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Dinah! Dinah!
Dinah!

Dinah! Dinah!
Dinah!

Dinah_pno

The Advocate's executive editor grabs the sunscreen and ventures into the world's hottest sea of women at Dinah Shore Weekend

I can finally say it: I survived Dinah Shore Weekend. It's mildly ridiculous that this was my first year to attend. Palm Springs, site of the Dinah, is only a couple of hours away from The Advocate's L.A. office, after all. And friends have always told me that this annual weekend of sun and sin is not to be missed--the biggest lesbian luau anywhere, the closest thing the girls have to the boys' White Party. Now I've seen for myself, and I can tell you, everything they said is true and more besides. It was majorly adventurous with the booze, the breasts, the exotic dancers, etc. Still--not to get all kum-ba-ya about it-- nobody conveyed to me beforehand the sense of friendship and joy beneath the parties.

With The Advocate's corporate parent PlanetOut a very visible presence at the Club Skirts events put together by promoter Mariah Hanson, I found myself naturally gravitating poolside at the Riviera, along with a hot and cold running deluge of exuberant women all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors. And the talent was first-rate. I missed the Pussycat Dolls and Margaret Cho and En Vogue, sorry to say. I didn't get the chance to enjoy the POWER UP film festival. But I caught the wonderful Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney and saw Joan Jett rock the crowd.

Colette "the big L" Divine, Anne, and "International Southern Belle"J. Karen Thomas

Things were also hopping over at the Palm Mountain Resort, where I stayed along with L.A. wonder woman Andrea Meyerson and a cool batch of lesbian pals from her organization Women on a Roll. WOAR's Dinah was a bit more laid-back, but what with the wet T-shirt contest and the Saturday night dance lingerie competition (special props to the two contestants in the butch category), there was plenty of action. Best of all was the chance to hear the stand-up show of Advocate columnist and political comic Kate Clinton. Recently blond, she is permanently brilliant.

Kate also put in an appearance at a fund-raising brunch for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a sponsor along with this magazine of her 25th anniversary tour. Everything clicked at this power-queer event. The politicos were so fired up I felt hopeful for a change. I'm still thinking about the conversation I had with NCLR head honcho Kate Kendell. Guess what her peeps are up to now? They're working with athlete Jennifer Harris, who's suing her former Penn State basketball coach, the notoriously lesbi-phobic Rene Portland. Our hosts, Roberta Conroy and Terri Fabris, opened their exquisite home for the event. The next day Terri, a gifted writer and former colleague, entertained at a local bookstore, where she signed her humorous how-to-survive-a-breakup handbook Dyke Drama (Alyson).

Back at the Club Skirts pool party on Sunday afternoon, a brave contingent of L Word gals sat poolside, just across a card table from hordes of bikini'd admirers, and autographed copies of the brand-new L Word companion guide by Advocate contributor Kera Bolonik. Kera was there along with Laurel Holloman, as well as former L Word writer (and sultry on-screen villainess) Guinevere Turner. How gracious is Laurel H.? She even got up on the bandstand to speak and laughed off the wave of boos from the crowd--a comment on the fact that her L Word character, Tina, is now hanging out with a man. "Keep watching!" she said as she left the stage. Like we plan to stop now!

Michelle Bonilla, Anne, and Honey Labrador (getting a moment's shuteye)

The weekend's most unexpected treat: spending a few minutes with intriguing TV producer and personality Honey Labrador, who was on-site at the Riviera shooting the festivities for QTN. We've all been hearing things about Q, but Honey assured me that their troubles are being ironed out, and whatever Honey tells me, I'm taking seriously. Certainly Honey's Q crew was working hard. Chrisanne Eastwood was schmoozing. Saskia Webber was interacting. Honey's partner, Alex, was working her B-roll camera all over the place.

There was also the fun of running into old friends. Shout-outs to elite artistes Michele Kort and Miriam Cutler; filmmakers Paris Poirier and Karen Kiss (walk on, baby!); and super publicist Jim Dobson. And a special triple shout-out to my actress pals: gorgeous star-on-the-rise Michelle C. Bonilla (our favorite paramedic from ER, moving up to the big screen in Kill Your Darlings) and cool couple J. Karen Thomas and Colette Divine. Hey, I don't want to nudje, but I think the L Word ensemble would be still hotter if it included even one of these out, proud, and lovely lesbian actors. Better yet, all three! Y'know what I'm saying?

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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Anne Stockwell