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Girls' Guide to
Dinah Shore

Girls' Guide to
Dinah Shore


Did you hear the fire alarm? Yes, that pulsing, clamorous pull toward the desert? It's that time again -- Dinah Shore weekend, complete with three different promoters clamoring for your attention.

Did you hear the fire alarm? Yes, that pulsing, clamorous pull toward the desert? It's that time again -- Dinah Shore weekend is nearly upon us. Women around the world are packing their bikinis (and sports bras) and heading toward a glistening pool for a weekend of sunshine, libations, and speed-dating.

Years ago, the main event was the prestigious women's golf tournament named the Dinah Shore Nabisco Classic. By the mid 1980s, the tournament was ranked as the top celebrity event on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, with past winners including Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan, and Annika Sorenstam. Gay women came in hoards to watch the golf -- then went looking for social outlets in their down time. Thus sprang up the now infamous Dinah Shore women's weekend. Now in its 19th year, the weekend's attendance has swollen to over 15,000 women.

I attended my first DSWW in 1994aEUR|my junior year of college. I had never seen so many hot, scantily clad women in one location. I thought I had arrived in heaven, and proceeded to dance, drink, and stay an extra two days past the proper event, never mind that it was finals week at Pepperdine. In subsequent years I stayed at the main hotel and slowly learned the pace, the promoters, and the lay of the land.

Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans are the dual force behind Girl Bar. They co-created the event nearly two decades ago with Club Skirts owner Mariah Hanson. These days they each present their own blown-out weekend. In addition, Los Angeles-based Fuse Events promoters Michelle Agnew and Linda Fusco are also hosting a more intimate entertainment option down in the desert. I spoke to all these ladies to learn how they market, what they consider their primary draws, and how much you have to lay down to attend.

Girl Bar

Sachs estimates this year's attendance at their event will be around 6,000, which is a ton of women, even if it is actually down considerably from last year. She acknowledged that the state of the economy has affected ticket sales, but they are still seeing a good response on VIP packages from their largely international crowd. By advertising year-round with various European and Australian women's magazines, they pull in a whole untapped market of women who tend to make it a vacation and stay the entire week. They have plans to reach out to Canada and Mexico in coming years.

Sachs and Gans also negotiated discounted room rates with their host hotels, the Zoso and the Wyndham. I asked for details about why someone would choose one package over the other since they both cost $899. Sachs said the Zoso is an upscale hotel, which appeals to the women who want to step in and out of the chaos and enjoy the serenity of a more boutique hotel. Alternatively, the Wyndham VIPs want to be at the center of the universe. As the Girl Bar host hotel, this is where the masses will linger. So basically, couples go to the Zoso and singles go to the Wyndham!

Girl Bar event highlights include the pool parties (Friday at Wyndham is free) and themed evening events. Macy Gray is going to rock the Jungle Fever Party on Saturday, and Girlicious will carry Friday night. Additional performers throughout the weekend include Kat DeLuna, Gretchen Bonaduce, and the Cliks.

"We want this to be unlike any other experience, so we go out of our way to make sure people meet each other and have a really good time," Sachs says.

For Girl Bar's weekend breakdown, visit .

Club Skirts

While her party is just as popular as the Girl Bar event, Mariah Hanson has a slightly different approach to the weekend.

"Word of mouth is huge for us," Hanson says. "I've also partnered with top lesbian clubs across the country who are throwing advance Dinah parties in cities such as New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, Atlanta, and Miami." Customers have the chance to win free passes to Dinah. "It's a win for the promoters and helps me get the word out en masse," Hanson says.

Her lineup definitely shines with some A-list heavyweights including Indigo Girls, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Uh Huh Her (Leisha Hailey's band). Hanson says her programming intentionally appeals to a broad market.

So, how does she select the artists? Hanson asks event registrants to name their favorite artist. She then turns this wish list into her booking list for the following year. She says, "Being at the tip of the curve is critical."

Hanson has already sold out the Riviera, which was recently renovated, and is now booking up the Hilton. But Hanson isn't resting yet. Instead, she's stepping it up a notch by adding a comedy show with Margaret Cho and inviting activist groups the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Equality California, for which she is a board member, to speak to attendees and raise awareness about marriage and equality rights.

Club Skirts event details are online at .


If the other two Dinah Shore outlets are like Goliath, Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew's Fuse is the David. But they don't see it that way. They like their events to be intimate, and Fusco says they actually aim to keep attendance around 500.

In their second year at the women's weekend, the L.A. club promoters plan to host a night of their signature West Hollywood club, Truckstop. They will also have an Ed Hardy poolside fashion show, which is free, and daily pool parties. Presale tickets to their events cost only $20 ($40 at the door) and their events run early, 8-10 p.m., so women can still attend the other promoters' parties. In addition, they put together a survival guide, which includes all the other events happening throughout the weekend.

"We entered the market nine years ago because there wasn't anything we wanted to go to," Fusco says. "The parties weren't our style. We offer a better-quality product and better-produced event. And we see this as a chance to give back to our community."

The girls of Fuse also don't have media or alcohol sponsors or ticket lines. Rather, the Ace Hotel has only 180 rooms and offers quirky and unique services, like alcoholic snow cones out of a bus and nightly meat specials that you can grill on your private patio fireplace. Fusco calls it "a down-home, sexy Vegas," and says that with the hammocks, cabanas, and rustic fireplaces, "it's the kind of place we would own if you could."

Fuse's full lineup is viewable at .

So there you have it -- three very different promoters offering you one damn good time. Buy tickets in advance (prices go up on site) and have the weekend you want. Oh, and rest up. You'll need it.

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

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