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Dinah Shore Weekend Dual Rivalry Ends: Club Skirts Is Last Dinah Party Standing, Girl Bar Goes to Vegas

Dinah Shore Weekend Dual Rivalry Ends: Club Skirts Is Last Dinah Party Standing, Girl Bar Goes to Vegas

This year, The Dinah Shore Weekend is going back to its roots with the original monster party: Club Skirts - created and produced by Mariah Hanson, which is now the largest all-girl party and music festival in the world. An international must-do rite of passage for lesbians, it is also Palm Springs’ hottest ticket!

This year, The Dinah Shore Weekend is going back to its roots with the original monster party: Club Skirts The Dinah - created and produced by Mariah Hanson, which is now the largest all-girl party and music festival in the world. An international must-do rite of passage for lesbians, it is also Palm Springs’ hottest ticket!

With two separate promoters of The Dinah Shore Weekend having been in direct competition for the past six years, there has been a certain amount of confusion. In the early days, the event was a joint venture between Mariah Hanson, who pioneered the first Dinah Shore Weekend before joining forces with the duo Sandy Sachs and Dr. Robin Gans (promoters of Girl Bar). But in 2005, the partnership dissolved and the power promoters parted ways, each continuing the Dinah legacy with two separate visions of what the event should grow to become.

Since the split, the spirit of competition has stepped up the famed weekend to a spectacular world-class plateau. But for Hanson the rivalry translated into one thing: the fact that “competition inspires perfection.”

Girl Bar Dinah, run by Sandy Sachs and Dr. Robin Gans, is now leaving Palm Springs to produce a Dinah-like version in Las Vegas called Girl Bar Dinah Shore Week Las Vegas. 

"I think starting over again in another city is a good move for Girl Bar and I wish them well, “ said Hanson, “I just hope they picked the right city since Lisa Pittman and the Miami Aqua Girls, Jesi and Alison, host an annual event in September called Shedonism and it does well. Time will tell.”

“There have been two separately produced events for the past six years in Palm Springs - but now the producers of Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend in association with The Truck Stop Girlz from NYC are moving their events out of Palm Springs and to Las Vegas on a different weekend,” Gans and Sachs said in a statement about the move. The host hotels for the Vegas weekend are the Flamingo and Planet Hollywood.

Meanwhile, Hanson, under her Club Skirts marquee, is busy making the 2012 installment of the notorious weekend stronger, bigger and sexier than ever in the Sunny Oasis of Palm Springs.

Hanson’s 2012 lineup features performances from Grammy-Award Winning Music Legend Chaka Khan, Nina Sky, Wynter Gordon, Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta, cast members of The Real L Word, and a Q&A with Meredith Baxter moderated by Suzanne Westenhoefer, just to name a few.

Girl Bar's move to Las Vegas has a lot of people wondering why since for the past 22 years, it has been a Palm Springs tradition. According to Palm Springs Hilton General Manager, Aftab Dada in a KMIR interview, "The Dinah ranks as one of the five premier events in Coachella Valley." He goes on to explain his theory behind the Girl Bar exodus, “For the past four years, Club Skirts has been taking a lot of market share from Girl Bar.”

But Girl Bar’s Sachs and Gans have their own reasons for the move to Sin City.

“Vegas is the hot spot with a plethora of entertainment and culinary options, which is exactly what our guests have been asking us for,” Gans and Sachs said in a statement. They added that what will be different with the Vegas move is that there will be “No more parties in massive corporate ballrooms, no more waiting in line for drink tickets, and most importantly no last call!” Gans and Sachs promise they will, “offer an intimate experience to our clientele and yet allow them to experience everything that Vegas has to offer.” They also said that “unlike Palm Springs pool parties, when a patron’s top comes off in Las Vegas, that’s considered “au naturale” and OK in Vegas!”

The Dinah started two decades ago, catering to a relatively small gathering of women who trekked to Palm Springs to socialize and maybe even take in some of the concurrent Dinah Shore Championship Golf Tournament. This was the beginning of The Dinah becoming intrinsically linked to Palm Springs. Hanson stated that, “The Dinah is to Palm Springs what Sundance is to Park City.”

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Girl Bar teamed up with the Truck Stop Girlz last year, another LA-based club promoter, and recently announced on its website an exodus to Las Vegas to produce a Dinah-inspired weekend this spring.

While Girl Bar promoters have their own reasons for the Vegas move, among Dinah-goers there is a sentiment that the Dinah Shore Weekend is one always and forever “made-in” Palm Springs.

Christine Pease, 44, who has been going to the Dinah Shore Weekend for six years commented: "Vegas means that it's not the Dinah but just a circuit party. The Dinah has a history in Palm Springs and it tells a story about the unity and tradition of our lesbian community.”

Each year, approximately 15,000 women from all over the world make the pilgrimage to the Sunny Oasis for a monumental 5-day weekend of spectacular comedy shows, live concerts and legendary wild pool parties that have included some of the biggest names in the industry like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, The Pussy Cat Dolls, Colbie Caillat, India Arie, Pat Benatar, Natasha Bedingfield, The Indigo Girls, Chely Wright and Salt’n Pepa.

Beyond Palm Springs’ historical reputation as once being the popular escape for Hollywood royalties such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Lucille Ball, it has come to epitomize the definition of “living out loud.” The city boasts a very large LGBT population (estimates are nearly half of the residents identify as gay); not to mention gay and gay friendly businesses providing a unique sense of community. The Dinah’s economic contribution to the continuous growth of Palm Springs’ hospitality and tourism industries is immeasurable.

Hanson’s Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is definitely not going anywhere; especially with this year’s event looking like it could be the largest in The Dinah’s history.

“Hotel sales and ticket sales are way up. We’re expanding our party space at both the Riviera and The Palm Springs Convention Center to accommodate the increased crowds,” said Hanson.

Last year Club Skirts sold out The Riviera, The Hilton, and The Shilo Inn.

But Girl Bar promoters Sachs and Gans are certain that if they build the event in Vegas then the women will come. “It’s not about quantity but more about quality – we expect to have the sophisticated ladies that have been joining us from around the world in previous years coming back for this new and improved Dinah Shore Weekend Las Vegas,” Sachs and Gans said.

Meanwhile, Hanson credits faithful Dinah goers with opting for the original Palm Springs Dinah experience. “As far as The Dinah Shore Weekend goes, I may be the architect but the colors and the brush strokes, that’s the talent of the attendees, and based on pre-sales, they clearly want to be in Palm Springs,” Hanson said. 

Photos courtesy of Club Skirts The Dinah. 

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Cheryl Mazak