Hot Flash was founded by Pauline Miriam, a political organizer from the 70′s who found herself unexpectedly single at age 50. She realized her options for meeting women her own age were extremely limited, so she created Hot Flash Dance Parties. Now in its eighth year, Hot Flash Inferno has grown beyond the wildest dreams of Pauline, with dances throughout the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego.
E: Can out tell us a little about your history of political organizing and how that laid the foundation for Hot Flash?
PM: When I entered college in 1968, I made a conscious decision to drop out of corporate America and devote my life’s work to making the world a better place. My first jump into grassroots politics involved the anti-war (Vietnam) movement and the very first Earth Day in April 1968. After being relegated to ‘chick’ status there, my consciousness was raised and my focus then became the women’s and lesbian liberation movement. My paying job was working in a worker-owned-and-operated print shop (where we did left-wing organizational printing) but the rest of my life was spent organizing events for the women’s movement – all on a volunteer basis.
Suddenly, I was in my 50s. The personal satisfaction and joy that my volunteer work had brought me could fill volumes in biographical and historical data but the hole in my retirement income was beginning to loom large. Coupled with that, I was recently divorced from my 10-year relationship and on my own financially. Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. Hot Flash Dance Parties rose out of my need for connection with women. It was never intended to become the business it has become. Obviously, in filling my own needs, I was filling a huge need in our lesbian community. The concept of finding something that you love to do and then never having to do a day’s work again is more than true for me. I do what I do. I love what I do. I live nicely but modestly in a home filled with love and abundance, and I try to give that right back to everyone who walks into an Inferno or Wildfire party.
E: Like Hot Flash, Epochalips was also born out of finding myself unexpectedly single at 50. I, too, wanted to reach out and make connections with women my age and found the options limited. I love what you are doing for our community! Tell us your ‘elevator speech’ spiel about Hot Flash Inferno Dances.
PM: Hot Flash Dance Parties, L.L.C. is the mother company under which Inferno and Wildfire parties are held. Our hope is to provide a fun social network where women can meet, friendships can flourish, business networks can be established and women will feel welcomed and safe. When the 20-something club scene is not your scene anymore, Inferno and Wildfire Dances are for you.
E: I’m excited about your big Pride event in San Francisco this year, what is all the buzz about?
PM: This year in San Francisco, Inferno is joining forces with some of the biggest names in lesbiana to bring you an incredible party! Meet the women of OLIVIA TRAVEL, CURVE MAGAZINE and NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS at Saturday night’s INFERNO PRIDE, June 23 from 8p to 2a at Jillian’s in the Metreon, 101 4th St in downtown San Francisco. DJ ROCKAWAY, well known as our house DJ at Inferno SF as well as on Olivia Travel, will set the night on fire. Highlighting the evening will be the lovely SF burlesque troupe, THE TWILIGHT VIXENS as well as a cast and crew you won’t want to miss. Held immediately after the Dyke March, Jillian’s serves food until 10p and couples as a billiard parlour. For more info: hotflashdances.com. Order tickets HERE.
E: You met your sweetheart Joyce at a Hot Flash Dance, but it didn’t slow down your Hot Flash momentum. I love that!
What has Hot Flash Inferno got on tap for us for the latter part of 2012?
PM: Actually, not only did Joyce not slow the momentum of our events, she helped to double our capacity to grow by signing on as our graphic artist and accountant. At the moment, we’re concentrating all of our efforts on bringing Pride events to five of our cities: San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, Oregon Coast and Portland (where we teamed up with Pride NW to host the city’s official Pride party). Once we catch our breath, we expect to bring the same high quality party to all of our guests for the rest of 2012. We are planning a huge New Year’s Eve party in Seattle this year with our host hotel, the Renaissance, offering discount rooms and a quality experience.