GO Magazine had the immense lesbian honor of attending the world-famous The Dinah Weekend (again!) this year. From April 3-7, thousands upon thousands of gorgeous queer women made their yearly pilgrimage to Palm Springs for the most epic lesbian event ever.
Everything you’ve ever heard about The Dinah is true. You might read or see something and think it’s exaggerated, but—no, really—it is the most magical place on Earth. It is the consummate lez utopia where hot queer women traipse around in their bikinis, slug back chic cans of Babe rosé, shamelessly flirt and grind, and witness world-class entertainment.
Are you getting turned on? You should be.
Not only is The Dinah the adult lesbian Disneyland, it also has important queer historical significance. If you don’t know the history of The Dinah, throw on some sexy reading glasses à la fetishy school girl and get reading this tea.
Mariah Hanson began her lesbian nightlife career in 1988 when she debuted Club Skirts, a Sunday night dance party for San Francisco Bay area women. She then expanded to a Saturday dance club, The Girl Spot, which was open for 15 years. Once Hanson got a taste of lezzie nightlife, she understandably wanted to keep it going but on a much grander scale; thus, The Dinah was born. It has since gone through many incarnations and has evolved into an internationally acclaimed ultimate women’s weekend.
I asked Mariah Hanson what it feels like to have created The Dinah and to look out into a sea of queer women having the time of their lives. “It is one of the more powerful emotions I’ve ever experienced. It’s such a privilege to be able to present this platform to our community,” Mariah tells GO. “It speaks to so much more than just a party—it enhances our collective self-worth. For me, that’s what drives me to produce it every year. To create an environment where women can feel whole, heard, and empowered.”
The Dinah was named after Dinah Shore, a legendary singer, TV personality, and golfer. She founded the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle, a golf tournament and major magnet for lesbian athletes and their fans. Us lezzies and our sports! That’s how Dinah Shore become a tongue in cheek lesbian identifier.
Okay, so you know the history. Now it’s time for GO’s epic sexy summary of this year’s event. I kept a lezzie captain’s log to give you all a blow-by-blow recap on our time at The Dinah. Whether we were shaking it on the dancefloor, listening to the incredible performers, or drooling over hot girls, I recorded all of it so you can feel like you were there too, babe.
Thursday, April 4th—6:03 p.m.
Zara Barrie and I arrived at Newark airport, freshly tanned, manicured, and wearing our matching pink Kappa-brand sweatsuits. We stuffed our faces with $25 airport burgers with no buns (Dinah diet!) as a frat bro hit on us and talked about Keto. We were bursting with anticipation over being at our favorite place on earth, but a glass of Pinot Grigio and a Lana Del Rey playlist lulled us into a deep sapphic sleep the entirety of the plane ride. We landed in what is perhaps the most beautiful airport, Palm Springs Airport (PSP). It’s outdoors and covered in lush palm trees and gay travel ads. A quick cab ride to the Hyatt brought us to what we thought was an official welcome committee, but it turned out to really be just a group of hot lesbians hanging in front of the massive Dinah banner. We toyed with the idea of going out, but we knew to save our energy for the next three days. Goodnight Z and D.
Friday, April 5th—10 a.m.
First up was the Friday pool party. Zara and I wore our tamer outfits this day: Z in a pink maxi skirt and pink jelly sandals, and I in a black skirt with a high slit and chunky black platforms (with matching GO shirts, obviously). Usually Friday is understandably a little less crowded than Saturday and Sunday, but this party was packed to the brim with babes. The Dinah was off to an epic start.
We met up with our promo girls for the weekend: Jelisha Pedraza and Victoria Pelham. Jelisha is a baby butch hailing from Sacramento, covered in tattoos and boasting killer dance skills. Victoria is a magnetic femme from LA who charmed every woman who sauntered over to the GO table.
This was Jelisha’s second time getting down at the Dinah.
“This year working with GO Mag was amazing and fun,” she tells GO. “The VIP passes made me feel like royalty for the weekend. … Seeing everyone enjoy themselves, the music, and the environment. The overall great energy that filled the poolside was worth the sunburn. Not to mention the DJs this year were on point with setting the vibes!”
It was Victoria’s first time at The Dinah. This is what we lovingly call a Dinah Virgin.
“I felt like a bit of a cliché going in—like Jenny walking into my first Dinah—because I’m just starting to step out of the closet,” Victoria tells GO. “And I definitely had butterflies, but it was an absolute dream. Everyone was hugely welcoming which couldn’t have come at a better time, and no one made me feel out of place. … There was a solidarity I’d never experienced before. Also, I fell in love with Snow Tha Product and lost a shoe by the pool, because I’m a modern-day Cinderella.”
I totally second that—Snow Tha Product can get it. Not to mention, she is an incredibly talented performer who has a hilarious and raw presence on stage and makes an effort to genuinely connect with her fans.
Sara Stone, Dinah’s partnership manager, was brilliant at keeping the Dinah ship sailing smoothly. She was meticulously organized, kept the vendors happy and on track, and ran around like crazy—all while keeping a smile on her face. Seriously, I never saw Sara not smiling. She’s an angel.
“Dinah 2019 was electric,” Sara shares with GO. “The energy provided by all the guests, artists, sponsors and vendors was palpable and I was embraced by nothing but smiles all weekend.”
Not only does Sara handle Dinah’s partnerships, she also has a special level of understanding about The Dinah that us revelers just can’t grasp.
“The privilege I have as partnership manager is seeing the event from the outside in, watching a moment in time shared between queer strangers suddenly and with great ease become not only friends and family after a weekend together,” Sara tells GO. “To witness it is surreal and magical.”
Rose Garcia of “The Real L Word” hosted every daytime party and made all of the poolside girls drool. Rose’s funny banter and sexy energy laid the foundation for the vibe of the party. By the end of the weekend, I think I fully fell in love with Rose. She is the most incredible host with endless energy and the most devastatingly gorgeous beauty mark.
The GO babes and I made so many friends. One of our favorites was Kelly Van Ness, who turned up at The Dinah with her wife and best friend. They were from the land of my people—Long Island—so we got along famously. It was Kelly’s first time attending The Dinah, and it was nothing short of iconic.
“The Dinah has always been the holy grail of events in my mind. Living near NYC for most of my adult life, I’ve never felt deprived of gay events,” Kelly tells GO. “This however, is far beyond your local lesbo gathering. The women at The Dinah are happy to be there and are more than inclined to talk to you. For me, it was about enjoying the company of gay women and creating new friendships. I’m married, and it was definitely still fun for my wife and I to go; you don’t have to be single to enjoy The Dinah.”
After a fabulous day of dancing, frolicking in the sun, chatting with loyal readers, and delivering the word of GO to all the curious queer babes that stopped by our table, we were starving. As good as the Hyatt’s food was, it just wasn’t going to cut it. We had dinner and a Kaman Iwana Lei Ya bowl (which we refer to as a “Flaming Mermaid”) at Tropicale. Tropicale is a gorgeous oasis and, more importantly, the Flaming Mermaid is a gigantic shell filled with 5 different kinds of rum that’s set aflame. Don’t try this at home, lezzies. The lovely GO Magazine staff shared this drink, yet we hardly made a dent in it.
Friday, April 5th—11 p.m.
After dinner, sunburnt and turnt, we made our way to the epic Friday night party.
The event was called The Black and White Ball and was held at the Palm Springs Convention Center. For the comedy lovers, stand-up extraordinaires Fortune Feimster and Chaunte Wayans had all of the lesbians belly-laughing. As if it wasn’t enough to have two of the most famous comics in our community entertaining us, the night wasn’t even close to being over—Leikeli47’s performance would stun the crowd.
As many of you already know, The Dinah is notorious for scouting the best upcoming talent. Past performers include Kesha and Lady Gaga right before their big breaks. This year was no different, and we can promise you that the headliners will only get bigger. We are so excited we get to say—about all of the artists—“I saw them at The Dinah.”
Saturday, April 6th—10 a.m.
Next up was the Saturday pool party—the mother of all pool parties. Think of the most epic college spring break party, but with hot lesbians and less sloppiness (but probably the same amount of cargo shorts and debauchery). Bikini clad girls swung around buckets of Babes and the dancing got dirtier. By Saturday no one was pool-shy, and everyone was in, splashing around, flirting, and turning up.
“This is the best day of my life!” an adorable baby dyke squealed to us as she stopped by our table.
Saturday was truly one for the books. The GO Magazine t-shirts went like hot cakes. There is nothing more beautiful than looking around at Dinah revelers having the times of their lives, sporting GO shirts, and throwing around GO beach balls. The music was pumping, asses were shaking, and babes were wildly splashing in the epic pool. It was so refreshing to see members of our community have the time of their lives in the sunshine. Almost every queer party takes place at night, so it was a rare, welcomed treat to connect with our people in the daylight!
“This year, the energy at The Dinah was absolutely magical,” Zara tells GO. “The crowd was unbelievably sexy, the staff was beyond kind, and the vibe was killer. If I could have told my younger self that a hot lesbian weekend existed, I probably wouldn’t have been so tortured! Seriously, this year was the best Dinah I’ve experienced.”
Dorian Electra, break-out pop star, set the stage ablaze with their high energy performance.
“Performing at The Dinah was such an amazing experience, because it’s so special to be in a space where there is such a concentration of queer folx and women, and the energy was electrifying!” Dorian told GO. “As a non-binary person, I felt very included and welcomed by everyone and the positive atmosphere. The Dinah is truly a welcoming place—there is no clique-y energy and everyone just partys with each other. We should make everyday more like The Dinah.”
Up next was Bri Steves. She stunned the crowd with her sexy vocals. “Jealousy” should totally be your song of the summer if you haven’t heard it yet.
“I had an amazing time!” Bri tells GO. “One of the best experiences I’ve had at an event. It’s was more party than concert, and I haven’t been treated better.”
Saturday, April 6th—9 p.m.
Time for a quick hotel disco nap.
Saturday, April 6th—11 p.m.
Saturday night was the iconic Hollywood party, where the one-and-only Daya performed. You probably know Daya from her hit song “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” but there’s plenty more where that came from. She killed it on stage with bop after bop, and the ambiance in the Palm Springs Convention Center was lit.
“The Dinah was a moment I’ll never forget in my career. It was beyond empowering to take part in such a monumental and historic event in queer culture,” Daya tells GO.
There was also a fabulous fashion show by the awesomely queer clothing line Stuzzo. Fashion and music and queer babes? What more does a lesbian need?
There was an incredible selfie station that featured enormous angel wings with the graphic Dinah Angel. As you can imagine, that was a hit. There was a celesbian studded carpet for all of us to drool over, and it was truly heartwarming to witness the diversity and skin-deep beauty of the powerful women in our community.
“The Saturday dance party was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced,” Kim*, a reveler, tells GO. “I am a generally shy person but something about The Dinah made me feel at home. I danced SO much, thanks to the most talented DJs and performers. Dinah is like a music festival in itself, but so much more.”
Sunday, April 7th—10 a.m.
Luckily, we were well-behaved and well-hydrated Saturday night, so we skipped to the Sunday party bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It was already teeming with hot girls slurping back the hair of the dog and taking in the hot Palm Springs sun when we arrived.
This party featured even more earth-shattering performances, so it was worth it for all those who rallied if they had a little too much fun Saturday night. Remember when I said it’s almost unreal how many hot lesbians can get together in one place? It’s even more unreal that The Dinah consistently books a stellar, about-to-blow-up lineup. Sunday was my personal favorite day of performances. Kiana Ledé was incredible. After, there was a DJ battle and an epic twerk competition.
“Kiana Ledé is one of the most talented people we’ve ever booked,” Mariah tells GO. “To have her on the stage was so exciting. After her performance, Harlem Globetrotter Crissa Jackson showed her how to spin a basketball on her finger—that was a personal highlight for sure.”
Honestly, if a straight guy ever witnessed this (and he never will!), I don’t think he’d believe it; it’s like the epitome of the sexiest lesbian fantasies you’ve ever imagined.
Sunday, April 7th—10 p.m.
Sunday night featured a performance by Diiamond Royalty. It was a delightfully high energy way to close out a perfect weekend.
“There are not enough words to summarize my experience at Dinah,” Diiamond tells GO. “Hands down Dinah changed my life. It definitely lit a fire in me that was not there before.”
“From the amazing women working behind the scenes to create the event, to the diverse group of attendees from all over the world, The Dinah 2019 energy was incredible,” Michelle King, The Dinah’s publicist, tells GO. “Mariah always has a knack for picking out some really outstanding talent who represent our diversity and are breaking glass ceilings in the music community and beyond.”
Speaking of, the Dinah Dancers killed it all weekend. Dollars were thrown at these gorgeous ladies who braved the 100 degree plus weather to shake it for us.
“Dinah is nothing short of magical, and I’m so incredibly honored that I have gotten the opportunity to be a part of it for the past two years,” go-go dancer Scarlett Snow tells GO. “Dancing in that heat is no joke! But interacting with fellow LGBTQ women and feeling that freedom & love flourish makes any amount of hard work worth it.”
The DJs who spun throughout The Dinah included Angie V, GoodBoy, China G, Miss M, Citizen Jane, Val G, Lezlee, Asha, Skylar Madison, Bella Foxx, and Alex D.
The Dinah is, honest to the lez gods, a life-changing experience that you should absolutely enjoy once in your life—at least. It lives up to the hype, consistently delivering top-of-the-line talent and uniting our beautiful community in an authentic and uninhibited way.
“I [used to] fantasize what it would be like to ever have the opportunity to attend Dinah as a guest, let alone fathom having my professional fantasy come true when I had the chance to work for and with Mariah Hanson,” Sara tells GO. “The Dinah for me is the ultimate safe space and historic platform for queer companies and allies to empower each other. Dinah is a community that’s not only focused on having fun together but also one that provides support, safety and healing for one another.”
“A good party is defined by the people who present it,” Mariah tells GO. “I think any good promoter should share a sense of gratitude that we get to bring such celebration to people’s lives and an understanding that we are creating a sense of community that for so many can be life changing and/or live affirming. That realization needs to be taken seriously. I bring high intention to every Dinah I produce, and The Dinah attendees feel it.”
For so many queer women, The Dinah represents something defining: either an annual tradition, that iconic episode of The L Word, or a bucket list goal. This year, The Dinah celebrated its 29th anniversary and continues to shine as a haven for bringing our fantasies to life.
As for next year? Mariah says it will certainly be something special.
“Expect much more of what you’ve experienced with a 30 year celebration flare.”