Have You Heard About The New Dinah?
How The Dinah Shore is evolving and why Palm Springs is the best place to host the biggest lesbian event in the world.
I'm sure you've heard of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, the biggest lesbian event in the world, a five-day party (April 3-7) characterized by dancing, pool parties and flowing spirits. You've likely heard of the entertainment they bring each year, from Katy Perry, to Lady Gaga to Ke$ha, the comedy they attract, from Wanda Sykes to Fortune Feimster, the celebrities that come, from actresses from The L Word to celesbians from The Real L Word like Lauren Bedford Russell and Kiyomi McCloskey, and you may have heard of the competitions they have hosted, from Rock Band challenges, to Celesbian Dodgeball to the Battle of the Web Series. We're going to let you know about the side of The Dinah that you haven't heard about, what's new this year and why Palm Springs is the perfect place to host The Dinah.
The Music Festival
The Dinah isn't just a five-day party; it's a music festival. When the recession was just starting Mariah Hanson, The Dinah's creator and producer, decided to bring The Dinah to the next level by raising the bar on entertainment. "I had this deep feeling inside. And it was a crazy thing. That I needed to spend three times as much money on entertainment than I ever spent and blow it out of the water – because you guys, my customers needed a reason to come that was so big and just so phenomenal that for five days they could forget about the fact that things were really tough," says Hanson.
About seven years in the making now, Hanson has been bringing emerging artists to The Dinah, such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha, right before they exploded into mainstream pop culture. The music industry now looks at The Dinah as a pivotal indicator in the success of emerging artists' careers. "For the first time we're on top of the curve. We're helping to make those kind of decisions that are launching artists. And I love that. Because they're watching us (the music industry). They're watching what's happening at this event. I think that's just incredible for lesbian visibility," says Hanson.
The Dinah 2013 will be no different in bringing in great talent, some of that talent being Karmin ("Broken Hearted"), Diana King ("Shy Guy"), Havana Brown ("We Run The Night") and Uh Huh Her ("Not A Love Song").
The Film Scholarship and Red Carpet Premiere
Hanson believes that film is critical for the progression of our civil rights and is launching a film scholarship this year at The Dinah. Each year, The Dinah will select a filmmaker to premiere their independent sitcom, web series or film with a gala red carpet event and will donate all of the proceeds to their work. 2013 will highlight Jill Bennett's new independent sitcom, Second Shot, where Bennett plays an ex-soccer star who returns to her hometown to run a gay bar, and gets a second shot with her first love.
Hanson is also focused on incorporating activism into The Dinah experience. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has been selected as the charity to showcase at The Dinah 2013. The Dinah will be hosting a celebrity poker tournament this year, and 100 percent of the money will go to HRC to help them in our fight to get legislation passed across the country for our equal rights.
The Block Party
Within the next two to three years, parties will be going on at several hotels, all on the same block, each one featuring different dance music and a different theme. Building the groundwork for the block party this year, instead of working with two officially sanctioned hotels, The Dinah is working with six, and they are all on the same block.
The VIP Program
Palm Springs has created a VIP program for The Dinah guests who are staying at officially sanctioned hotels to get discounts from restaurants, stores and other locales. The VIP program is just one example of Palm Springs' sincere commitment to engage in The Dinah Shore Weekend. Palm Springs is made up of individuals, organizations and businesses that care about one another, support each other and that put an emphasis on community involvement.
"I'm really proud to be here (in Palm Springs) because you always want to know that the dollars that you're creating are going to the right places, that they're going to places, to cities, to stores, to corporations that care about us, and I can say with 150 percent sincerity that this city is all about that," says Hanson.
The Official Host Hotel: The Hilton Palm Springs
The Hilton Palm Springs is The Dinah's official host hotel. The Hilton just finished an 11 million dollar renovation and is only one mile from the Palm Springs International Airport. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport, as well as a shuttle service that will take you anywhere within a 2 mile radius of the hotel during your stay.
The Hilton doesn't only have great accommodations, but the Hilton is also made up of a great staff. The General Manager of the Hilton Palm Springs, Aftab Dada, brought together all of the Palm Springs hotel general managers to walk in the Pride parade together, carrying a rainbow flag.
"Aftab Dada, I'm going to call him a masterpiece of a human being because he's so committed to this group. Aftab, he's just got a heart of gold. He's just doing the right thing for the right reasons. When you have a friend like that in this industry, it gives me chills. I am just so thankful for this guy because I know that the Hilton is always going to be the home for The Dinah," says Hanson.
The Dinah is comprised of a diverse mix of women who love women. The average age is about 34-years-old, but you will also see 21-year-olds, as well as 70-year-olds. The Dinah Shore weekend expands beyond The Dinah events. Once a year, during The Dinah, lesbians take over the whole town. More lesbians are buying property in Palm Springs, and if they're going to visit, it's going to be during The Dinah Shore weekend. They may not go to The Dinah events, but they come to Palm Springs to be surrounded by out and proud women. Year-round Palm Springs is a great LGBT destination, but during The Dinah it becomes the biggest lesbian destination.
There's More to Palm Springs than The Dinah
When you come down for The Dinah this year, plan to stay a few extra days because Palm Springs has a lot to offer. Whether you come early or stay later, make sure to book a room at one of the two lesbian resorts, Queen of Hearts and Casitas Laquita. Both resorts are characterized by the owners' passion to make guests feel at home, by their affordable prices and by their beauty.
For nature aficionados, go on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world's largest rotating tramcar, to get a breathtaking view of Coachella Valley and the cliffs of Chino Canyon. Be sure to take a jeep and hiking tour through Desert Adventures. The guides are well-versed in the land and the history of Palm Springs and the hiking terrain is gorgeous. And Palm Canyon, within Indian Canyons, is a must hike destination. It's a .5 to 15-mile hike through a forested area of palm trees.
If you enjoy art, fashion and shopping, you will love the uptown design district, which is filled with the chic boutiques, as well as antique, consignment, resale and retro galleries. Every Thursday in downtown Palm Springs is Villagefest where the streets are filled with 200 booths offering live music, art, handcrafted items and unique food.
For the most delicious food, mixed drinks and desserts you will ever taste, you need to eat at Casa de Frida. This restaurant is co-owned by a gay and lesbian couple, and the food is a fusion of Mexican, Spanish, French, Cuban, Caribbean and Central/South American dishes.
If you're going to The Dinah on a budget, Pinocchio in the Desert gives you large portions for an inexpensive price, and they have amazing happy hour deals all day. They serve bottomless champagne for $3.95 and well drinks from $2.50 to $7.95.
If you enjoy being pampered, the "Talking of the Waters" spa treatment at the Spa Resort Casino will leave you feeling utterly relaxed. The Spa Resort Casino is across the street from the Hilton and it is one of The Dinah's sanctioned hotels. You can easily spend a whole day at the spa getting a massage, a facial, a manicure and pedicure, one of their specialty treatments, like the Agua Caliente Mud Wrap, and their not to miss "Talking of the Waters" spa treatment.
Before you leave Palm Springs, be sure to check out Crystal Fantasy, an enlightenment center in downtown Palm Springs that's a few blocks away from the Hilton. The owners, Scott and Joy Meredith, created a safe space and welcoming environment open to all beliefs and backgrounds. If you're going to The Dinah for the first time, by yourself or are anxious for any reason, we recommend getting a Reiki treatment with Reiki Master Earl Nissen before you begin your Dinah festivities. Reiki enhances your overall wellbeing and can have a calming, balancing and relaxing effect, which can help you start The Dinah on a great note.
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