Dinah Shore Weekend (also known as the Dinah or Dinah) is a series of parties for Lesbians held in Palm Springs, California one week before Latin Easter. That same weekend, Palm Springs also hosts an internationally famous women’s golf tournament named after Dinah Shore. The two events have no official connection other than the use of Dinah Shore’s name. Dinah Shore Weekend parties have become a staple in American Lesbian festive folklife.
The Golf Tournament
Singer and television star Dinah Shore, a long-time supporter of women’s professional golf, founded the Colgate/Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Golf Championship in 1972, which became the first important women’s tournament in the USA. This tournament is one of four major golf tournaments on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, and is held every spring in Rancho Mirage, California.
Rumors questioning if Dinah Shore (who died in 1994) was homosexual are unfounded, and she never publicly supported the Lesbian community. Many women who attend the Dinah Shore festivities that occur outside of the tournament do not even know who she was.
In her article, “Dinah Shore Weekend” in her column, “Don’t Quote Me” (www.afterellen.com, published February 22, 2006), Kim Ficera gives a humorous description of the responses she received from Dinah attendees:
“Who the fuck was Dinah Shore?” is a question I was asked a few times by the inebriated the year I went to the infamous party known simply as Dinah. And it’s a fair question given that one of Shore’s major contributions to society was a hit from the 40′s, unfamiliar to most lesbians — a little ditty called “It’s So Nice to Have a Man Around the House”… The Q & A usually went something like this:
“Dinah was an entertainer,” I told one young woman.
“Was she at Stonehenge?”
“Hmm.” I thought about that.
“Maybe. But I think you mean Stonewall.”
“No. No, I mean Stonehenge.”
“Oh, you’re talking about the Great Stonehenge Lesbian Upheaval?” I asked.
“No, she wasn’t there; that was Dinah Washington.”
The Dinah Shore Weekend has been called the closest thing Lesbians have to a Gay men’s Circuit party. The Circuit is a series of large dance-oriented festivals held in major cities. The men’s parties have more to do with recreational drugs and house/tribal house music than the Dinah. Nevertheless, the Dinah Shore Weekend has been cited as the inspiration for one of the Circuit’s premier events, White Party-Palm Springs, which usually occurs the weekend after Dinah Shore Weekend.
Origins of Lesbian Festival During Dinah Shore Tournament
The first parties during the Dinah Shore were underground gatherings, usually at someone’s home. During the 1980s, Kathy Miller and Caroline Clone, a Lesbian club promoter from Los Angeles, began to throw more visible parties. Mariah Hanson, promoter of San Francisco’s Club Skirts, created the first package weekend by taking over the Palm Mountain resort and booking the Palm Springs Art Museum (initially the Desert Museum) for a party. Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans teamed up with Mariah Hanson to create a weekend of parties, including their own women’s White Party.
When Sachs/Gans and Hanson went their separate ways, they sponsored two distinct events. Sachs and Gans produced events such as the Pure White party, Wet N’ Wild, and Jungle Fever. Hanson produced the White Diamonds party, Cabana pool party, and a comedy night.
The Nabisco Dinah Shore LPGA golf classic is not the only golf event during the Dinah Shore weekend. Caroline “Lina” Haines created the Lina Shore golf classic, a golf tournament during the weekend specifically for Lesbians, in 1988. Most women that participate in this event are different than the under 35, upscale women that participate in the Circuit-esque parties at the Dinah Shore events.
Ficera, Kim. “Don’t Quote Me: Dinah Shore Weekend.” Advocate 22 February 2006, accessed April 2010.
McQuade, Aaron. “Dueling Dinahs.” Advocate 20 December 2005.
Miller, C. “Better Living Through Circuitry: Lesbians and Circuit Parties.” Gay Tourism: Culture, Identity, and Sex. Eds. Clift, S., Luongo, M., and Callister, C. London: Continuum, 2002.
Stockwell, Anne. “Dinah! Dinah! Dinah!” Advocate 05 April 2006.