Photo: From left, Kelly West, Michelle Daly, Ashley Marshall, Gabby Ayala
The lesbians are taking over! Well, we’re taking over the Hilton Galveston Resort in Galveston, TX for the weekend any way – September 29 to October 2, 2016. The event is packed with parties and celebs and all manner of girls who love girls fun and games. It’s a Texas event that is long overdue, and its creation is thanks to two kick ass lesbians to watch – Kelly Frances West and Michelle Solórzano Daly.
Austinite Kelly Frances West and Washington, DC native Michelle Solórzano Daly met in Austin in the summer of 2013. Michelle is an Army veteran and a Purple Heart recipient who relocated to Texas for a fresh start after recovering from the injuries she suffered during deployment to Iraq. Kelly was a longtime wedding and event designer.
When the two met, Kelly had just returned to Austin after ten years away. It wasn’t long after that meeting that the two decided to create a lesbian happy hour after both of Austin’s lesbian bars shuttered. “It was becoming impossible to meet quality women without using the Internet," Kelly explains.
One hundred and twenty-five women showed up for that first happy hour with only Facebook and word-of-mouth advertising. Kelly and Michelle knew that something even bigger was in order. It was then that Lesbutante (AKA Kelly) and The Boss (AKA Michelle) were born.
Since then they have hosted the official women’s Pride party two years in a row in Austin and have had a float in the Austin Pride Parade three years running now. And, every second Friday of the month at Highland Lounge, the city’s hottest new LGBTQ nightclub, they host a massive ladies night with 400-500 women. The event is free to ensure that everyone in the community can attend.
Their latest venture is Plezzure Island. “The only all-female resort takeover in Texas,” Kelly explains. “It is a four-day lesbian/woman centered (trans inclusive) event that includes pool parties, beach party, nighttime entertainment, DJs from all around the country, and all different types of lesbian celebrities from The Real L Word; L Word MS: Hate The Sin; celebrity lesbian DJs; writers; authors; and comedians.”
The brains, brawn, and beauty of Plezzure Island is made up of Michelle Solórzano Daly and Kelly West and their best friends Gabby Ayala and Ashley Marshall. Together they formed the company Wolf Pack Productions, LLC and are known as the Wolfpack. “Gabby and Ashley bring a wealth of varied experience to the table, including staff recruiting, and logistics management,” Kelly explains.
Plezzure Island definitely peaked my interest the minute I heard about it. So I asked Michelle to tell me a little more so I could share it with MyGayHouston readers. Here’s what she had to say.
What inspired you to create Plezzure Island?
Through the success of Lesbutante & The Boss in Austin, we knew that the greater lesbian community was hungry for quality events. The central part of the United States has a lack of multi-day women focused events. Using large-scale events such as Dinah Shore in Palm Springs, Aqua Girl and Girls In Wonderland in Florida, as inspiration Plezzure Island was born. Our goal was to create a multi-day event that would bring a sense of community to the women in Texas and beyond.
What made you think it would work?
Texas is one of the largest states in the country and home to some of the most amazing lesbian communities. Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, just to name a few. The location that is the Hilton Galveston Island Resort in Galveston, Texas is a perfect place for a destination multi-day event because Galveston is built for large-scale conventions and social gatherings.
What events are coming up leading up to the big weekend?
Thursday August 4, 2016 we will be hosting a Plezzure Island Happy Hour at Highland Nightclub from 7-9pm and will be selling tickets at a special discounted rate throughout the event. We will also be there to answer any questions people may have about our event.
Lesbutante & The Boss has Austin Pride coming up. The official Women’s party is Friday August 26, 2016 from 8p-2a at Highland Nightclub 404 Colorado St. Austin, TX. Special guest host is Rose Garcia from The Real L Word and special guest celebrity DJ Athenz hailing from Houston and HOT 95.7 FM in Houston.
Saturday August 27, 2016 we host a float in the parade, this year being a large party bus with a 150 person-walking contingent. DJ Athenz will be spinning live on the float and Rose Garcia will also be our special guest.
We plan to visit Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio again to promote Plezzure Island.
What has been the response so far when girls hear about this event?
Most responses have been, “We’ve been waiting for something like this to be in our backyard for so long. If anyone can do it, it’s the 4 of you.” Others have been pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is considering you can drive and our weekend passes start at $200 with many promo codes available from $50 off to buy one get one free.
What can girls coming to the event expect?
They can expect a strong sense of community and women of all ages and backgrounds. They can expect to build new, long lasting friends; to find the love of their life or a weekend hook up; to hear amazing DJs and live music; and to enjoy parties that create an experience for the attendee all in an environment where it is safe to be yourself.
Any packing (or other) recommendations for girls coming to the event?
Galveston is a casual beach community so 2-3 swimsuits considering there are 2 pool parties and a beach party day. Sexy pajamas for Friday night’s pajama party. Flip flops, dancing shoes, t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, ball caps, and a great attitude.
Anything else you want to share about the event?
Tickets are selling fast. We have one cabana left for sale and VIP is almost sold out. The Hilton Hotel is 60% booked, and we are less than 60 days away.
I also want to give a big thanks to our sponsors Pearl Bar Houston and its owners Julie Mabry and Mariana Lemesoff. I also want to thank the Austin Pride Organization, Highland Nightclub, Southern Glazers (Smirnoff), Topo Chico, Gayborhood, and Cheer Up Charlie’s.
And I have to mention Lisa Hause of Lisa Hause Photography who has been our photographer for all of our events for the last three years and who will be our photographer for Plezzure Island as well. Her photographs have been a big part of why we've become so successful. They tell such an amazing story of female empowerment during these women-centered events.
Finally, a big thanks to all of our friends and supporters who have continuously supported all of our events for the last 3 years because without them, Plezzure Island would have never been born.
Visit www.plezzureisland.org to book your hotel and purchase tickets. Use the code JBlock to get $50.00 off your admission and visit thejennyblock.com to enter to win one of two free passes to the event.