That sound you hear is one zillion lesbians stampeding toward Palm Springs, California where the Dinah Shore weekend kicks off in just a few days. Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs, the brains and beauty behind Girl Bar, have been instrumental in constructing the world’s largest lesbian spring break experience. They spoke to us recently about the Dinah’s 20th anniversary, about booking Samantha Ronson and about good old Dawn Denbo.
Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs
AfterEllen.com: Why do you think Dinah Shore has evolved from a small golf tournament gathering into lesbian spring break?
Robin and Sandy: The Dinah Shore weekend had been predominantly a southern California event, dominated by southern California promoters. We helped turn this weekend into a week-long series of events by expanding our marketing and the Girl Bar brand to women from all over the U.S., and over the past five years to women from Europe, Canada, Australia, and the U.K.
We feel the expansion of the weekend has to do with the quality and style of parties that we started to produce since 1990, and also due to The L Word‘s first season which was filmed at our Sunday pool party. We were also influenced by the men’s White Party produced by Jeffrey Sanker, and wanted to produce events of that magnitude and style for the women’s community. Therefore, between the combination of both influences we believe that the event just exploded due to the world wide awareness of the Dinah Shore Weekend from The L Word, and the style/entertainment level that we set. We raised the bar and women now expect the best from us!
AE: How much of the year do you spend planning/recovering from this one weekend?
Robin and Sandy: We start planning the following year’s event during and after the current one! We get a lot of ideas while we are working, and are very attuned to what our customers want. We have great promotional partners from around the U.S. and also from Europe who contribute to our creative process for the following year.
It’s a year long planning process — recovery takes a few weeks afterwards. When we produce an event of this magnitude, we both get such a rush and a high from the experience, so it takes a little time to come down from that. Of course we are tired, but it’s worth it!
AE: Your lineup is stacked this year. How did you choose who to book?
Robin and Sandy: Our lineup is amazing this year! I think it’s the best ever, as it should be due to the 20th anniversary. We selected our line-up carefully, and put a lot of thought into who we felt would be great entertainment for our crowd. We have a wide cross section of women not only from the U.S. but now from all over the world, therefore wanted to be as diversified as possible with our talent. We are also politically motivated, and wanted to have HRC (Human Rights Campaign Fund) be part of our weekend also this year. So Jennifer Coolidge will be performing. We could all use more laughter in our lives right now!
With such a diversity in music from Kelis (R&B powerhouse) to Kelly Rowland (Grammy award winning dance diva) to Orianthi (pop music rockin’ guitarist). We have covered a wide variety of musical tastes and talent.
In terms of DJs, the women’s community is not as DJ driven as the men’s community, but we have certainly hit it huge with Samantha Ronson who will DJ for the Pure White Party on Friday night. She is truly a celesbian. So many women are so excited to see and hear her DJ. We might have started a new trend!
Good talent takes thought and patience, so we definitely waited this one out this year!
AE: How do you balance between lesbian acts and more mainstream acts?
Robin and Sandy: We are very supportive of talent within our community and our Funny Girlz Comedy show always showcases the best comedians in the lesbian community every year. We also want to give our customers what they want, and sometimes that talent is not necessarily lesbian. Most of our talent, whether they be lesbian or not, are always excited to perform for the lesbian community. Gays and lesbians have been such a huge influence in the club/music business. We always have the hottest, most fun clubs, and play the most cutting edge music. We have helped make a lot of artists famous. They truly appreciate us, and are thrilled to play to such a loyal crowd!
AE: There has been so much buzz about Samantha Ronson spinning for the Pure White Party. This is sort of the first time she’s really fully embraced her lesbian following. Why do you think she’s choosing this year’s Dinah? Was it a hard sell for you or was she excited to do it?
Robin and Sandy: Samantha Ronson is a great choice for us! Samantha knows that she has a huge lesbian following, and Dinah Shore weekend is a perfect way for her fans to hear her DJ, and also to branch out a bit more. This was not a hard sell at all for her; She is thrilled to do it! Her style of music — pop, R&B, and house — is perfect for our crowd. Plus, the relationship with Lindsay Lohan, whether it be friendship or otherwise, has certainly created quite the stir! We are so excited to have her, as are all the girls!
AE: There may have been rumors that The L Word‘s baddest-ass, best-ever, most-beloved character, Dawn Denbo, was a fictitious hybrid of you two. Thoughts?
Robin and Sandy: [Laughs] Well, that’s an old story! Our attitude is better to be talked about then to not be talked about at all. The L Word was a wonderful show that brought everything out from love, loyalty, friendship, family, and drama. It’s important to create interesting characters and story lines to keep your audience watching. Elizabeth Keener, Sandy and I laughed about the whole Dawn Denbo character, as Keener is so not that type of person — but did a great acting job.
We have always been good and fair business women, but in a male dominated club community you have to be tough sometimes, as it’s not easy for women to gain and maintain a powerful strong stature and reputation. We have worked very hard to be where we are, and we are very appreciative to our loyal following. We would not be where we are today if it was not for the women in our community!
So, this year’s 20th anniversary is a celebration of years of loyalty, friendship, and fun — to all of the women that we have known that started with us from the beginning. It’s going to be a big party!