A different kind of Dinah in a different kind of desert
Morgan M. Hurley | GSD Editor
Producers extraordinaire Dr. Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs have been bringing the weekly entertainment and fun to women throughout the greater Los Angeles area and beyond, under the “Girl Bar” brand for 25 years
Where most lesbian bars have suffered and closed over that span of years, the Girl Bar formula has continued to thrive. It works because it produces special events and parties in a variety of existing locations, eliminating overhead and the need for a hefty daily till.
Aside from hosting parties in other big cities across the nation, Gans and Sachs also took their brand to Palm Springs for 21 years. They co-produced the annual Dinah Shore Weekend along with Club Skirts for all but four of those years, before venturing off on their own in Palm Springs with a different event the same weekend. In 2011, the ladies decided a change was in order and they moved their brand to Sin City in 2012, creating a new weekend-long event for women in conjunction with Caesar’s Entertainment and the Los Angeles-based Truck Stop Girlz.
Moving from the low desert to the high desert was a no-brainer for the power duo and although starting anew was initially intimidating and Sachs admits they held their breath on attendance, she said the change has served them well.
“That first year we had no idea what to expect,” Sachs said of their first year in Vegas. “We were floored. It just really spoke to us after having been in Palm Springs for 21 years, that maybe it was time — for us, particularly — to make a change to do something different, to be creative.
“A lot of our friends that have been coming [to Palm Springs] for years and years said, ‘We love you guys but we just can’t do that any more.”
She said what they meant they couldn’t were the increasing number of days of non-stop parties that could take even the youngest of attendees to the point of exhaustion.
“But you’d be surprised, how with switching it to Vegas, people are rejuvenated, they are re-energized,” Sachs said. “They are really liking it, and they’re liking our shortened program. Not so many events. We are giving people time to do their own thing — it’s Vegas — there is plenty to do.”
Sachs said when they decided to make the move, she and Gans and their staff asked themselves the following question, “In a perfect world, what would you get rid of?”
The answers were many and included things such as: no drink tickets, no “ginormous, expensive talent,” no set up, no uncertainties when it came to weather, and no second pool party.
“Sunday morning sleep in is a huge thing,” she said. “People do ask why we don’t have two pool parties, but when you have a Saturday late night event, hitting the pool at 7 a.m. is just not doable. Even in our younger days it was a challenge.”
At Dinah Vegas, there are plenty of events, but there is also plenty of time between events, giving attendees the luxury of enjoying all the other things that this booming metropolis of gambling, entertainment and “no last-calls” has to offer.
“We are in Vegas, we don’t need to compete with everybody who is here,” Sachs said. “Britney Spears is at Planet Hollywood, Elton John is at Caesars. They want talent? They’ve got the best shows on earth right there in Vegas. We don’t need to compete with that.”
But don’t let that fool you, there is still plenty of entertainment being produced by Girl Bar at Dinah Vegas. Cocktail parties, comedians, dance parties including a “white party” under the Eiffel Tower, plenty of Girl Bar go-go dancers, The Truck Stop Girlz, three different acts at poolside on Saturday and many of your favorite of DJs spinning music all weekend long at almost every event.
“We brought back the comedy this year, because that is something our clients can’t get in Vegas, lesbian comedians,” Sachs said.
The closing party, which takes place at Diablos Cantina, located in a rooftop bar overlooking the strip at 3770 S. Las Vegas Blvd., is still packed with fun, but it’s more of a low-key send off party rather than another rager. It starts with brunch and continues on throughout the afternoon with talented go-go dancers, popular DJs and great drink specials.
Sachs’ favorite thing about the move to Vegas?
“Oh My God, no setup,” she replied. “We spent thousands of dollars on trussing, bringing in sound and stages, and décor in Palm Springs. You can’t imagine how much money was spent and the hours and hours it takes to set all that stuff up. Here, we’re turn-key — we walk in and it’s ready.”
Saving that kind of money on both entertainment and set up has allowed Dinah Vegas to keep prices appealing, Sachs said, and without contractual obligations that forced room rates through the roof, rooms at host hotel Flamingo are a bargain at $129 per night. And at 3,000 rooms, compared to former host hotels Gans and Sachs used in Palm Springs at 400 rooms, The Flamingo is huge, although to Vegas standards, it is on the smaller side.
After better than expected numbers their first year, Caesar’s Entertainment, owner of The Flamingo Hotel, moved Dinah Vegas from the Beach Club Pool to the 15-acre Go Pool, more than twice the size of the previous pool. It’s expansive tropical setting includes waterfalls, a grotto area, expanded cabanas and day beds, and of course, flamingos. Year two saw double the attendance, so the move to a larger pool area was prophetic.
“We have cabanas that sell for $800 a piece per day that are sold out with a waiting list,” Sachs said. “The day beds are sold out. The canopies are sold out. Everything at the pool at the Flamingo is sold out.”
The 14 cabanas at the Go Pool each fit up to 15 people and come with a 42” television, a mini-refrigerator, a safe, couches and more. Day beds are like a queen sized bed poolside for lounging.
With more than 400 pool chairs available, in addition to the cabanas and day beds, in and around the Go Pool area, gone is the need to get up extra early to wait in long lines just to find a small area of cement near the pool to place your towel on.
Sachs admits that despite the annual big name entertainment they always brought to the Palm Springs weekends, the pool parties were always the cornerstone of the annual event. But everything changed in 2004, the year the cable premiere of “The L Word” on Showtime. The entire last episode of season one focused on the cast enjoying Dinah Shore Weekend. What had always been a destination for West Coast lesbians and their friends suddenly became internationally known, and attendance has skyrocketed dramatically ever since.
“It blew us out of the water, we didn’t even know what happened,” Sachs said, referring to the overwhelming number of women that showed up to the White Party in 2005. “I started literally walking up to people in line asking them questions. They said they saw it on the L Word. It was manageable, but we had to turn people away [because the fire marshall].
“I sent Ilene Chaiken flowers that year, thanking her for putting us on the map,” she continued. “They’d come the year before and filmed it, and it wasn’t even called “The L Word” then, but lots of people had filmed stuff over the years and it never panned out to anything.”
Another big difference in the move was the date change. Settling on the last weekend in April was a promise for better weather.
“That’s another thing we got to get off of, was the [Kraft Nabisco LPGA] golf tournament,” she said. “Because it was always at the end of March or the first of April, sometimes we got good weather, sometimes not so much. It is amazing what a few weeks’ difference makes … the weather is guaranteed.”
Sachs said she recalls standing on a Wyndham balcony in Palm Springs one year at the end of March, watching it hail. They had to move the pool party into the lobby.
“It was always hit or miss,” she said. “Mostly good for sure.”
All in all, Sachs has no regrets about leaving Palm Springs and appreciates the scale and opportunity for growth that Vegas offers.
“We’re just in a different desert,” she said.
Dinah Vegas takes place beginning Thursday, April 24 and runs through Sunday, April 27. For more information about Dinah Vegas, including the complete line-up, venues, host hotels, ticket and weekend pass prices, visit DinahShoreWeekend.com.
10 Reasons Dinah Vegas Rocked
What happens at Dinah Vegas stays at Dinah Vegas right?
Having covered the last three Dinah Vegas events, it occurred to me that we’ve never really done a top 10 list talking about all of the options that Sin City offers attendees of the annual all-female love fest.
And now that the dust has settled from last weekend, we can finally articulate all of the fun that was had by the thousands of women that descended on the strip.
9) Comedy Shows
3) Vegas White
2) The Pool Party
1) And last but not least…
We’re already looking forward to 2015.
Las Vegas is preparing for an onslaught of the world’s hottest lesbians, April 24-27, 2014. Now in its third year in Sin City, partygoers at Dinah Vegas will be rewarded with a bigger than ever bill of entertainment, gourmet dining, gaming and sunshine in the neo-lit city that never sleeps.
Attendance has doubled each year, says producer Sandy Sachs. “We know from our patrons that we are on the right track, producing one-of-a-kind events, filled with the world’s hottest women! Caesars has worked with us on a vision that is limitless in scope and as iconic as the city itself.”
Sachs thanks lesbian ally Richard Brower, director of LGBT marketing for Caesars Entertainment, who has partnered with Dinah Vegas to create an event of epic proportions. “Richard’s proactive outreach was an integral part in making Dinah Vegas a ‘must attend’ event for the lesbian community,” she says.
Brower adds, “As the only casino company that has scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index six years in a row, we are thrilled to serve as hosts for this iconic event and look forward to growing it even bigger in the future with its producers.”
And if you’ve selected a VIP package even more Dinah Vegas delights await you. Insider tip: Specially priced Weekend Passes are great value, giving you priority admission.
More Info: www.dinahshoreweekend.com
Dinah Shore Weekend Las Vegas, April 25 – 28, 2013
Dinah Vegas, which is sponsored by Girl Bar, Truck Stop Girlz and Ceasars Entertainment group, was absolutely insane.
Friday night the party was held at the Rio’s VooDoo Lounge which is located just off the strip and 51 stories above the casino’s hotel. The view was incredible, not mention the Truck Stop Girlz brought the house down with their killer dance moves.
Oh yeah, there was also an open bar for VIP guests. Needless to say, things got crazy. Saturday was a pool party not to be missed. All the beautiful ladies got down in their bathing suits to tan, drink and dance. I can not believe how many sexy females there were located in a single venue. And after the pool party at the same location was the White Party.
The ladies of Little Miss Nasty and Truck Stop Girlz twerked it hard and gave the audience an amazing show. Seriously, you need to see these girls dance. They are amazing! Sunday was all fun at Diablo’s Cantina. People chilled on the roof top and looked down onto the strip. The weekend was rowdy, but what do you expect when last call doesn’t exist in Las Vegas. I had such a great time, people were friendly and full of smiles. I really have to thank Dr. Robin Gans, Sandy Sachs, Linda Fusco, Michelle Agnew, Courtney Caron, and the rest of the amazing staff that pulled off this incredible event. You guys rocked it! I seriously can’t wait for next year.
Photos by Denee Pino
Have you always wanted to relive The Hangover with less white dudes and tigers but more lesbians? Then perhaps you should consider hitting Las Vegas for Girl Bar's Dinah Shore Weekend from April 25-28. Girl Bar, in association with the Truck Stop Girls and Fuse Events, is taking advantage of the city that never sleeps by offering you the opportunity to party all damn day and night. It seems all those ads are paying off.
This is pretty much a no brainer if you like Las Vegas, women, and fun times. Not only do you have pool parties and great DJs from all over the nation, you'll have time to explore The Strip, get some sun, eat at buffets, and maybe make a little money at the casino. Check out the events below and get your weekend passes at the Dinah Shore Weekend website. If you want to hit Vegas with a group, look into the Posse Pool Party Pass which seems like a great idea because usually I'm not only looking for a a party, I'm looking for a deal.
Thursday, April 25th
High Heel Poker Tournament
Sunday, April 28th
Las Vegas becoming a go-to destination for LGBT events, tourists
When Robin Gans helped bring Dinah Vegas, or Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend, — one of the largest lesbian events in the world — to Las Vegas last April, she hoped that it would draw enough attendees to fill the dance floor at Paris Las Vegas’ Chateau Nightclub. She expected maybe a couple of hundred women.
But when 1,700 women showed up, Gans had to find a way to accommodate them in the club and its outdoor beer garden.
“Vegas has changed a lot,” said Gans, who has co-produced the event, an offshoot of Dinah Shore Weekend, through her Girl Bar entertainment group since 1990. “I think they’ve realized what the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender market has to offer, and I think they want our business. They’ve created a vibe of: 'Why wouldn’t we want to go?' I think the Vegas frontier is really opening up to our community.”
Gans isn’t alone in her opinion. Since the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority began marketing to the LGBT community in the early 2000s, the city has stepped into the spotlight as one of that demographic's premier travel destinations.
And winning that patronage is important to Las Vegas: According to a 2009 study from Community Marketing Inc., the average household income for gay men and women is $81,500 — about 80 percent higher than that of the average U.S. household. Another recent study by the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce found that LGBT travelers spent nearly twice as much per trip as their heterosexual counterparts and were twice as likely to go on vacation.
Las Vegas consistently ranks among the top business and leisure destinations surveyed annually by Community Marketing, a consumer research and marketing firm specializing in demographic studies of the LGBT community’s economic power. Last year, Las Vegas came in just below New York City and San Francisco as a top leisure travel destination in a survey of 5,700 LGBT travelers.
As Las Vegas holds steady with vacationers, its profile among LGBT businesses, organizations and events is rising. In the same 2012 survey, Las Vegas placed just below Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., as a top business travel destination; in 2009, Las Vegas didn’t even rank.
Aggressive outreach from LVCVA, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment has led to a number of LGBT organizations expanding and moving their events from other popular destinations such as Palm Springs, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., to Las Vegas. Gans brought Dinah Shore Weekend to Las Vegas last year after being approached by Caesars Entertainment. Now she says there’s no looking back.
"Palm Springs just can’t compete at all. In Vegas, we can do what we did in Palm Springs times 10,” she said, citing lower event costs, a more liberal party environment and flexibility from Caesars to expand the scale of the event to accommodate a larger crowd for this year’s Dinah Vegas in April. Gans said last year’s weekend of events drew at least 2,000 visitors to Las Vegas, in addition to a large local showing, and she expects that number to double this year.
To make room, Caesars Entertainment is offering Dinah Vegas use of the Flamingo’s pool for its daytime and opening night parties. But Gans said Caesars is more than just an easy company to work with; more important, she said, is that it’s an equitable company to work for.
“If we’re going to be spending our money there, it’s important that they treat their employees well. They have several top executives who are openly gay. ... They offer wonderful employment packages for gay and lesbian couples,” she said. “They’re pretty progressive, and I’m really glad. Why not? We’re no different than anybody else.”
Caesars Entertainment, which has received a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index six years in a row, is among several local companies that are working to better serve the LGBT community working in and visiting Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts also received perfect scores on the HRC’s 2013 Corporate Equality Index; since the mid-2000s, their resorts have established dedicated marketing initiatives to attract LGBT customers.
Before the LVCVA launched its LGBT marketing campaign six years ago, Las Vegas simply wasn’t on the radar of most gay-friendly organizations.
“It was like a light bulb went off,” he said. “Vegas is over the top as a travel destination, and it’s a little more adult. It beats Orlando on those aspects.”
“Las Vegas committed to us. Orlando has never done that. They don’t sponsor or put their names on any of our events,” he said. “That’s a big plus that Vegas gave us. People see that the city wants us to be there.”
For organizations like the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, Las Vegas’ lack of outreach in the past had been reason enough to stay away.
“Ten years ago, bringing a conference like ours to Vegas would’ve been a daunting task,” said John Tanzella, the travel association’s president.
“If it’s a city that’s never been to our convention or doesn’t do anything in the gay market, and all of a sudden they want to bring us to their city, we wouldn’t consider them.”
Beyond ad campaigns, in recent years LVCVA, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts have proved their mettle by attending events such as the travel association's annual conventions, helping fund initiatives and including the organization on their advisory committees. “We want to support destinations and hotel groups that support our organization. They give, we give back.”
“LVCVA made an effort to promote our market in the community,” he said. “To everyone else, that said, 'This is why, and you guys need to get your ducks in a row, as well.'”
Today, events such as Gay Days and Dinah Vegas continue to add to Las Vegas’ credibility as a destination for the LGBT community.
“Every time Vegas gets a large LGBT event, it gives a little credit to the city's LGBT outreach. When that event is as successful as Dinah Vegas, it solidifies Vegas as a premier destination for LGBT people. We are showing them that they are important to us and that we are committed to making sure they not only feel welcome but have even more reasons to visit our resorts.”
Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend To Return To Las Vegas Next Year
Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend Las Vegas producers Dr. Robin Gans, Sandy Sachs, Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew at the rooftop 50th floor of the VooDoo Lounge at the Rio Hotel. Image credit: Lobeline Communications
It appears that all of the various Dinah Shore Weekends have now concluded. This year, Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend headed out to Las Vegas and apparently everyone had a wonderful time:
Girls from around the globe descended on Las Vegas as Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend in association with Truck Stop Girlz and Caesars Total Rewards filled the city with tens of thousands of Lesbians. The event, now in its 22nd year, has made Vegas its new home, taking advantage of non-stop entertainment, food, beverages and gaming 24/7 in the city that never sleeps. Throughout the weekend, overflow attendance across Strip properties have led producers Robin Gans, Sandy Sachs, Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew to announce the Dinah Shore Weekend return for April 25-29, 2013. The ladies credit the ambitious outreach of Richard Brower, director of LGBT marketing for Caesars Entertainment who commented, “Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend has become a ‘must attend’ event for the lesbian community and has acommitted group of followers,” Adding, “As the only casino company with a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, in 2012 our commitment to the LGBT community is strong. We are delighted to serve as hosts for the event’s Las Vegas debut and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with the Girl Bar and the Truck Stop Girlz Dinah Shore event founders.”
Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend
Lesbians descended on Las Vegas from Wednesday to Sunday for Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend, a lesbian getaway event for couples and single lesbians. Tens of thousands of lesbians made it to the city for the event, which is in its 22nd year. The vacation includes dancing, gaming lessons, a pool party and more. Overflow attendance across Strip properties led producers to announce the Dinah Shore Weekend return for April 25-29, 2013.
Girl Bar's Dinah Shore Weekend moves to Vegas and wins big
Every spring, ladies seeking a little spring break-y debauchery, scantily-clad community, or just a respite from work, school or their small town routine, were forced to make a lesbian Sophie's Choice: Club Skirts' The Dinah, or Girl Bar's Dinah Shore Weekend. These two competing event promoters have been vying for your Dinah dollar for decades, but no more. Girl Bar, with co-producers Truck Stop, have made Las Vegas their new Dinah home, and if this past weekend was any indication, Sin City will never be the same.
Girl Bar’s Dinah Shore Weekend in Las Vegas: Photos
Girls from around the world descended on the Las Vegas strip last weekend for Girl Bar’s inaugural Dinah Shore Weekend. Producers Robin Gans, Sandy Sachs, Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew have already announced their plans for the second annual Dinah Shore Vegas Weekend for April 25-29, 2013.
Girl Bar, in association with Truck Stop and Caesars Total Rewards Entertainment, filled the city with lesbians who flocked to the desert oasis in search of a non-stop party in the world-class gaming city.
The Vegas event featured a pool party and three nights of dance club offerings, but what made this weekend unique were the other options that a city like Vegas offers its visitors. World-class hotel/resorts, plenty of restaurant options, provocative shows and performances, 24/7 gaming, and a city that has no last call…. for the hard-core partiers.
Photos: Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend in Las Vegas
This past weekend saw women from across the globe descend upon Las Vegas for Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend. The popular event celebrated its 22nd year by moving the festivities to Las Vegas, taking advantage of Sin City's non-stop entertainment and 24/7 revelry. The weekend was so popular that event producers Robin Gans, Sandy Sachs, Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew (pictured below) have already announced that Dinah Shore Weekend will return to Vegas next year, April 25-29, 2013.
DINAH SHORE WEEKEND MOVES TO LAS VEGAS FOR 2012
LAS VEGAS – (date) – In a move that has set the lesbian community abuzz with cheers from around the globe, Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend, in association with Fuse Events, announced that Dinah Shore Weekend 2012 will take place April 27-29 in Las Vegas.
Since last year, Girl Bar and Fuse Events have been working exclusively with Caesars Entertainment to create the ultimate women’s weekend experience featuring all the best that Caesars Entertainment properties have to offer. Official events and hotels for Dinah Shore Weekend will be situated walking distance, across a variety of Caesars-owned properties, including Planet Hollywood and Flamingo hotels. The later will have its “Go Pool” turned over exclusively to the ladies for ticket and pass holders.
“Our sophisticated ladies wanted ‘bigger, better and more’ in a city that never sleeps with the finest in entertainment and accommodations, with non-stop flights both domestically and internationally,” said Girl Bar producers Sandy Sachs and Dr. Robin Gans. Adding, “We listened and Caesars Entertainment delivered, recognizing our global potential and wooing us with full sponsorship and a 24/7 package of perks, food, beverages and entertainment where there are no ‘last calls!”
“The LGBT market makes up such an important part of Caesars worldwide customer base,” said Richard Brower, Director of LGBT and Ethnic Marketing at Caesars Entertainment Corporation. “Having this legendry weekend move to Vegas was an opportunity we could not afford to miss.”
“After conquering New York and California, The Truck Stop Girlz couldn’t be happier about pulling into Vegas,” said co-founders Linda Fusco and Michelle Agnew. “We are ready to throw down and have a good time!”
The full Dinah Shore Weekend 2012 schedule of events, performers, ticket and hotel information and VIP travel package options www.dinahshoreweekend.com.
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Girl Bar Co-Founder Dr. Robin Gans Talks Dinah Shore Weekend Las Vegas (AUDIO)
I talked with one of the most successful lesbian club entrepreneurs, Dr. Robin Gans, who founded Girl Bar in Los Angeles with Sandy Sachs in 1990. Girl Bar is the largest dance and entertainment group for lesbians in the United States. After moving to L.A. from New York in the late '80s, Sachs and Gans recognized the need for an upscale nightclub catering to the lesbian community. "We wanted to do something to help make the lesbian community more visible and create a place for women to come together," says Sachs. "Girl Bar is a place where our patrons can come and feel safe, feel comfortable, and most of all feel empowered," adds Robin. Now the duo is producing Dinah Shore Weekend Las Vegas, April 27 to 29, with Linda Fusco and Michele Agnew of Truck Stop Girlz. We talked about the move to Las Vegas and Robin's spin on crucial issues facing our LGBT community.
When asked about her personal commitment to LGBT civil rights, Dr. Gans stated:
Well, first of all, I'm a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of California, and certainly I know what it's like to be coming out. Actually, when I was in college and having those feelings when I was in high school (I went to private school back east), one of the things that I always wanted to do was work with the gay community to help fellow gays and lesbians to not only come out but to have clearly a much better understanding of themselves and a much more integrated self. So I have several patients that are within the gay and lesbian community, and I've worked with couples. When I was training, I worked with the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center for a year, and I worked with troubled teens. I actually did an internship with them for a year, some who were definitely gay at the ages of 15 and 16. Certainly I feel a commitment within my community, and I feel a personal commitment in general, just being involved with HRC and with any fundraiser, and anything that really contributes to awareness and obviously political rights in the LGBTQ community. But personally, I would say absolutely working as a therapist. I do my best to help raise awareness and help people lead more integrated and happier lives.
Since last year, Girl Bar and Fuse Events have been working exclusively with Caesars Entertainment to create the ultimate women's weekend experience. Official events and hotels for Dinah Shore Weekend will be situated within walking distance, across a variety of Caesars-owned properties, including Planet Hollywood and Flamingo hotels. "Our sophisticated ladies wanted 'bigger, better, and more' in a city that never sleeps, with the finest in entertainment and accommodations, with non-stop flights both domestically and internationally," said Sachs and Gans. "We listened, and Caesars Entertainment delivered, recognizing our global potential and wooing us with full sponsorship and a 24/7 package of perks, food, beverage, and entertainment where there are no last calls!"