like she captured what is really beautiful about The Dinah – that it’s not just a party. I think it’s more than that. It can be life changing in a lot of different ways, on a lot of different levels. I’m really excited that she chose Club Skirts to do that.

AE: After 20 years, you must have some crazy stories. What are some of the most memorable ones?
MH:
[laughs] There are so many things, I can’t even tell you. One year, someone tried to unscrew the light bulb in the Jacuzzi because they wanted to get sexy, not realizing that water and electricity don’t mix.

AE: You’d think any lesbian worth her tool belt would know better.
MH:
I wouldn’t try that myself! And there was the year when Bonnie Pointer was on stage, and no one believed it was Bonnie Pointer because she was wearing a blond wig. And I said, "She better be Bonnie Pointer, because I paid for Bonnie Pointer!"

AE: Bonnie Pointer?
MH:
The Pointer Sisters?

AE: Oh, right.
MH:
Girl, I go back 20 years! That was a cool act to book back then, OK?

AE: Sure! "Neutron Dance," "I’m So Excited," "Jump"? They’d be cool now, too. Do you think you’ll ever book a male act in the future?
MH:
I tried to this year.

AE: Who?
MH:
Adam Lambert.

AE: And?
MH:
Didn’t return my calls.

AE: Maybe he was too busy putting on guyliner.
MH:
Exactly. But I like that idea [of having a male act.] The Dinah will evolve with the community. Younger LGBT people really hang out with each other more than they did in my day. I imagine that as years go on – it will always be a lesbian event – but I can see more guys there.

AE: OK. So, you’ve confirmed Salt-n-Pepa, Ke$ha, Rosie O’Donnell. Who else is going to be there?
MH: Paradiso Girls
and Lolene will be there. Meredith Baxter is walking our catwalk in the fashion show along with Bridget McManus, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Nat and Meg, Jill Bennett, Romaine Patterson from Sirius Radio, The Real L Word: LA‘s Tracy Ryerson, Elizabeth Keener.

AE: Keener, being from that other show called The L Word.
MH:
For me, Keener is Dawn Denbo and I love her.

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