Brittani Does Dinah Shore 2012, Remembers Some Of It

haviland stillwell & ashley reed, stars of unicorn plan-it

Once upon a time in the land of yore (not really), thousands of queer women and aspiring lesbians descended upon the Riviera Hotel with exorbitant amounts of alcohol, questionable intentions, and suspended morals. As you may or may not have heard, one Contributing Editor (me) took a little trip to a situation called Dinah Shore Weekend. Some people like to say “The Dinah” but I think that sounds weird like when old people put ‘the’ in front of things it shouldn’t be in front of. Other Autostraddle affiliates present for the festivities included the entire Unicorn Plan-It Team, Jess S., Sara Medd, and a whole slew of calendar girls. All my dreams.

Equipped with my favorite t-shirts and most-pocket-having board shorts, I hit the road with very little sleep and a whole lot of anxiety. The night before felt like lesbian Christmas Eve and I was afraid that Dinah Shore would be a lump of coal. Mere weeks before as “I am a poor boi too, pa rum pum pum pum” echoed through my head, I’d been convinced to engage in a slightly stripped down version of Dinah Shore.

This is where most of my friends stayed

This is where I stayed. Squalor.

Friday, after a breakfast of champions (See: McDonald’s), I hit the road with mah friendos, Alice and Chloe. After jamming out and voicing several fears in which the worst case scenario is not actually that bad, we arrived in Palm Springs. We grabbed our wristbands and made our way back to the car to make use of all the free Red Bull we’d snatched up. You know what else they were giving out like hotcakes? ob tampons! Because ob is investing in the lesbian community, y’all.

Feel free to use this as an ad campaign

After getting car drunk, we headed over to the Riviera to greet the crew.

Brittani: This hotel is so confusing. It’s like The Shining.
Other person: It’s the lesbian Shining.

By 1:21 pm, I’d broken the pair of sunglasses I brought with me to Dinah so we were off to a fantastic start. Luckily, sunglasses too were one of the things available in massive proportions so it didn’t take that long before I’d restocked my eyes with protection. Sunglasses and sunblock were the only forms of protection being used at Dinah I think.

Friends and brother wives

Alice: A, B, and C. Who do we know that’s name starts with D?
Brittani: Dinnnahhhhh.
Chloe: Who’s Donna?

Obviously it was time to head to the pool. I was really nervous about a few things before actually seeing what the party was like. I thought I’d for sure get knocked into the pool with all of my worldly possessions including things that weren’t even at the pool like my laptop and social security card. I imagined the inescapable scenario wherein I’d lose everyone I knew in a lazy river of gay and never find them again, resulting in me being abandoned in the desert with no water and no boobs. I feared that everyone would be making out except for me and I’d end up in my room taking an angry nap. None of these things happened. Hooray!

Please don't leave me guys. I love you.

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about as everywhere I turned, there were people I knew or people I really wouldn’t mind getting to know. In short, it was a manageable situation and though there is a fair amount of the “club squeeze,” everything was just fine.

Excuse me for a second, there's another group of attractive lesbians I know.

After surviving my first pool party, it was time to have my first BMOS (brief moment of sobriety), rally the troops, and head to the LIVE Magazine mixer at Mango. There were gay men interested in my hobbies and free food so I don’t know what else you could ask for.

People have probably done worse things to pictures of Haviland

After the mixer, it was back to The Riviera where everyone was getting ready for the White Party. I wasn’t going because in a rare moment of fiscal responsibility and adult decision making skills, I’d bought the Pool Party Pass instead of any of the passes that let you into the night parties. This wasn’t going to stop me from having a good time though. While everyone else was jamming out in their unfortunately colored attire, I was bopping around different groups and taking meetings on lawn chairs like the champion I am.

Productive evening

Time went on as it tends to do, events transpired, after parties were had, I went to sleep at 4. Day One of Dinah was over. The last thing I did was sit in a bathroom alone for 20 minutes to process and have some me time. Necessary.

Innocent lesbian angels

I was really excited about waking up for continental breakfast on Saturday since food is optional and alcohol is mandatory in this alternate reality. I had breakfast plans with some friends that were also staying in our jank temporary abode (the hotel was actually fine. If you’re doing Dinah on a budget, I recommend it though there is a Ronald Reagan calendar which is scary.) Turns out continental breakfast at this place means “muffins” so that was a really fun surprise. After recounting the interesting turns the night had taken, we retreated to our rooms to get ready for another day of debauchery. Please note I drank coffee at breakfast. I never drink coffee. Shit got real. And then it was time for another pool party.

Look how diverse

Apparently there was some stage situation that I was previously unaware of until it was time for Battle of the Lesbian Webseries. Since I’m the most supportive person on earth, I was front and center to support Unicorn Plan-It. It had nothing to do with Nicole Pacent dancing around in a swimsuit.

The director of Unicorn Plan-It Season 2, K. Rocco Shields, approves. So does Alice.

Despite being the clear crowd favorite, the unicorns didn’t take home the title. Micaela Ramey of Lovers and Friends did a stage dive and you really can’t beat anyone that dives into a sea of lesbians with reckless abandon. I mean that’s just like the rules of feminism.

haviland seems to be having a really good time here

Once again the pool party ended and people begin to transition into the portion of the night where those without death wishes eat food and everyone starts getting ready for the night party. Sometime during this phase, I took my sunglasses off to pull a girl over a balcony railing. Losing my sunglasses saddened me almost as much as the fact that I had to pull a girl over a balcony railing. A wonderful femme friend of mine had even traded her blue pair of sunglasses for my pink ones. Now they were gone and all I had to comfort me was another BMOS which actually turned into a whole night of sobriety but onward and awkward as I always say.

This is too cute not to include

Saturday’s big party was The Dinah Goes to Rio which I don’t really understand as a theme but whatever. As previously mentioned, I didn’t have a wristband but I pretended I was walking briskly in a pilot’s uniform and had no problems getting in. It was really cool when Neon Hitch performed but no one cared and I danced anyway. This party was pretty fun despite the fact that there were 3 or 4 songs that were played 3 or 4 times which is entirely unacceptable in my book and induced brain tears/made me want to cry dance.

Post “this party” I had an emergency thirst situation that needed handling. “Hydrate or die” is something I say often so I headed to the 7/11 where I proceeded to gulp down half of my beverage before I even paid for it. I know how much you all worry about my safety but I was just fine and went back to the hotel to party on until 5. Then I walked home, tried not to trip over the people sleeping on the floor, and slept in…and by slept in I mean until 9am.

Raging out the last day

After a hearty breakfast of muffins, it was time to check out and head to the last pool party. Since everyone was of course a struggle bus, checking out took some longer than others. With more time in the room waiting and lots of alcohol remaining, this was a turning point in my Dinah experience. A time I wish I recalled in detail but alas, I do not. I do remember uttering re: my actions, “I forgot this was real life.” I’ll be fine if no one ever tells my future children that Dinah exists.

Dev performed. Some people cared.

The good news is, there was a stray pair of untouched sunglasses found while packing! They were pink but still, I was pleased. Hours into the pool party, I somehow had acquired another pair of sunglasses. Minutes after that, one pair was missing and had been replaced by a free vibrator from Good Vibrations. Sunday was full of surprises but you will be glad to know, I did make it home with a pair and I believe this illustrates my point which is that Dinah Shore is like being in a zero-sum game with yourself. I had a blasty blast. I would love to hear about your Dinah in the comments.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


  1. thanks to this article, i mostly want to go to dinah shore next year for the free sunglasses

  2. every year i am reminded of how terrifying dinah sounds. but i’m glad you had fun! and this is funny.

  3. That “look how diverse” pic made me laugh out loud for at least five minutes. Dunno why but that was really funny to me!
    This made me want to plant myself in Cali for good and go to Dinah. *sigh* One day.

  4. Dinah is like Spring Break. A rite of passage everyone should do once. It’s lots of hotties, very little clothing and lots of drinks but also really sticky and sort of overwhelming. I’m glad I did it (in 2010) but I’m not sure I’m ready to return.

  5. i just realized the only thing better than haviland’s facial expression in the battle of the webseries photo is ashley’s

  6. Riese, I am pretty sure that’s what my face looked like the entire weekend and kind of always. Except when I slow dance to Chaka with my hands in Croce’s back pockets.

    B, as always, funny shit dude. I will forgive you for opening with that photo (I know I asked for it but I thought it was for the personal collection ) because you included the one of Sarah’s bloodshot “smeyes”. Nice.

  7. Thanks for making me laugh! This was hilarious.

    I think if I went to dinah I would somehow end up feeling like I was straight by the end of it. I don’t know why.

      • I sometimes feel like that when I go to queer bars! And everyone is really grabby… You know? Also, crowds make me awkward. As do pretty girls in bikinis. It would only be a temporary thing though I’m sure, a phase of straightness…

  8. I didn’t go to Dinah Shore this year but in past years I feel like I inevitably come home and wonder why there are men everywhere, and why all the women are not in pool attire. Adjusting back to real life is hard.

  9. It gets truer and truer all the time…B IS, in fact, HILARIOUS.
    As Riese knows, and now all of you, I am fairly expressive, yanno… facially.

  10. Your hair is looking excellent, A+!
    This was hilarious, sidenote. “I forgot this was real life.”

  11. Dinah Shore is like being in a zero-sum game with yourself. Haaaaaha. Hilarious recap, Brittani!

  12. I am definitely stealing some of these phrases, but especially struggle bus, onward and awkward, and angry nap. Freaking funny stuff!

    As far as the actual Dinah experience, this looks terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time… in a “I’m about to jump out of an airplane” kind of way. Perhaps next year I will relinquish my Dinah Shore weekend virginity.

    • This was the first time in many, many years that I didn’t go to the Dinah. While I have no regrets about missing this year, I never once regretted all the years attended. Some of the things I did while IN attendance: yes. But never actually attending.

  13. Holy crap. Why have I not attended Dinah Shore yet?
    Currently adding it to my “to do” list (teehee, “to do”).

  14. Love. Especially:
    -“onward and awkward”
    -the “lazy river of guy” metaphor
    -“lesbian Christmas Eve…pah rum pum pum pum”
    -the whole damn thing

Comments are closed.