Dinah Turns 25!

This year, the Dinah is having a big birthday, and it could be your best weekend ever!

The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is, quite simply, the world's most acclaimed lesbian event and music festival—a place for lesbians to relax, party, find community, be out and proud, enjoy world-class entertainment, work on their tans and maybe even meet Ms. Right (or Ms. Right Now). The Dinah’s home is Palm Springs, California, and the event coincides with the ANA Inspiration, a golf championship better known by its former name: the Colgate/Dinah Shore Winner's Circle Golf Championship. (The very heterosexual Dinah Shore founded it in 1972.) 

As for why lesbians love this event so much, look no further than Dinah creator and producer Mariah Hanson, who enjoyed a career in lesbian nightlife before working on The Dinah. Hanson was the creator of Club Skirts, then a dance club for lesbians, in 1988. Two years later, she started The Dinah.

For the past quarter of a century, The Dinah has undergone various incarnations and seen multiple collaborations, but the event has become the world’s single most successful lesbian music and entertainment mega-event under Hanson’s sole direction and leadership. She works tirelessly to create a stress-free entertainment experience for the lesbian community, attracting major sponsors, media coverage, celebrities and top-notch performers. Of course, Hanson has used The Dinah to give back as well—for example, to Equality California and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Fantastic music is unquestionably  The Dinah‘s hallmark. Hanson’s amazing formula for finding talented performers on the cusp of fame—a unique combination of instinct, research and steadfast pursuit of the best talent for her audience—is something we like to call “The Dinah Secret Sauce”. 

The Pussycat Dolls were one of the biggest Dinah breakout acts in 2006. Three years later, The Dinah welcomed Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. And just last year, Iggy Azalea and Mary Lambert wowed the crowds. (FYI, check out Iggy, Katy and others in The Dinah's 25th anniversary promo video at youtube.com/user/ClubSkirtsDinahShore.)

This 25th year of  The Dinah begins with a bang on April 1 with the Official Opening Pre-Party at the Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club (1555 S Palm Canyon Dr, 760-778-8954haciendacantina.com). This fun, festive warm-up is a great way to get into a Dinah state of mind. 

On April 2, the Palm Springs Convention Center (277 N Avenida Caballeros, 760-325-6611palmspringscc.com) will host Dinah Comedy Night, featuring performers Gloria Bigelow, a comedy club veteran who appeared on Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious; comedy legend Suzanne Westenhoefer, the first out lesbian comedian to get her own HBO special; Dana Goldberg, whose debut comedy DVD Hot and Bothered: Dana Goldberg Live garnered praise from late comedian David Brenner; and the aptly-named Dinah Leffert, who has appeared on CBS, NBC, VH1 and at South by Southwest. 

Also on April 2, Olivia Somerlyn continues The Dinah's grand musical tradition at The Dinah Opening Party, presented by GO, at Zelda's Nightclub (611 S Palm Canyon Dr, 760-325-2375zeldasnightclub.com). Somerlyn's hits include "I'm Just Fine," "Not Your Girl" and "Parachute," co-written with and produced by Nick Jonas. 

Christina Perri will be in concert April 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The one-time cafe manager burst onto the music scene in a huge way in 2010, when she performed her song "Jar of Hearts" on the Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance. The song was eventually downloaded a million times and earned Perri a deal with Atlantic Records. In 2011, her love song "A Thousand Years" got placed in the film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 and on the soundtrack. It’s become a favorite on YouTube, with lesbian fans making their own heartfelt videos to the single. More recently, she released the album Head or Heart, and went on a two-month North American tour. "Christina Perri's 'A Thousand Years' is one of the great ballads of the decade and a song that our community has embraced," says Hanson. "She also happens to be incredible in concert, so our guests are in for such a treat. Her fan base is broad, and she’s one of our more established artists, so we’re expecting record attendance. The White Party, our signature Friday night event, follows her concert, so it's going to be an action-packed night."

The Dinah White Party at the Palm Springs Convention Center showcases Ivy Levan, a singer, model and actress who released her debut EP Introducing the Dame in 2013 on Interscope Records. Her "Hot Damn" video currently has nearly a million views on YouTube. 

BeBe Rexha will perform on April 4 at the Black Party at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Brooklyn native wrote "Monster Under My Bed," a song later remade into Eminem and Rihanna's smash hit "The Monster." She was a member of Pete Wentz's Black Cards, too, and has her own single "I Can't Stop Drinking About You." Hanson tells GO, "BeBe Rexha’s star is on the rise and she’s on fire. We’re so excited that she’s going to burn it up at The Dinah. She's slated to have a big year in 2015, and we'll have the opportunity to see her before she takes off. Not just a huge talent, she's also a blazing beauty, so we’re getting a double whammy. I'm looking forward to her upcoming CD release and can't wait to watch it ignite and take off."

Meghan Trainor has certainly ignited and taken off. Her plus-size girls' anthem "All About That Bass" became one of the biggest smashes of last summer and as if that weren't enough, it’s been nominated for two Grammy Awards (Record of the Year and Song of the Year). Her performance at The Dinah on April 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center is sure to be the highlight of this year’s event. “The opportunity to see an artist of Trainor’s stature—whose career is seeing a stratospheric rise—in an intimate venue like The Dinah, is going to be pure magic,” says Hanson.

Of course, The Dinah just wouldn't be The Dinah without those legendary pool parties. Alt-pop group HOLYCHILD will perform at the TGIDF (Thank God It's Dinah Friday) Pool Party at the Hilton Palm Springs (400 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-320-6868hilton.com/Palm_Springs) main pool. The women's web site Lady Clever says the band—consisting of Elizabeth Nistico and Louie Diller—is "like if Katy Perry, Andy Warhol and Robyn had a ménage-à-tryst and popped out a perfect pop baby for adults only." Their Mindspeak EP was released early last year. Saturday's Cabana Girl Pool Party at the Hilton features the great Crystal Waters, the voice behind such memorable ‘90s hits as "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" and "100% Pure Love" while Sunday's Wet and Wild Pool Party at the Hilton has the distinction of being the largest lesbian pool party in the world. Its featured performer is Rose Royce, the influential R&B/disco group known for classics like "Car Wash," "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" and "Wishing on a Star." 

In addition, Dinah unveils their inaugural celebrity beer pong championship (celebrities to be announced!) Also at The Dinah this year is a two-day Battle of the DJs (April 4 and 5) at the Hilton. DJs can sign up to be considered by emailing info@thedinah.com. The weekend closes on April 5 with one spectacular last hurrah: The Closing Party at Zelda's Nightclub, with the group Eleven performing their single "M.I.L.K."

Tickets for all events are sold separately or in packages. Individual event tickets range in price from $10 to $100. Hotel and event packages including the VIP Package, start at $1,059 per person, and the VIP Premium Package runs for $2,299. These deals come with three nights at the Hilton, plus a ton of other Dinah goodies like express check-in, a special VIP pass worth $600 per person, bottle service and a commemorative Dinah t-shirt.

If you’re buying a la carte or a package, It's a good idea to purchase online, since many events will have a limited number of tickets available at the door.

But what if you're not the party type? "I think everybody needs to go to The Dinah, just once, even if they don’t attend any of my events," Hanson tells GO. "Just to be in Palm Springs during The Dinah and be out to dinner [when] the restaurant is peppered with so many other lesbians. It seems like it’s our own little world that weekend. It feels so different and wonderful. I think that experience alone is worth it."

If you're wondering where to stay, keep in mind that The Dinah has three official hotels: the previously mentioned Hilton, only one block from the Palm Springs Convention Center; the Hotel Saguaro Palm Springs (1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, 760-323-1711jdvhotels.com/hotels/california /riverside-hotels/the-saguaro-palm-springs), which will have shuttle buses to take you to most party venues; and the Courtyard Palm Springs (1300 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-322-6100marriott.com/hotels/travel/pspch-courtyard-palm-springs), which offers the most bang for your buck, with rooms starting at just $169. All these hotels will be 100 percent occupied by Dinah guests. 

To learn more about Club Skirts Presents The Dinah, visit thedinah.com or call 888-92-DINAH. And stay tuned for our EXCLUSIVE online interview with Mariah Hanson, coming in April, which will give you an inside look at the celebrated innovator of the world’s biggest and most exciting lesbian event.

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