Diva Las Vegas is usually held in March, and this year it’s so late in March it creeps into April (3/28-4/2). A week-long event, it is as loosely organized as an event can be. This is not a bad thing, just not what most people expect if they’re used to the conferences where there is something scheduled for most of the waking hours of the day. It allows people to take the days as they come, and doesn’t make attendees feel like it’s a relaxing vacation instead of a super structured TG trip. Upon signing up for DLV, attendees can see the list of planned activities and are asked to sign up for what they want to attend for the sake of having a rough head count for planning purposes. Each activity has someone as the coordinator, so you have a time to be at a certain place, and know who to check-in with to actually participate. There are a few exceptions, but much of DLV is pay as you go.
One of the things about Las Vegas I found surprising my first time out there was the scale of everything. I’m used to cities, and thought I had done a reasonable job planning out the three days I was spending there. It was a long weekend trip with my sister to get away from the New England winter that had us both feeling restless and slightly depressed. My usual method of planning social trips to new places is to pick one thing to do each day I’m in a place (sometimes with a second thing to do as a backup), and let myself just go with the flow for the rest of the time. Since it was a short trip and equally my sister’s vacation, we each picked something for each day, and decided the rest of the time would be spent wandering around Vegas or sitting by the pool. It turns out that without some really good planning on how to get from one place to another you waste a lot of time on the strip outside of casinos thinking “It’s right next door, how is it taking me so long? Is the casino moving further away as I walk towards it?” In one case it took us 45 minutes to get out of our hotel, cross the street twice, and make our way to the pool of the other casino. For the record, it was not worthwhile.
I was more than a little naïve and underprepared for the trip. There is so much information about Las Vegas out there, and some of it is relevant to planning a trip, but a lot of it is just useless noise. I had trusted too much to just being a leaf in the wind, and wasted a lot of time in the process. I’ve convinced myself that it’s not an uncommon mistake to make, and the problem only compounds when you throw in the additional time it takes to get ready with makeup and wig ready to withstand the heat of the desert.
DLV organizers tremendously reduce the amount of wasted time by providing very helpful and succinct information about how to get where you’re going. There’s information on how to get to each activity if you’re travelling by public transport, cab, or walking, making it easy to figure out where you’re going and how much time you’ll need to get there. Remember, even if you pull up to the correct casino on time, it might be another 15 or 20 minutes walking through the casino to get where you’re meant to be meeting up with the group. Luckily, the flexibility of DLV means that if you’ve signed up for way too many activities and haven’t left enough time in between for going back to your room for an outfit change or a nap, you can easily notify the organizers of your changes in plans.
While it’s understandable for first-timers to cancel out during the week, hopefully most seasoned attendees know better and plan their attendance accordingly. It can get extremely frustrating for organizers when the headcount is constantly shifting for any particular activity. Remember, it is all volunteers making DLV happen, and they deserve to have a mostly stress-free, fun experience too.
While I've attended DLV several years in the past, I will not be going this year. I can only make so many trips each year, and DLV is just not in the cards this year.
There are several TG-focused events in Las Vegas every year. In addition to Diva Las Vegas, there is also Wildside (May 9-15), which fans of the club/dance scene might be more interested in over DLV.