It’s going to be a sinful weekend in Las Vegas as the girls go wild at Shedonism.
The four-day all-girl party during Las Vegas Pride Weekend kicks off tomorrow, Sept. 5, with seven hot events set to thrill women through Sept. 9, when they will need an extra day to recover.
Thousands of women are going to take over the Palms Casino and Resort (4321 West Flamingo Road, 702-942-7777, Palms.com) this year to party it up.
Girls will have their own pool Saturday and Sunday for two splashy parties and many of the four nighttime parties are going to be hosted at the Palm’s upscale nightclubs throughout the long weekend.
“We are going to be in very upscale nightclubs,” says Shedonism co-producer Yesenia “Yesi” Leon. “Places that I think that women will really enjoy and will appreciate.”
Last year more than an estimated 3,000 women from all over the U.S. including Arizona, Atlanta, California, Miami, New York, Texas, Washington and of course Las Vegas descended upon Sin City.
The girls at Shedonism have some sinful delights planned for their guests this year with celesbians, local and nationally known DJs, and hot, hot entertainment, not to mention all of the other ways Vegas offers girls to let loose.
“We are definitely doing an event in a city that has so much entertainment already,” continues Yesi. “So, not only do they get to go out to best places to have dinner, but then they also get to go out to really nice clubs that will have top-of-the-line entertainment and great DJs.”
Women will also be able to win a trip with Olivia Travel.
The party is the vision of resident Las Vegas DJ Lisa Pittman, who used to throw all-girl circuit parties Booty Bar and Kandy Bar, before she teamed up with the ladies at Pandora Events to create Shedonism three years ago.
The girls at Pandora Events – Amy Alonso, Alison Burgos and Yesenia Leon – are best known for their Miami girl parties the White Party and Winter Party, Peach in Atlanta and Girls in Wonderland at Disney World in Orlando during Gay Days Orlando.
Of course, Alison is best known as the founder of Aqua Girl, the four-day sun-soaked extravaganza in South Beach, Miami every May.
Five years ago, Lisa, who is 30-something, was dreaming of bringing an all-girl festival to her hometown, Las Vegas. But back then the economy was booming and she was laughed out of the hotels that she approached.
“It really pissed me off, ‘Oh really, it’s not going to happen here? Yeah, you watch it’s going to fucking happen,’” says Lisa.
Then the economy tanked, the pink dollar became attractive, and Lisa seized on the opportunity to make her dream come true.
A regular DJ for Pandora Events, she approached the girls to see if they might be interested in partnering up with her. It was a no brainer for them. Las Vegas is the third most popular destination among queer girls, according to the 17th Annual Community Marketing and Insights LGBT Travel Survey, and at the time there wasn’t anything specifically for queer girls in Sin City.
“There are a lot of attractions to Vegas,” says Lisa about why women are attracted to Las Vegas. “You can come and let your hair down [and] things are relatively inexpensive.
“You can do things that you normally do on vacation inexpensively and then also at the same time have a really good time,” she continues. “The party just doesn’t stop.”
Vegas is known for being over the top, so something spectacular had to be designed to entice women to head to Las Vegas and Lisa knew it.
“It’s Las Vegas. Everything here is super duper. Everything here is [on] steroids. Every party that we have all year long is like New Year’s Eve in other cities,” says Lisa. “So, of course the next thing that I want is a bigger party than the parties that we already have. What better way to do that is to make a festival?”
Lisa set her eyes on the weekend after Labor Day to host Shedonism. The weather is perfect and the pools aren’t crowded. It just happened by chance that the same year she launched Shedonism, Las Vegas Pride decided to move its annual festival from May to September, she says.
“When I heard that I kind of got chills,” says Lisa. “I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is meant to be and it’s going to happen.’”
Even so, it still wasn’t easy finding a hotel with a nightclub and pool that would take the party on, she says, or the negative feedback she received from some women, but she triumphed.
Since Shedonism launched, Dinah in Color and Girl Bar’s Dinah Shore Weekend producers Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs have also hosted all-girl weekend getaways in Las Vegas in the spring.
Sin City Dazzle
Shedonism is different because it’s headed up by Lisa, who was born in Los Angeles and raised both in LA and Vegas before she settled in the desert city.
That connectedness to and pride in Las Vegas has been really important to Shedonism’s success.
Unlike other events that claim a hotel as a home, Shedonism is taking advantage of Las Vegas’ vast variety of casinos and resorts.
“I virtually create a different event every year,” says Lisa, who gives her guests “a mini tour of Vegas” every year by hosting the event at a different resort.
In a three year period since the four-day party started it has grown from being hosted at a boutique hotel, Rumors (455 East Harmon Avenue, 702-369-5400, RumorVegas.com) to taking over one of the towers at the Palms Casino and Resort (4321 West Flamingo Road, 702-942-7777, Palms.com) this year.
Last year, Shedonism was hosted at the Mirage Hotel and Casino (3400 South Las Vegas Boulevard, 702-791-7111, Mirage.com).
“That in its self can be very exciting because we have a lot of really great venues here in Las Vegas,” says Lisa, who is proud of the fact that the Shedonism team takes the extra step to “provide a fresh event every year.”
Beyond staying ahead of the curve and creating new events in new locations every year, the girls are also very involved in the local and national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community philanthropically and volunteerism-wise.
Giving back to the local community is part of Shedonism’s secret sauce donating to Human Rights Campaign and Las Vegas Pride as well as volunteering that sets it apart from other queer women’s weekends, the promoters say.
“I think that sets us apart from a lot of different organizations is that we are very charity based,” says Yesi. “We are born advocates.”
Pandora Events’ parties, such as the White Party and Winter Party, which benefit Care Resource, a Miami-based LGBTQ health center, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, respectively. Aqua Girl, founded by Alison, has been a charity event from its very beginning.
Shedonism carries on that tradition donating to HRC and Las Vegas Pride as well as volunteer locally.
The ladies will be able to throw their chips into the game with Vanessa Russo, the reigning female poker player right now, at Saturday’s Lady Luck Celebrity Charity poker tournament. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the HRC.
It’s becoming a tradition that The March, the Vegas’ Dyke March, kicks off the annual Pride Parade.
Marchers will gather at Meet (233 South 4th Street, Las Vegas, 702-734-MEET, MeetLV.com) for pre-marching cocktails at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6. The March will kick off the Pride Parade at 7 p.m. at the Pride Parade Staging area at West Charleston Boulevard and 4th Streets.
“There is something cool about this event,” said Yesi, 41, about the march that attracts more than 200 women taking to Vegas’ streets. “We go and we make banners. Everybody brings a flag and whistles. It’s a lot of fun, just good fun.”
The Long Party
Then there’s mingling with the celebrities.
Sorry girls Ellen and Portia just aren’t available, but other celesbian sightings include Dani Campbell from MTV’s A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila fame, The Real L Word stars Whitney and Sara and Kiyomi and Lauren and Cori and Kasey.
“Obviously people want to see Ellen, but sometimes Ellen just is not available,” says Yesi. “These other girls are definitely favorites.”
“I’m really proud of the fact that it’s here and it came from five years ago [with] that guy laughing me out of the hotel saying, ‘Never going to happen,’” says Lisa, who believes it was the best thing that ever happened.
She isn’t angry though. Her focus remains on her original vision, which was to show off Vegas to women and give them the best vacation possible.
“I just really hope that everyone has a good time,” says Lisa.
To get your sin on at Shedonism, visit ShedonismLasVegas.com.
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