Like a long-needed rain changes an arid landscape into a riot of colorful blooms, The Dinah—the world’s largest girl party/music festival—transforms the historic desert city of Palm Springs, Calif. into a nexus of legendary entertainers, rising pop stars, lesbian celebs and women from all over the world for one unforgettable weekend. This March 28 through April 1, 2012, The Dinah celebrates its 22nd year with its most dynamic lineup of soon-to-be-stars and favorite performers, plus celesbians and A-listers galore.
In her two-plus decades producing The Dinah, Club Skirts’ Mariah Hansen has had remarkable success in finding “the next big things” before they hit the pop charts and runways, and 2012 promises a new slate of royalty-in-waiting. “Ever since the Pussycat Dolls, then unknown, performed at The Dinah in 2006, our event has steadily developed a reputation for breaking in the artists of tomorrow—Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are among our most well-known, and Dev is our latest revelation,” Hansen says. “Keeping with the tradition, our 2012 pool parties will showcase a variety of promising artists: The next ‘it’ thing in music.”
But how she chooses each year’s crop is a tightly held secret. “Let’s just say I spend a lot of time on a formula I have developed, and it still seems to be working,” Hansen tells GO. This year’s fab five features up-and-coming pop talents Daniela Brooker, Rye Rye, Meital, Porcelain Black and Anjulie, who will perform during The Dinah’s famous pool parties.
British-Venezuelan songbird Daniela Brooker, whose anthem “Summer Love” premiered on MTV/LOGO’s NewNowNext, and 20-year-old rapper Rye Rye, who collaborated with M.I.A. on the throbbing track “Bang,” open the first pool party on Friday, March 30. The next afternoon, Dinah-goers will witness a live performance from the multitalented Israeli actress/singer Meital, who plans to alter the lyrics to her hit “Yummy Boyz” to “Yummy Girls” just for the Dinah crowd. Her show will be followed by a set from Cruella-coiffed Porcelain Black, guaranteed to include her sexy showstoppers “This is What Rock n’ Roll Looks Like” and “Naughty, Naughty.” The last pool party, on Sunday, April 1, hosts Toronto native Anjulie. The pop diva fired up the charts with her debut single “Boom,” a slinky hit that was followed by three more smash singles to total four consecutive top-ten songs on the Billboard dance chart.
In addition, each night showcases a major headline act. Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutter performs at the Official Dinah Kickoff Party at Zeldaz Nightclub on Thursday, March 29. The following night, twin-sister act Nina Sky headlines the legendary White Party at the Riviera’s Grand Ballroom, followed by an exclusive set by singer-songwriter Wynter Gordon.
On Saturday, March 31, “The Dinah Goes to Rio” at the huge Palm Springs Convention Center with an unforgettable show by ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan and special 1am set by BC Jean. “A legend and a legend-to-be,” Hansen says of these two stars, whose appearance at The Dinah is creating an enormous amount of buzz.
“It’s fabulous,” Khan said about headlining the biggest lesbian party on the planet. “My gay and lesbian fans have always been there for me—they are my most loyal. I know we’re going to have a wonderful time!”
Finally (ahem), dance diva CeCe Peniston will grace the stage at the Dinah Official Closing Party hosted by GO Magazine, an annual blowout at Zeldaz that promises to be more massive than ever. “People are going to be blown away by the entire lineup. We are showcasing amazing artists this year, and each act is going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Hansen beams. “It’s going to be one of those years where people look back and say, “I can’t believe I saw that artist at The Dinah!’”
Joining the musical acts will be hot lesbian comics Suzanne Westenhoefer, Jessica Kirson and Karen Williams, who are teaming up to present Laughing Out Loud 4 on Thursday night. Westenhoefer will also moderate an exclusive Q&A with actress Meredith Baxter prior to the White Party on Friday night. “We’re giving fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with the iconic TV actress and ask her any questions they want. That’s the great thing about the Dinah: people can connect with their favorite celebrity,” Hansen observes. “We like to come up with innovative ideas for our customers.”
Not to be outdone, your fave stars from The Real L Word—Whitney Mixter, Rose Garcia, Romi Klinger and surprise guests—will participate in a dating game, while the top lesbian web shows will duke it out in the third annual Battle of the Lesbian Web Series. During the pool parties, you’ll dance your ass off to amazing sets from DJs including Lisa Pittman, Lezlee, Asha, Saratonin, Sysco, Susan Levine and Von Kiss.
Once again, the historic Riviera Spa and Resort (1600 N. Indian Canyon Dr., 760-327-8311, psriviera.com) is the host hotel for The Dinah. The property’s groovy Rat Pack style, coupled with state-of-the-art spa facilities and room amenities, makes an ideal home away from home for The Dinah’s thousands of revelers.
The wagon wheel-shaped resort, opened in 1958, drew Hollywood celebrities to the desert for weekend R&R. Desi Arnaz, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Raquel Welch, Sonny and Cher and dozens more household names of the sixties and seventies worked and played at the Riviera. In 2008, a complete renovation revealed a new level of mid-century luxury.
Spacious rooms include a king or two queen beds covered in sumptuous linens; views of the gardens, mountains or pool through floor-to-ceiling windows; a private patio or balcony; free Wi-Fi and a chic design motif accented by graphic prints and pops of jewel tones. The Riviera’s two pools, flanked by patio bars and semi-private cabanas, will be The Dinah’s Pool Party HQ for the entire weekend.
After 22 years producing the Dinah, how does Hansen keep the largest girl party and music festival in the world fresh and unpredictable? “Funny, I am often described as fresh and unpredictable by my exes!” she laughs. “I do pay close attention to what’s going on and I choose from what I think is the most provocative of trends. I’m not one for the inane or banal. I appreciate bold strokes and a flair for the unusual.”