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 ;)"

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