Mariah Hanson has always loved throwing parties to create a feel good environment that was easy for people to meet new friends, celebrate their lives and go home with a few extra awesome memories.
Under the Club Skirts Marquis, Mariah created the world famous Dinah Shore Weekend in 1991 with just that intention in mind – to create an exciting, community building, life affirming, unimaginably stellar experience for her customers.
She choose the world-renowned Palm Springs Modern Art Museum to host her first Dinah. Mariah knew an event inside this spectacular museum, surrounded by priceless artwork, was just the kind of statement she was trying to make – that our community is worth the very best and she was going to offer it.
Mariah’s first Dinah was sold out, packing every room of the museum, where partygoers drank martini’s while surrounded by tens of millions of dollars worth of art. Mariah wanted Dinah goers to feel safe, and inclusive, so she booked entire hotels so that they were 100% lesbian occupied, brought in national sponsors, popular national recording artists, and kept all events in walking distance to create our very own world within a world.
These simple but daring concepts, creating an empowering lesbian world within the city, catapulted the Dinah to international fame. Today, The Dinah is considered the largest lesbian/queer women event in the world.
Thanks to her efforts to create unity through an international celebration, Mariah has received the coveted key to the Palm Springs city, presented by openly out Mayor, Ron Oden in 1998. She has appeared in Out 100 list of influential lesbians, received numerous awards and accolades, including the nationally renowned Athena Award, a Legacy Award by Palm Springs Pride and a Lifetime Achievement award by The Coachella Valley LGBT Community Center. She received an Achievement Award with LILY TOMLIN by NCLR in 2015 and before she fell in love with her partner, SPECIAL EDUCATION DIRECTOR MAUREEN VANDERPOOL, she was voted #36 most eligible single lesbians by lesbian.com.
In 2006, after almost 15 years of unheralded success, Mariah wanted to take The Dinah to even higher levels where her customers could experience the very best in musical performances. The event had reached a stature where break out artists and seasoned artist recognized it as a venue to reach queer women and Mariah wanted to offer a higher caliber of entertainment for our community.
She choose The Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger as her headliner and begin the now famous trend of picking the next big act in music. “In 2006, I wanted to step it up a notch. The Pussycat Dolls actually left their Black Eyed Peas tour to play The Dinah. It was momentous,” she notes.
In ’07, riding on the success of an amped up entertainment line up, Mariah continued the approach with an even bigger line up, which included India.Arie, Uh Huh Her, Jackie Warner, Showtime’s L Word stars, Leisha Hailey, Kate Meonnig, and Jane Lynch and 35 other celebrities. Working with Showtime, to create a signature event designed just for TheDinah, Showtime’s The L Word creators and cast joined with Mariah to produce BE SCENE, an event in which L Word stars KATE MEONNIG, Leisha Hailey, JANE LYNCH, ILENE CHAIKEN and ALEXANDRA HEDISON mischievously judged pre-selected audience members as they acted out their favorite L Word scenes.
In `08, PAT BENATAR, COLBIE CAILLAT, Uh Huh Her, Lisa Lisa, The L Word Stars continuing BE SCENE’s success and many more performers and celebrities joined The Dinah roster.
Mariah’s vision to create an inclusive, exciting queer celebration for five days was complete. Thousands of women unite every year in the common bond of a life affirming celebration. “Women from all over the globe can’t help but leave a weekend like that changed for the better when they experience the inclusivity, the openness, the need to connect and create positive community . I am proud to produce it.”Mariah says. The 2009 Dinah continued Club Skirts ground breaking trend of a high profile, entertainment packed and star filled Dinah. Club Skirts hit a grand slam with both LADY GAGA and KATY PERRY, as well as THE INDIGO GIRLS, MARGARET CHO and LEISHA HAILEY’S UH HUH HER. Logo Networks, Here TV, Sirius Radio, Showtime, Inc all came on board as exclusive sponsors of The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend. In 2010, Mariah defied the pundits who said she couldn’t pick the next big thing five years in a row and headlined KE$HA, who went on to have five billboard hot 100 hits in her debut CD. SALT N PEPA also united to perform one of the best concerts The Dinah has ever seen. SARAH SHAHI, The Paradiso Girls, British Siren Lolene, legendary MARTHA DAVIS AND THE MOTELS were among the 40 celebrities either performing or appearing that year. 2011, The Dinah showcased NATASHA BEDINGFIELD, DEV AND THE CATARACS. 2012,, The Dinah brought in legendary CHAKA KAHN and Nina Sky and Winter Gordon. 2013, Karmin headlined, with Havana Brown and Uh Huh Her. 2014 marked another banner year, with a solid gold line up of Grammy winners and nominees, including: TEGAN AND SARA, MARY LAMBERT, EVE, EVELYN CHAMPAGNE KING, THEA AUSTIN and record-breaking chart topper IGGY AZALEA. 2015 brought us then break out and present mega-star, Meghan Trainor and music icon Christina Perri. 2016 was highlighted by BEBE REXHA, SAMANTA RONSON, Real L Word showcased musicians, Hunter Valentine, actress turned DJ KATE MEONNIG, Jo Livi, Orange is The New Black’s TARYN MANNING, and Angel Haze. 2017 Followed up with a women empowerment theme behind its artist lineup, showcasing performers such as TISH HYMAN, LIZZO, BUTTERSCOTCH and music legend BLACK BOX, all women who broke the glass ceiling against the odds. In 2018, Mariah continued her legendary emerging artist pick with JESSIE REYEZ and in 2019, she introduced KIANA LEDE AND LEIKELI47, to massive crowds of adoring new fans. In2021, after waiting almost two years to finally produce The Dinah’s 30th Anniversary, The Dinah’s entertainment roster was over the top. Choosing a mix between iconic 90’s artists and emerging artists on the verge of taking off, the 2021 talent roster included Macy Gray, SWV, Kat Cunning, MKxyz, DoeChii, SWSH, St. Panther, Rozzi, Tommy Genesis, CECE Penniston, Yung Baby Tate, and from our own community, emerging artist contest winners Boi Band and Smeared Lipstick.
Mariah threw awesome parties in college where she conceived the idea to create a celebratory environment through parties and Entertianment that affirmed our lives and created new connections. In 1988 when she debuted Club Skirts, originally as a Sunday night dance club for San Francisco/Bay Area women. She quickly branched out to a Saturday night dance Club, The Girl Spot, which reached international status, and was open for 15 years! In 1996, Mariah brought the Dinah concept to Northern California, and The Monterey Women’s festival was born. A mini-Dinah, The Club Skirts Monterey Women’s festival was held for seven years. In 2003, Mariah bought The Cherry Bar in San Francisco and presented a seven day a week lesbian nightclub concept to San Francisco. She sold it in 2006 to focus solely on the Dinah and partnering with girl nightclubs around the country to spread the Dinah word. Mariah completed two terms on the Board of Equality California, the non-profit organization that was pivotal in winning the marriage equality battle in California. She has served on the “Women’s Night” committee for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Both organizations are past charity recipients of The Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.
Mariah has always believed in giving back to our community. Past recipients have included The San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Community Center, GLAAD, The Women’s Building, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Jon Sims Center, Ladies Philharmonic, Uhuru Movement, various lesbian film projects, HRC, Lyon Martin Health Clinic, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center, and The Palm Springs LGBT Center, plus many gay and lesbian politicians, Yes on S, Yes on K, & More! Mariah thinks giving back is important. Do what you can!