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PALM SPRINGS -- Could it be true? Could the "Dinah Shore Weekend" be moving to Las Vegas?
That is indeed the word on the street, according to an article in last Friday's Desert Sun newspaper, which serves Palm Springs and all of Coachella Valley.
The paper reported that Los Angeles-based Girl Bar, a longtime producer of Dinah Shore events, recently teamed up with another LA-based promoter, Truck Stop Girlz, and are planning the migration to Sin City this Spring.
The news, especially for those dead-set on watching professional golf in between splashing around in crowded pools and frolicking about on dance floors alongside thousands of women, is not only unfortunate, it teeters on blasphemy.
But never fret, Palm Springs lovers.
Because Mariah Hanson's Club Skirts The Dinah is not going anywhere and has even booked Chaka Khan to headline their peak Saturday night dance club event at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
According to the Desert Sun article, Hanson's ticket sales are already up by 40%.
Smart move or recipe for confusion?
Moving to Vegas to compete with an event as successful as The Dinah might be a clever move to some, but keeping the name "Dinah Shore Weekend" attached to it makes little, if any, sense.
After all, even though there is no real connection between the largest lesbian party in the world and the LPGA Golf Championship taking place the same weekend, they are practically conguous with one another.
The ordinary ladies professional golf tournament is currently called the "Kraft Nabisco Championship," but at one time it was called the "Colgate-Dinah Shore Tournament," and later, the "Nabisco-Dinah Shore Tournament," both in the days when the popular songstress and daytime talk-show host was directly connected with the event.
It was the primary reason lesbians first started coming to this desert oasis some thirty years ago, and caused lots of small pool and dance parties to crop up over the years.
Then in 1991, Hanson stepped in to produce the first organized lesbian party weekend, calling it The Dinah Shore Weekend. Hanson merged with Girl Bar the following year and the two companies co-produced the weekend's events until finally parting ways in 2005. Since then, the two promoters have run their own Dinah events, simultaneously and in direct competition with one another.
All these years later, the two main reasons for lesbians to come to Palm Springs that same weekend -- golf and the pool/dance parties -- are still synonymous with each other and referred to by women all over the country as Dinah Shore.
Comparatively, nothing in Vegas links to the words "Dinah" or "Dinah Shore," and there is no history there, so why keep the name? Many online lesbian funseekers may just get confused.
Club Skirts is here to stay
Despite the potential confusion, Hanson had only positive words for her previous partners-come-competitors, but was somewhat skeptical about the details released so far.
"I wish Girl Bar & Truck Stop much luck in Las Vegas," Hanson said. "I think starting something new in a new location is a good move for them. However, while you can move a business to another city, I don't believe you can move the Dinah Shore Weekend out of Palm Springs.
"Taking Dinah out of Palm Springs is like taking Sundance out of Park City. The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend has always been and always will take place in Palm Springs -- it's been the tradition for more than 22 years!"
Mona Elyafi, Hanson's publicist and president of PR firm ILDK Media, also told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News she wishes the women much success, but sees this relocation more as a promotional business endeavor to reach an alternative geographical market, rather than an actual "relocation" of the Dinah name.
"The Dinah has very much become an event intrinsically associated with Palm Springs; it's not only a tradition but it's also part of the city's patrimony," Elyafi said. "A big part of the Dinah experience is the sense of community that Palm Springs, which boasts one of the largest gay communities in the country, brings to the legendary 5-day weekend.
"What Club Skirts The Dinah has built is more than just an event, it's an unmatched, one-of-a-kind incomparable experience, that has [not only] become a rite of passage for lesbians around the world, but has also radically changed the way the music industry and mainstream look at the lesbian community, she continued. "Lady Ga Ga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, The Pussycat Dolls, Salt'n Pepa, Natasha Bedingfield, Dev, Chely Wright, and Chaka Khan - need I say more?!"
Girl Bar has produced numerous lesbian dance events at KRAVE nightclub in Las Vegas over the years, but so far information about the new weekend event is scarce, and the clock is ticking.
Although their Dinah Shore Weekend website does confirm that their annual event will be held in Las Vegas for 2012, sponsoring hotels, performers and actual dates are yet to be announced on the site.
Stay tuned to SDGLN for more information about Girl Bar's expected move to Las Vegas.
For more information about Club Skirts The Dinah -- which is staying in Palm Springs -- follow them on Facebook or check out their website for dates, hotel details, performers, event line-up and tickets.
Photos: Upper left, top: The legendary Chaka Khan will be headlining Club Skirts' The Dinah in Palm Springs, Saturday, March 31; middle: one of The Dinah's weekend pool parties; bottom: The Dinah's 2011 Hollywood Party Goes Rio.
Note: To learn more about those early days of the LPGA, Dinah Shore and their linkage to the lesbians, see the article link provided, above right.