By Judith Salkin –
Special to Coachella Valley Weekly
Club Skirts’ founder Mariah Hanson certainly knows how to throw a party.
Since the early 1990s, she’s invited thousands of her closest lesbian friends to come to Palm Springs to party in the sun during what was then the Dinah Shore Kraft Nabisco Golf Tournament (now it’s simply the Kraft Nabisco).
And if the party-goers had no interest in golf? So what, there were pool parties, nighttime concerts and just plain parties to keep the girls busy.
While getting the girls together is the general purpose, “I believe that we should ‘party with a purpose’,” she said recently from her home in Mountain Center. “We do a couple of events that raise money for a good cause.”
This year’s inaugural Celebrity Poker Tournament, which takes place during the Monte Carlo Party on Saturday night, will benefit the Human Rights Campaign and its work in gaining gender and marriage equality.
“People always want to play with celebrities and this is there chance,” she said.
While Saturday and Sunday’s all-day pool parties are always a highlight of the weekend, there are some extra added attractions to those events.
Saturday marks the return of Celebrity Dodge Ball, featuring the Celesbians (performers such as Fortune Feimster, Doria Biddle, Romaine Patterson and Kelsey Grace Chavarria) playing against the fit, mini-skirted Dinah Weekend GoGo Dancers.
“Over the past couple of years dodge ball has become really popular again,” she said. “And who doesn’t want to see your favorite lesbian get whacked by a ball.”
Feimster, who is a regular panelist on Chelsea Lately and appears on After Lately, will headline Thursday’s opening Comedy, which also includes comics Suzanne Westenhoefer, Jackie Loeb and Jacqueline Monahan.
“The Comedy Night is one of the most popular events of the weekend,” she said.
This year also marks the debut of The Dinah Film Festival. “It’s time,” Hanson said. “We wanted to include a showcase for LGBT film and give the filmmakers a platform for their films about women.”
The films at the Saturday screening are “Second Shot,” with Jill Bennett as an ex-soccer player who inherits her hometown’s gay bar and how it gives her a second chance to face her first love, along with “Out in the Desert,” a documentary that takes an in-depth look at what really happens when thousands of women meet in the desert for “sex, love and friendship” for Dinah Weekend.
Dinah Weekend Picks:
Thursday Comedy Night: This one usually sells out and with Fortune Feimster as the headliner, it should be a great night. Feimster can hold her own against Chelsea Handler and has some wicked comedy chops.
Friday: The Dinah White Party. Party ‘til the wee hours with celesbians and women from around the world. The party includes a performance by Havana Brown.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: The Pool Parties. Bring the SPF 30, apply liberally, soak up some rays and have a blast. Catch the Celebrity Dodge Ball game on Saturday and party with celesbians all three days.
Saturday: Girls That Rock. Catch three up and coming girl bands.
Saturday: The Dinah Goes Monte Carlo. The biggest bash of the weekend will fill the Palm Springs Convention Center with a party worthy of the French Riviera star-studded principality and the Celebrity Poker Tournament is a chance to see if your favorite comic or actor is any good at games of skill.
Where the girls are…
If you’re a girl and looking for a weekend filled with fun in the sun pool parties, celesbian dodge ball and cool concerts, the 2013 edition of The Dinah Weekend, presented by Club Skirts, is most definitely the place to be.
Over the past 23 years, The Dinah has become the premiere lesbian party and draws party-goers from around the world to take advantage of the top-drawer entertainment and non-stop parties.
This year there’s a jump-start to the parties and concerts with a Wednesday pre-event party for those who get to the desert with enough time to rest up and settle in before all the girls get to Palm Springs.
Event producer Mariah Hanson believes in giving back and that a “party with a purpose” makes the fun more meaningful. This year The Dinah is pairing up for a Celebrity Poker night, pitting celesbians against each other to raise money for the Human Rights Campaign.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up at The Dinah 2013. Tickets are available through the website at: thedinah.com
Wednesday (April 3)
The Dinah Official Pre-party
8 p.m. to midnight, Hilton Hotel, 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs
The pre-party for The Dinah Weekend.
Thursday (April 4)
Thursday Night Comedy
7:30 p.m., Hotel Zoso Ballroom, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
$40 at the door.
Comics include Fortune Feimster (Chelsea Lately); Suzanne Westenhoefer; Jackie Loeb; Jacqueline Monahan.
The Dinah Opening Party
9 p.m., Zeldaz Nightclub, 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
$30 at the door
K. Rose sings her hit, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.” DJs and dancing.
Friday (April 5)
TGIDF (Thank God It’s Dinah Friday)
Noon to 5 p.m., Hilton Hotel Main Pool Area
Featuring performance by Anjulie, plus DJs and celebrities. Sirius XM radio live broadcast with Doria Biddle, Romaine Patterson and Frank DeCaro.
The Dinah Film Festival
6:30 p.m., Hilton Hotel Ballroom
Screenings of “Second Shot,” starring Jill Bennett as an ex-soccer player who inherits her hometown’s gay bar and face her first love; and “Out in the Desert,” documentary that takes an in-depth look at what really happens when the girls converge in the desert for “sex, love and friendship.”
The Dinah White Party
8 p.m. to ?
Featuring a performance by Havana Brown, three floors of parties, two floors of dancing; VIP Lounge; celebrity DJs; Curve Magazine VIP Party, 9 – 10:30 p.m.; celebrity red carpet, 10 – 10:30 p.m.
Saturday (April 6)
Cabana Girls Pool Party
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hilton Hotel Main Pool Area
Presented by AfterEllen.com, it’s the biggest lesbian pool party in the world. Includes Celebrity Dodge Ball at 11 a.m.; 4th Annual OML’s Battle of the Celesbians Web series, 5 p.m.; outdoor beer garden; photo booth; celebrity appearances; and GoGo dancers.
Celebrity Dodge Ball
11 a.m., Hilton Hotel Pool
Features the Celesbians, including Fortune Feimster, Jill Bennett, Doria Biddle, Romaine Patterson, Kelsey Grace Chavarria and other weekend performers, playing against The Dinah GoGo Dancers.
Girls That Rock
1 p.m., doors open 11 a.m.; Hotel Zoso Main Pool
Featured bands include Life Down Here, PlayBoy School and Love’s Darling.
The Dinah Goes to Monte Carlo
8 p.m., Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros
The biggest party of the weekend is sponsored by Bacardi and includes concert by Karmin at 9 p.m.; Celebrity Poker Tournament, with Fortune Feimster, Jill Bennett, Kim Stolz, Rose Garcia, Brandy Howard, Nicole Pacent, Haviland Stillwell and others; dancing; Celebrity Red Carpet, 10 – 10:30 p.m.; photo booth; VIP Towers and Lounge.
Celebrity Poker Tournament
Held during Monte Carlo party
$50 buy-in, limited to 100 players
The event benefits the Human Right Campaign and includes cool prizes.
Sunday (April 7)
The Wet and Wild Pool Party
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hilton Hotel Main Pool
Includes appearances by The Real L Word’s Kiyomi McCloskey and Lauren Bedford Russell; performances by Diana King, Uh Huh Her, Katy Tiz, Fortune Feimster and others; GoGo Dancers; and celebrity appearances all day.
Uh Huh Her concert
8 p.m., Hotel Zoso Grand Ball Room
The Dinah Official Closing Party
Hotel Zoso Grand Ballroom
Featuring performance by Katy Tiz.