Once a year, over ten thousand girl-loving girls descend on Palm Springs, California to attend the biggest lesbian event known to womankind: the Dinah Shore Weekend. “Weekend” is a bit of a misnomer, as the event spans five full days and features a non-stop schedule of pool parties, comedy shows, music acts and lesbian debauchery that rivals any Spring Break captured by MTV.
Originally a staid golf tourney hosted by the 40s singer, Dinah Shore, (a conservative who hated having her name associated with the lesbians) the annual event gradually moved away from ladies sweating on the back nine to girls sweating on the dance floor. Each year, the Dinah Shore Weekend attracts a larger crowd, bigger acts and smaller bikinis. No longer an event known mostly to Southern California women, the Dinah Shore Weekend is now a pool party pilgrimage for lesbians from all over the country, and the world.
AfterEllen.com talked to Mariah Hanson, owner of Club Skirts and its trademarked event, “The Dinah.” Celebrating her 20th anniversary this year (March 31-April 4) with acts like Salt ‘N Pepa (reuniting with DJ Spinderella for an exclusive performance), Ke$ha and Rosie O’Donnell, Hanson dished about her party-throwing philosophy, how the community has changed, and why she booked Katy Perry in 2009, to the dismay of many AfterEllen.com readers.
AfterEllen: Congratulations on The Dinah’s 20th anniversary. How has the event changed over the years?
AE: How has the demographic changed?
AE: Your shows have changed, too. Each year, it seems the artists are bigger and more mainstream.
AE: Flak from whom?