My most recent blog post was about answering a question I get often as a traveling queer journalist. When you live in Lesbianland, you have a to keep reminding yourself that every day another queer learns something new about our community. So, if you've ever wondered, "What's the Dinah?", here's one answer.
A few weeks back I was at a training to become a Laughter Yoga leader (darling, don't ask. That's a whole other conversation), when my fellow queer girl in the group asked a question that I have heard before, "what's the Dinah?" What prompted this missive is what she said next, "I'm from Boston. The Dinah is where you go to eat." I fell out. I was too tickled. I giggled about that for weeks. At the time, I gave her my pat answer about 10K+ women converging in Palm Springs for days filled with scantily clad women, town streets streaming with lesbians everywhere you turn. Followed by nights filled with comedy, dancing, incredible musical acts, and more hot women. This prompts the typical response of "sign me up."
Then I started thinking about it. How would I really describe the World Famous Dinah Shore Weekend? In one word, freedom. The reason it sounds so wonderful is because what I am describing is a lesbian utopian experience. The freedom you feel surrounded by women who love women. The freedom you feel to express that love in public without fear of judgment. The freedom you feel when you allow yourself to have this experience. The Dinah is a lot more than hot half-naked lesbians in the California desert, although it is that too, and I am grateful.
When I interviewed the founder and creator of The Dinah, Mariah Hanson, a year and a half ago about turning 25 years. The Dinah is currently celebrating their 26th year, she spoke about the continuity that an event like this provides. At the time, there were women attending that came out 25 years ago and The Dinah offered sanctuary. Then there were 25-year-old women that have never lived when there wasn't a Dinah Shore Weekend. That's what's so great. When you see it in person, it is a magnificent sight to behold.
My favorite part is meeting the Dinah Virgin. This is a woman that has never been to The Dinah and has sparkles in her eyes with all that she has imagined it would be. Each virgin has a different story. While they all center on the same event, their experience and their expectations are completely different. Some talk about the scantily clad women. Some talk about the parties. A lot of them talk about the incredible acts and amazing access they get to their favorite LGBTQ and allied entertainers. Some talk about the sex. While I do not have firsthand experience of this (I'm a married woman), I have been witness each year to the allure that the Dinah has and how it relaxes inhibitions.
The Dinah Virgin has no age. For some women, they've been waiting until they were old enough to get into the oasis that Hanson has created. For others, they've been waiting from year one until they could finally experience what they've been dreaming about for over 25 years. Can you imagine? It's a very heady moment. You can see it on their faces. That moment when that can't believe that they are really there. Attendees come from all over the world, from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. I've met friends from Australia that planned it for a year, including incredible coordinating outfits for each party. I met another group of friends who decided on a whim to do the quick drive from LA and treat themselves on the spur of the moment.
There is another group that I really love, the Reunion Group. Every year they get together at The Dinah. They laugh and cry over the stories they have from years past. They create the ultimate Girls Weekend. Some are all single. Some are groups of couples or some other configuration. They treat themselves to a great time and get the most out of the experience. I meet a lot of this group in VIP. They've had years of practice. They know how to get the most out of it.
Regardless of how they all got there. What matters is that they all got there. They are all smiling. They are all dancing. They are all laughing and shining with that glow of FREEDOM that The Dinah creates year after year.
So, to rephrase my previous answer, The World Famous Dinah Shore Weekend is an experience like you have never had before. It is whatever you make of it. Create your own Dinah Story. Hope to see you there!
To see a lineup of performers and purchase tickets go to: www.TheDinah.com.