Friday, November 30, 2012


Continuing our blog series highlighting YOUR special "Dinah Moment", today we're featuring Emily Wilcox, a relationship expert, advice columnist and author of 100 Lesbians Walk Into a Bar... (a portion of the proceeds benefit the Human Rights Campaign )

In 2010 she trekked all the way to Palm Springs to attend Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.
Now two years later, inspired by the outcome of the recent Presidential Election, in her latest Huffington Post Gay Voices article dubbed "Straight to The Dinah", she openly shares how her unforgettable 2010 Dinah Shore Weekend experience changed her perspective on her own life:

The Dinah is not only a hugely popular travel destination for lesbians but is also, and most importantly, a life changing experience for every woman - whether straight, bi or gay.

And this is why we wanted to feature today Emily's story on our bog ... because much like the presidential election revealed the new face of a changing nation - a nation that is based on and celebrates diversity - that is also what The Dinah represents: a celebration of the tapestry of lesbians and women around the world.

Emily Wilcox

"The 2012 election, which saw triumphs for same-sex marriage in Maryland, Maine and Washington, proved that the country's demographics are drastically changing and that the voices of many minority groups are now being heard.

But homophobia still exists all over the world, and when you're a gay woman feeling trapped in the confines of a predominantly straight society, there is only one place you can go where everybody knows your name: the Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Strings. But what would I know about that? I'm married. And straight.

In March 2010 I, a semi-jaded relationship coach and LGBT enthusiast (yes, I really am straight), was in the middle of finishing my book in a last-ditch effort to save the world when a group of my favorite lesbian confidants told me that I should grab my smallest bikini and head over to the Dinah.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the bikini part, and I was slightly hesitant about the rest, but what could be better for my upcoming New York Times bestseller? (I mean, the fact that not a publisher in sight knew my name didn't mean that the Times wasn't going to call, right?)

So, on a sunny Wednesday morning, I made the nearly two-hour drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, laptop on board and notepad handy, ready to partake in a little cocktail splurge if my clockwork neurosis and obsessive vitamin intake would allow.

I had read all about Katy Perry and Lady Gaga performing at the Dinah the previous year, but this time it was Salt-N-Pepa, and I was growing more excited about hearing my '80s idols "push it" during their Friday-night performance. However, this was a five-day event, and I still had absolutely no idea what to expect. But how scary could it be? Dinah Shore herself had a torrid love affair with Burt Reynolds, and I could certainly dig that.

Salt'n Pepa performing at The Palm Springs Convention Center during the 2010 Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend

Thanks to my play-it-safe nature and neurotic disposition, I spent the drive anticipating a record-breaking coup d'état at the Dinah. After all, I was technically straight, and these women knew nothing about my LGBT clientele. I was to become one in the crowd, masking my desire for male flesh and inexplicably attempting to swagger like Mick Jagger.

Don't get me wrong: I was aware that women are beautiful, and I wasn't immune to the occasional sexually charged romp session here and there; after all, my 20s were one big, long Hollywood party.

I arrived at my hotel, looked straight into the mirror and thought, "You can do this. Get your shit together. You're a professional." I was shaking, and I felt like a fraud. I thought I was well-known for my work. My face was splattered all over lesbian relationship columns in which I answered questions about coming out, breaking up, sexual identity and the abominable lesbian bed death. I hadn't encountered too much opposition in recent years.

After all, most lesbians who read my columns knew I was as straight as they were gay. What I didn't realize was that my curriculum vitae would carry little weight in the upcoming days. Who did I think I was? Dear Abby?

After getting assimilated via activities that were scattered about the stretch of beautifully landscaped hotels, I met Mariah Hanson, the creator and producer of the official Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend and all-around goddess of Palm Springs. She was warm and accommodating, as were the staff members, some of whom knew I was there to finish my book. Suddenly the Dinah felt like an old friend, welcoming me with open arms and a few too many margaritas.

The concert, which included Ke$ha, was like Disneyland for adults. I watched couples old and new holding hands, making out and talking about being free from their closeted lives back at home. I felt my nerves diminishing as I snorted in laughter with my new friends backstage. After all, I was more excited to meet Pepa than worry about how cool I looked (not very cool, by the way).

Kesha at Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in 2010

It felt as if the entire room had a connection that could put Woodstock and Nixon to shame. The Dinah felt good. Not sex-with-a-man good, but accepting and freeing good.

I spent the weekend talking with extraordinary women at packed pool parties, comedy shows and philanthropic events. One young woman, a fellow Dinah virgin, admitted that no one back home in Kentucky knew she was gay and that she had come to the Dinah to feel what it was like to be herself. She had a huge smile on her face, and I was mesmerized by her glow.

There I was, someone who enjoyed the luxury of being able to hold hands with her husband, attend holidays at home and have a legal marriage in the eyes of the law, all in the face of non-judgment. My gratitude weighed heavily on me, and I had suddenly forgotten that I was there to write a book.

After sharing many memorable moments with gay and straight women, I left Palm Springs late Sunday afternoon feeling inspired, humbled and hungover, and with a few new best friends.

I arrived back in Los Angeles feeling lighter from the ethereal experience, and months later my little red book boasted rave reviews from even the toughest of LGBT critics, skyrocketing my much-needed sales for the Christmas season.

As Spalding Gray would say, it's a slippery slope, but riding the label train was enough to make my head spin, and as it turned out, labels never really were my thing.

I no longer think of myself as "straight and married," and I'd like to think that I no longer live in a little pink box with a shiny purple ribbon. I came out as me that warm Easter weekend in 2010, and that meant more than anything.

There is a reason the Dinah Shore has been around for over two decades, and I think Marlo Thomas said it best: 'cause we're free to be you and me."

Dinah photo courtesy of JD DiSalvatore

 Wilcox has contributed her expertise to several LGBT outlets including Curve, Diva, Queeried and

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post Gay Voices:

The Dinah 2013 takes place April 3 to April 7, 2013, in Palm Springs, CA

Get your tickets today at:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Because a picture is worth a thousand words, for The Dinah 2013 we're putting together a brand new team of top notch photographers to capture frame by frame every single moment of your Dinah Shore Weekend experience.

It's not just about posing for the camera, but rather about creating together unforgettable images that will remind you of the incredible feeling, the love, the joy and the fun for the rest of your life!

Connie Kurtew has been attending Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs for quite some time. This past Dinah she was the official photographer for reporter Morgan M. Hurley of The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.

Connie's utmost professionalism, dedication to her craft, uber friendliness not to mention the impressive quality of her work, made her stand out and catch our attention.

We immediately knew she was the perfect fit for The Dinah because she's the kind of photographer that clearly would bend over backwards if it means making YOU happy!

We hope you'll take the time to scope out her website Kurtew Photography and look at what she's doing with her amazing photography.

In the meantime, we'd like to share a bit about Connie with you.
So without further ado meet one of your Dinah 2013 photographers CONNIE KURTEW:

Connie Kurtew with Rose Garcia of "The Real L Word"

"I think 2013 will be my 7th Dinah but I am excited as I was the first time. I didn't go for a few years in between, not sure why but that will not happen again.

I remember the first time like it was yesterday. I never in my life saw so many woman together in one place. and not just that. They were all lesbians! I just moved a few years ago from Germany to San Diego,CA and lived in Hillcrest specifically,  the gay neighborhood of San Diego. And that was amazing and very different. But going to Palm Springs, seeing so so many women like myself was breathtaking. I realized it was ok to be gay, I didn't had to hide or to pretend. I just could be who I was.

The White Party was especially memorable. Different from other parties, most women were  dress mostly in white, everybody was dancing  and is in such great mood. It's just fun to just walk around, watch people, talk to strangers, dance with strangers and get a kiss here or there. Not bad when you are single.

I went with couples who had just put their relationships on hold for 4 days - people jumped into new relationships, some came to an end. People just came up for the pool parties, intended to drive back the same night and stayed for 3 days. It's a party  but also a community you don't want to leave EVER. And yes, we all have to but you get addicted and have to come back every year.

There is something missing in your life if you don't. Well, I missed it!

Photos of Connie at her first Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend!

 If you never been and plan on going, do it. Plan well. There is stuff going on at every time of the day. And for very age group. Just come and see for yourself. And you can hold your girlfriends hand all the time. And no one will look at you in a weird way. And if you don't have one, well that might be your weekend!

The most memorable moment was when I looked at my arm filled with wristbands of all colors from every party.  If there would have been one more party I would have to use my other arm LOL.

I think that year I did them all, all party's. I did not sleep much and I didn't want to . I did not wanted to miss anything!

I took that feeling with me to my every day life, finally came out to my parents and all my friends in Germany, standing up for it and being who I am every day everywhere. And that feels great.

A feeling I cannot explain or describe to anybody who was not  in the same situation. I did get rejections, remarks, nasty looks, but my entire life is so much easier because I am standing up for myself and don't hide anymore.

This past Dinah I had the great opportunity to work for The San Diego Gay and Lesbian news and went as their Photographer to The Dinah. I almost did it again, went to almost every party or event and took photos.

There is a feeling, I can't explain I have when I see young lesbians being out and free. And love who they are. And I am so happy that they can. Hopefully everywhere soon.

So I hope to see all of you - and those of you who've never been too - next year at The Dinah 2013.

I will be your Photographer so I will be everywhere!
 Come and say Hi and I can take a picture with you and your friends/girlfriends.

I look forward to be part of this fun team and can't hardly wait!!!"

 Get your tickets today at:

We invite you to share your own Dinah story with us!
Email us at:

Monday, November 26, 2012


Our general Manager BRIANA STOCKTON has more than a decade of Dinah experience and memories! 

She's done it all, seen it all and today ... she tells it all:

"I am coming up on my 11th year working with Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, and every year is just as memorable as the first one! 

My Dinah experiences are innumerable to say the least!

Overall what keeps touching me the most - and my favorite thing to share about this incredible weekend - are the stories I hear year after year from the many lesbians in attendance.

Women from all around the world travel to Palm Springs for the same reason: FREEDOM and of course GIRLS!

The Dinah is not just a family among the staff; it is also, and most importantly, a place where everyone is alike and equal; where we all feel related in a special way – WE LIKE GIRLS – and its ok! 

It's always an unforgettable, gratifying noble few days of being openly GAY. I think it's easy for those of us who have the freedom to walk in public hand in hand with our girlfriend to forget that in some other parts of the country and the world, public display of affection is still a big NO NO. 

To see all these women being free to be themselves without fearing what others will say or think is what I love the most about the Dinah. 

To me what makes the Dinah special is that the event is able to provide for each and every woman HERstory - from wedding bells, breakups to fellowships and pen pals, The Dinah delivers it all!
It truly puts a human face on our Lesbian community.

I feel immensely proud to be part of this ever growing family that puts together such a magical event for our community to embrace, enjoy, and experience. Nothing compares to feeling completely loved and accepted.

Every Dinah, I look forward to seeing YOU: our Dinah family members - old and new

Briana Stockton and Mariah Hanson

We want to hear from YOU!
Send us your own Dinah Story and be featured on our blog:

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Wondering how are all the celebrities, Celebsians and talents who have attended Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs spending Thanksgiving?

We did a little research on Facebook, Twitter and cyberspace to get the scoop for you:

Katy Perry on the red carpet at Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend 2009
Katy Perry is looking forward to spending the holiday with a new bundle of joy! "What's really exciting for me personally these days is that my cousin is having a baby—she's having a little girl and it's like three days before Thanksgiving," the 28-year-old singer revealed to Extra. "So we will have a small, tiny little creature probably the size of a turkey or smaller‚ so we will be welcoming her and she's like the first child to be born into our family in 20-something years, so it's a big deal!" (Shape Magazine)

Lady Gaga on stage at The Dinah 2009 in Palm Springs, CA

Lady Gaga has expressed her gratitude to her fans this Thanksgiving.
The superstar took to her Twitter account to give her appreciation to her 'little monsters'
"I love touring (BTWBall concert) so much. I wake up smiling every day. I hope you know I'm thankful for u this thanksgiving, (sic)" Lady Gaga tweeted.

Mariah Hanson and Kesha at The Dinah 2010
Kesha  just made an appearance on The Today Show in support of her highly anticipated studio album, ‘Warrior,’ to be released Dec. 4, 2012. The live performance was part of the Toyota Concert Series at The Plaza at Rockefeller Center in New York City. 

Mariah Hanson and Neon Hitch at The Dinah 2012
Neon Hitch who headlined Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend this past March 2012, is howing the queer side of Thanksgiving by recently disclosing to the New York Daily News, she's bisexual, might have slept with her ex-roommate Amy Winehouse, and has walked in on her mother with another lady.

Fortune Feimster host of the Comedy Show at The Dinah 2012
Fortune Feimster of E! "Chelsea Lately" tweeted: " I'm leaving for Holden Beach in NC for Thanksgiving! Can't wait to see my family and eat lots of shitty food!"

Nina Sky on the red carpet at The Dinah 2012 in Palm Springs, CA
Nina Sky who headlined our Dinah 2012 Friday night "White party" just tweeted:  
"Morning.. Let the cooking begin!"

Whitney Mixter & Sarah Bettencourt at The Dinah 2012
Whitney Mixter of "The Real L Word" is spending Thanksgiving in the land down under!
She tweeted: " Just arrived in Melbourne...loving the vibe !!! Art added to anything is better...I'd recommend it!"

Michelle C. Bonilla
 Michelle C. Bonilla ("ER", "Slip Away" & "Failing Upwards") who participated in The L Word Fashion Show at The Dinah 2006, posted on Facebook this photo displaying her cooking skills on Turkey Day! Her secret ingredient to make the best tasting turkey ever: "Herbes de Provence"!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


For the past 23 years, Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend has been offering lesbians from all over the world the opportunity to escape for five days from the rest of our 360-day life still spent for some of us in the closet, and provide us all the freedom to be who we truly are - no matter what the size of our body, the color of our skin, how old or young we are, or the tax bracket we belong to.

We come together to share a common bond: we like girls and it’s ok! :)
Yet none of this universal unity, love and solidarity would have been possible if it wasn't as well for the host city of The Dinah Shore Weekend, namely the City of Palm Springs

Whether it's your first time coming to The Dinah or not, discover America’s Great Gay Oasis in the heart of Southern California!   

With more than 26 LGBT Resorts, multiple Gay Bars, Gay RestaurantsGay Shopping and over 330 days of sunshine, it’s no wonder Palm Springs is a perennial favorite for gay and lesbian travelers!

In the 1930’s, Hollywood stars, movie moguls, and world leaders discovered sunny Palm Springs and made it their secret hideaway.  And with them came the Gay boys and girls of the day to enjoy the pools, the weather, the cocktails, and the freedom to enjoy it all without the scrutiny of Hollywood’s cameras and gossip columnists.  

In the 1950’s, yet another wave of Hollywood greats discovered Palm Springs. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, the Rat Pack, and even Lucy & Desi moved to Palm Springs. And again, their friends, the Gay boys and girls, joined them to sip martinis by the pools of their fabulous Mid-Century homes.  

In the 1980’s, Gay Palm Springs exploded with the opening of dozens of LGBT exclusive resorts and clubs.  And today the tradition continues with of course Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, Gay Pride in November, and other LGBT related events all year long. 

Palm Springs ranks with Sitges, Mykonos, Ibiza, Key West, and Provincetown as one of the world’s most famous Gay destinations!  

The Hilton Hotel located in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs, and host hotel of the Dinah 2013 

The Zoso Hotel, The Dinah's second host hotel, also conveniently located downtown Palm Springs

Palm Springs offers a wealth of activities and events throughout the year. 
Soar to the top of Mount San Jacinto on the world famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, shop ‘til you drop along Palm Canyon Drive, or hike the ancient palm groves of the Indian Canyons. 

Downtown Palm Springs, CA

Tour celebrity and Mid-Century homes, attend fabulous theatre performances, wind down with a poolside massage, or just spend the day in the sun at your LGBT resort. 

In the evening, dine in one of the dozens of award winning restaurants downtown, then drop into the gay bars for drinks and dancing.  Finalize your day with a midnight swim under the stars. 

Palm Springs has the largest concentration of LGBT resorts in the Western United States, and most are clothing optional. Palm Springs is a short drive from most major Southern California cities and an easy 
air flight from the rest of the world.  

Watch this video courtesy of Palm Springs Visitor Center and discover Palm Springs!





Thursday, November 15, 2012


Continuing our exclusive Club Skirts "meet the faces who get you through the weekend" blog series, today our Lead Wrangler, LILIA BREKKE, shares her own special Dinah Shore Weekend story.

Get the scoop about Driving Miss ____ (fill in the blank with the name of a celebrity) at The Dinah!
And learn from wheel woman Lilia how to get into the driver's seat of your life at the biggest lesbian bash in the world in Palm Springs:

Lilia Brekke with Dinah 2012 performer CeCe Peniston & Club Skirts production manager Chris Lacasse

"How I got involved with Dinah is proof of how small the world is that we live in. 

A co-worker of mine who knew I had wrangled talent for other events, asked me if I would be interested in helping out her close friend who was one of the GM’s for Dinah/Club Skirts. 
Come to find out this GM she spoke of was a past softball mentor of mine years ago. 

I met up with her and after some long over due catching up we got down to business. I was offered one of the talent wrangler positions and before I could answer, The BIG question was asked, “Now are you prepared for what’s to come?”   

Excited for the opportunity I immediately said, “YES”. Keep in mind I was a Dinah virgin, I had never experienced Dinah prior to this; I was simply going on stories I had heard.

My first year, Dinah 2011 OMG was I nervous. Not only did I want to do a good job but I would have to do it with beautiful women all around me.  Keep in mind I was freshly out of a 7-year relationship and had just started a new one. Oh what did I get myself into is the first thing that popped into my mind that first night, as I roomed with 3 other ladies who lets say were very comfortable with their bodies lol. 

After getting into the groove of things and having great management to lead the way I quickly became comfortable and enjoyed every moment. It’s amazing to see so many strong beautiful women come together in one place.

Dinah 2012, my second year I was asked back as Lead Wrangler and even though I had worked Dinah the year before I was just as nervous, but this time I new I had my Dinah family to back me up. 

I have two favorite moments of my Second year at Dinah. The first; hearing Chaka Khan ask her manager to place the flowers I had picked out for her dressing room (Easter Lilies), and to place them on stage with her because she thought they where so beautiful. I was so proud. 

Second, meeting my soon to be wife. I have Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend to thank for that. 
Now that’s what’s up!

Newly engaged Lilia Brekke & Chris Lacasse

You will often hear many of us refer to each other as family because that’s what we are. 
There’s an instant bond and understanding of one another. We all truly suffer from “Dinah withdrawals/Dinah Blues”.   

A few days after the event not only are we having dreams of making sure talent is on time to sound check, but we miss each other so much as if months have already passed.

As Dinah 2013 approaches, my advice is don’t just go to Dinah, Experience it, embrace it, allow it to become a part of you. You will never regret it.

Lilia Brekke escorting CeCe Peniston on stage!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Before you head out to Palm Springs, CA this April to attend The Dinah for the first, the second or the nth time, we invite you to get to know the faces behind Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend!
Get up-close and personal with us and see how The Dinah unites us all in that same common bond.
Our staff is sharing their own stories, talking about their professional craft and most importantly revealing their own special Dinah experience.

Today our Production Manager, CHRIS LACASSE, takes you behind the scenes on an exclusive backstage tour of the world's biggest lesbian event to discover the secrets behind the magic!

"This will be my 7th year at the Dinah… Just writing that seems crazy!

As a little background, I started as a stage manager back in 2007, a little Canadian girl, with only 3 years experience as a recording engineer at that time. Stepping out of my comfort zone of the studio into Live production was scary but extremely exciting. But i had no idea what I was stepping into….

I remember getting off the plane in Palm Springs on a beautiful March day, playing it over and over in my head how it will look and feel to be surrounded by thousands of women in one location… It’s the kind of thing I dreamed of as a kid. I wish I was kidding. I thought of all the gay prides I went to, the lesbian parties… I just knew this wouldn’t be the same. 
Even though I had never met Mariah Hanson before that day, and only knew The Dinah from what I saw on "The L Word" and that I HAD to go to this one day, I knew the moment I stepped into the hotel that this festival would be different. Bigger. Even if I combined all the lesbian parties I ever went to in one room, I knew it would never be as big as this. I got nervous real quick. Forget the fact that I would be surrounded in a sea of women, I had to work through it too.

I arrived on the Wednesday, already the Doral hotel was taken over with thousands of women from all over the world. Kid in a candy shop is an understatement. I met women from France, Germany, Australia and even Nova Scotia! ;) The thing I remember quite clearly about Clubskirts’ The Dinah is the vibe. You feel it as soon as you step foot in it. There’s no judging, no borders, everyone is there to have a good time and let loose! …And boy do they!

As much as my first year was the most memorable one, I can’t describe much. I remember A LOT of coffee, dropping my clipboard and papers in front of artists, mentally exhausting myself by trying to focus when bikinis walked by, trying to remember basic math to calculate capacity, time delays and stage dimensions (stay in school) and then, more coffee. I had so much Starbucks I thought they would pop up and offer me a sponsorship. At the end of it all, the whole team was wiped but high on the excitement of what we help create. 

Chris Lacasse, Mariah Hanson, Leilani Reynolds, Mona Elyafi & Briana Stockton

There were learning curves, especially on my end, but Mariah made it easy when she set the bar of expectations; how this festival holds its own vision, and how we just have to flow with it and present it in its true form. 
With something this big, it really does have its own identity, and you do your best to represent it.

I could go on forever about the ties I have made there, on how we’ve all developed an enormous family bond -and the occasional crush- with everyone on our team (consequentially, I’m marrying my lead wrangler this year… boom baby!) and how even when the festival ends, we all stay very much into each other’s lives, celebrating milestones and of course, going to each other’s weddings (we are getting old and most of us have found our wives at the Dinah… go figure ;). 

I could probably also write a novel about the next 5 years, about the success and the challenges that come from producing out of only one main Hotel in 2007 to expanding our parties to bigger locations like the Palm Springs Convention Center, adding ‘sister’ hotels to accommodate our overflowing pool parties and other numerous locations across the city like Zeldas nightclub who open and close our festival. Not to mention our stellar headliners who join us year after year to celebrate with us and who show so much love to our community! 

One of the props about being backstage is I get to have numerous conversations with our artists, where they always seem to mention how amazing it is to see so many women in one room and how crazy fun it looks out there! One conversation specifically with Natasha Bedingfield and her team was about the importance of this festival, how it must be so liberating for the women who live in areas where there is no community for them and how this event gives them an outlet to finally “get their booty on!”  with no restrictions or fear. 

I also remember I had to get extra security for Ms. Bedingfield and her crew as she made her way to the dance floor to join the ladies ;) - The amazing thing that unfortunately most of our guests don’t get to see, is that all our past headliners, from Lady Gaga to Katy Perry, Chaka Khan to Salt n’ Pepa, ChelyWright to Nina Sky and too many others to name, all feel the same way. They see the crowd partying it up, dancing and loving every min of it and they too want to join in! And it’s like that every year. I often think my problem isn’t getting the artists on stage; it’s trying to keep them off the dance floor!

Club Skirts The Dinah is truly becoming its own festival, where there’s nothing like it in the world, and it’s definitely humbling to not only be part of this festival but to be part of something so big that impacts women’s lives from all over the world for the better, with that “awe-ing” feeling that you are not alone. 

And I think I can speak for myself and the entire Dinah crew when we say we’re all proud to be affiliated, even in the slightest, in making a difference in someone’s life through this festival… even if it just means helping you step out of your shell and put a little nitro in your cruise control… ( you’re welcome ;)"

 Got a special Dinah moment?
Email us your own Dinah story at:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Because we want you to get to know us better, we're turning this blog over to our staff members so they can share with you their own stories about what The Dinah represents for them and how it has changed their lives.

Today, our publicist, MONA ELYAFI, breaks the news about her own Dinah experience! 

"They say “things happen for a reason” and I never really fully grasped the meaning of it until the Dinah came into my life.

The first time I ever attended the Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs was in 1999.  Back then I was on disability suffering from severe back pain and just a few months shy from undergoing a major back surgery. It was also the early phase of my coming out and evidently I was still very confused about this whole lesbian thing.

To be honest, I was more afraid of what my family, my friends and society would say about it.   I come from a rather complex cultural/religious background with a Catholic mother and a Muslim dad, so needless to say, I was mentally struggling with the idea, and still trying to figure out what was the right thing to do morally speaking.

So how did I find myself at The Dinah?
Well, simply because a few of my friends got tired of me complaining about my back pain all the time and thought that a little escapade in the sunny oasis bathing in a sea of women would be a good distraction. 

Now I’ll confess that instead of checking out all these gorgeous women, I actually spent the entire time staring at everybody lower back and wondering what it was like to be able to walk, dance and move pain free.

But although I might have missed out on some potentially successful cruising action, The Dinah gave me something much more valuable. It showed me that I was not the only one – that there was a huge community of women out there who were exactly like me and that made me feel safe. It was such a freeing experience.

Ironically for someone who was mortified to go in the first place and very much on the fence about spending 5 days with a bunch of lesbians, I ended up crying like a baby when we left.  I just didn’t want to go back to my reality.
It was the same nostalgic sadness as when I used to come back from summer camp.

Cut to 2006. By then I was fully healed and had successfully resumed my PR career.
So there I were attending The Dinah in Palm Springs for the second time, although this time I was not a customer but a publicist attending an “industry” function with a client! I’ll skip all the professional details of my attendance and jump right into the personal juicy stuff: I fell in love!

Yep, as cheesy as it sounds, my second Dinah is where I met my (now) ex-girlfriend and discovered the meaning of being so insanely, truly, madly, deeply, and obsessively in love.  Of course two years later she dumped my booty and brutally broke my inconsolable heart into pieces.

As much as going through this breakup was/is the worse pain I have ever known (believe me the back surgery was nothing in comparison), again the Dinah provided for another life-changing experience for me: it not only confirmed what and who I now know I truly am, but it also made it psychologically and morally OK for me to be gay because I finally realized that I could only have that kind of connection with a woman.  

Suffice to say that getting over the breakup was excruciatingly painful. I spent the bulk of 2008 trying to convince myself that this was not the end of my world and buried myself into my work. I just needed to distract my mind from the usual mind-torturing questions “Where is she?”, “Who is she with?”, “What is she doing?”, “has she already forgotten about me?”, etc.

Clearly the universe heard my cry for help (or maybe it felt sorry for me) because out of the blue I got a phone call from Mariah Hanson (founder and producer of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs), wanting to meet with me to discuss my potentially handling the PR campaign for The Dinah 2009.

Long story short, ten years after my first Dinah ever, I was back at The Dinah but this time I was attending as not only a new member of the Dinah Team but also as the new publicist.  That was HUGE for me - especially considering that was the year Mariah had booked Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

But in spite of the colossal amount of work that was involved in handling an event of that magnitude, and in spite of the prestige of working with international superstars like Gaga and Perry, what really and profoundly affected me was how the entire team (from the top down) so graciously welcomed me into the Dinah family. 

For the first time I felt like I finally belonged somewhere and was part of something bigger than me; something that was genuinely making a difference not just for me but also for so many others.   Such a priceless feeling!

The Dinah holds a very special place in my heart. Being from France where to date my parents still live, what Club Skirts The Dinah has accomplished for me is become my substitute family.

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