San Diego Gay & Lesbian News Assistant Editor is immersing herself among thousands of women in Palm Springs this weekend at The Dinah. Check in daily to read the happenings. You might start a drinking game to coincide with all her name dropping.
PALM SPRINGS -- It is Friday in this beautiful desert oasis and already it seems like there isn't enough time in one day to take everything in.
Thursday is now behind us but the memories are still thriving in my mind. We rolled into town yesterday about 4:30 pm and no matter how many times I come to this lovely desert town, I am always in awe with its beauty.
Picking up our press credentials at the Riviera Resort and Spa was an event in itself, with all the ladies checking in around us.
The changes to the Riviera (made a couple years ago during a remodel) are still hard to believe. You almost have to see it to believe it. I must mention how incredibly nice the staff has been. They really look forward to us being here.
I have the talented Connie Kurtew along working as our staff photographer on this trip and we are working out to be a very good team.
After checking into our hotel we stopped over at Wang's in the Desert to discuss strategy and we got the weekend started with a couple of the best margaritas ever. Our bartender was quick to alert us that Saturday would be Bear night at Wang's and that we should be sure to stop in. We said we'd pass, considering there is better action for us going on across town.
Meredith Baxter and her partner Nancy Locke strolled into Wang's for dinner, before scooting over to the annual comedy line-up at the Riviera's Grand Ballroom. A fan greeted Meredith at the comedy show and thanked her for being a voice in our community, saying, "You've brought so much beauty to us." A humble Meredith responded, "Well, I think you are beautiful, yourself."
The Comedy Show was advertised to start at 7 pm, but for some reason didn't get underway until well after 8:30, causing some in the crowd to be a little restless. When it did, lucky attendees got a rare opportunity to see Mariah Hanson, the legendary founder of Club Skirts The Dinah, for a quick second, when she took the stage for a welcome. Mariah brought her friend Shannon Wentworth, CEO and co-founder of Sweet, to the stage to let the crowd in on all the amazing things the ladies of Sweet are involved in. Every cruise and resort vacation they produce brings a ton of community service to help the local depressed areas they are visiting. The ladies of Sweet truly bring giving back to a whole new level. If you haven't checked them out, make sure you do.
Fortune Feimster, who was just with us in San Diego last weekend for the Queer Queens of Qomedy, then opened the show as emcee. Fortune will emcee just about every event all weekend long. Quite a feat.
First up was Karen Williams (see photo at left, middle) who had the crowd howling with her sometimes sordid life experiences and the tragedies of growing older. Fortune then brought Jessica Kirson to the stage, along with her overbearing conscience who kept her in continual check. The light man almost lost his job during the Suzanne Westenhoefer (see photo at left, bottom) set, causing quite a stir in the room when the lights continued to go on and off for several minutes.
Stopping to grab some photos of the phenomenal remodel of the Riviera we ran into none other than Whitney Mixter in the lobby, so I stopped to chat her up. I interviewed Whitney and Rose Garcia last year in the months leading up to The Dinah. Last year a lucky fan won a date with Whitney, but she told me this year she is hosting CherryGrrl's The Dating Game today (Friday) at 4 pm at The Riviera Resort and Spa.
Next we jetted over to the new location for Zelda's Nightclub location for the weekend's kick-off party, just in time to catch one-time Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutter (photo at left, top) singing and dancing for a packed crowd. Zelda's will be celebrating its 35th anniversary this weekend (March 30) and is still a magnificent club. The new location offers a more open venue with a private bottle service area upstairs overlooking the dance floor and stage. Sutta ended her set saying she "will always be outspoken for LGBT rights to thunderous applause.
The crowd was quite diverse, with every size, shape and ethnicity enjoying the music and the people watching. A blow up doll was seen making the rounds and even took a turn on top of one of the boxes with each of Zelda's ever-popular go-go dancers.
Several celebrities rolled into Zelda's to join in the festivities. Fortune Feimster was seen working the crowd, but it could have been working her, as she definitely looked a tad overwhelmed, surrounded by a gaggle of girls eager to get their pictures taken with the Chelsey Lately star. Sirius Out Q Radio Host Frank DeCaro was seen mingling with the crowd. I grabbed him for a second to so he could make a visual connection for the phone interview that lead to this story and told him I'd make sure to catch his live broadcast (with his lovely co-host Doria Biddle) from the Riviera Friday (today) at 3 pm.
Here it is Friday, and I'm blogging from the bar at one of my favorite Palm Springs haunts, Azul, while Connie sits next to me playing Draw With Friends on her iPhone. Poor thing, at least while she was hard at work last night I had plenty of "eye candy" to enjoy.
I spent a lovely couple of hours today at the warm and wonderful home of former bass player for the infamous all female band, The Runaways, Victory Tischler-Blue. My photographer friend, Connie has known Victory for several years after buying a Nikon camera from her after seeing a posting on Craig's List. Victory has spent the last dozen plus years producing films but is now about to launch a new career as a photographer. The first big project she is taking on is a photo book, focused on "Androgyny" -- and she wants our help. I'll be interviewing her on Monday for a bigger story on this topic, but Connie and I will be on the look-out all this weekend for women who may fit the bill and could be included in this book. If you are reading this and think you might meet her requirements, email me or approach me this weekend.
Tune in tomorrow (or even later) to see more updates.
Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at [email protected].