A-Camp May 2013 Recamp #3: Fun Before 2pm, Fun After 2pm

Angelus Oaks Fashion Week

typo: should read "i am angelus oaks fashion week"

typo: should read “i am angelus oaks fashion week”

Riese: We’ve wanted to do a fashion show at camp every time but somehow never pull it off but this time we did, except we only kinda pulled it off? It was a good start I think, and we’ve got ideas for next time — like involving more campers! Baby steps. Initially the models were just gonna be Calendar Girls and The Talent, but Robin was like “I’m gonna be a model, you should be a model too,” and I was like, “okay but only if Brandy Howard can be my stylist.” Which is how I ended up in a bikini top, a blazer, a CUNTY hat, and shoes two sizes too small doing fierce bitchface with Julie Goldman. The upshot to this was that I couldn’t even pre-party my nerves away because walking in those shoes was the most challenging athletic feat of my life. Also I like it when girls who are better at being girls than I am do my makeup.

Sophia, Inferno Counselor: I was chilling in the smoker’s circle and Lizz was running around looking for Carmen and Carmen’s floral hat but she was napping, because yo, sometimes you need a nap, but in this moment I knew that the fashion show was going to be a big deal because who would move their hands that much and run around for a floral hat if it weren’t going to be a big deal? IT WAS A BIG DEAL YOU GUYS. I dropped off the hat at Liz’s cabin and it was a secretive interaction I knocked on the door and a hand popped out to get it and pulled it right back in. The hat wasn’t used in the show, but all the floral was amazing.


models backstage before the show

Brandy Howard, The Talent: It was truly an honor to be chosen as a stylist for the first annual A-Camp Fashion Show during Angelus Oaks Fashion Week. All the stars were out for the big event! The front row was a veritable who’s who of A-Camp fashionistas, and every stylist rose to the occasion.

fashionistas in the front row at the angelus oaks fashion week show

fashionistas in the front row at the angelus oaks fashion week show

Lizz: It was so cool to style models for the fashion show. My background is more in how-to style and shopping more than runway, so I was worried people might not connect with my look. What can I say, I ended up basically styling the girls in Lizz Rubin Chic. Denim and floral forever!


stylist lizz rubin with models mary (miss august 2013), julia (miss february 2011) & chloe (miss february 2014)

Lizz: It was cool to see how different the other styles were. I love that we can get a bunch of stylists together and all come up with such different queer looks.

chloe (miss feb 2014), grace (miss feb 2014), julie (miss april 2012), riese, torrie, robin

chloe (miss feb 2014), grace (miss feb 2014), julie (miss april 2012) & riese, torre, robin

Sophia: I loved the different styles presented by the stylists and how they differed; the models rocked the clothes and it was great how the stylists found outfits that their models were comfortable in while creating their own aesthetic, it was a great idea that I hope happens again!

Fashion Show2

Haviland Stillwell, Devyn (Miss TBD 2014), Torre, Robin, stylist Sara Medd

Sophia: I especially enjoyed Carly’s which I believe was along the lines of “dapper but comfy” and a representation of the person modeling.

Carly: I am so happy I got to be a part of this! I love fashion and rarely get to dress anyone other than myself, so this was super fun for me. Everyone looked so amazing and had really great walks and I’m just so proud of all our models for getting up there and doing this!

Fashion Show1

gabby, rachel walker (miss september 2014) and grace (miss feb 2014) with stylist carly in the front

Brandy: Carly, Sara, and Lizz’s teams were each very unique and extremely fashion forward.  but my team definitely brought the house down. I styled Julie Goldman and Riese and our theme was “Supermodel Heroin Cunty Club.”

Riese: I figured if anybody noticed that my feet were bleeding in these too-small shoes, they would assume it was because of intravenous drug use. And if I like, for example, were to stumble slightly when stepping onto the stage after making it all the way around the “catwalk” with stoic bitchface and reasonable balance and therefore have to be saved from wiping out by Julie Goldman (again), everyone would just be like, omg this reminds me of Gia.

Fashion Show3

Brandy: I heard some grumblings from the other stylists that I had an unfair advantage because I had two of the world’s biggest supermodels, but you guys don’t know how hard it was to work with those egos!! Seriously. Naomi Campbell has got nothing on those two. I swear, at one point Riese threw a coffee maker at my head.


attitude at an altitude

Riese: We did a raffle that a camper could win and be in the Fashion Show, I think, and Torre won and obviously was the Queen of Angelus Oaks Fashion Week. The end.

Fashion Show4

Dapper Hour

Gabby: Don’t call Dapper Hour, ‘Dappy Hour’ unless you want to be denied entry. We are dignified queers in bow ties. Ahahahaha.

Photo by Cee Webster

Photo by Cee Webster

Gabby: Oh My God, like The Dapper Hour made my life. Can we just take a minute to remember how fly everyone looked? From Saskia to PJ to Carly and Robin and all the Foxfires (especially after our impromptu Dapper Fashion Consultations — also, super shout outs to Ana looking so dope in sparkly pants and a bow tie). Everyone, seriously everyone at The Dapper Hour looked amazing.


(photo by rachel w)

A-Camp May 2013 Collage-Ready

A-Camp May 20137


Gabby: One awesome camper gave us a lesson on how to tie a bowtie. We got ideas on where to shop, how to make your own vest and ways to be dapper and thick bodied without breaking a sweat. I felt proud and safe surrounded by queers of all shades and shapes and presentations. Dapper is not butch or femme or puerto rican or cis-gendered or rich or privileged. To me it’s this way to dust off your weary skin, and find grace and beauty in the clothes and queers that make up the world you want to inhabit.

bowtie-ing mini-workshop (photo by rachel w)

bowtie-ing mini-workshop (photo by rachel w)

Laneia: High Tea is such a great quiet space to sort of come down from the intensity of the day so you’re all rested for the upcoming intensity of the night.

A-Camp May 20136

Alex: Know Your Whiskey! Ahh it was so much fun for me to co-host this tasting and cocktail workshop with Ali. (She killed it with her amazing Sazerac cocktail, by the way!) We tasted five different whiskeys while discussing tasting notes and some background history of the companies and how the whiskey was made. This was such was a blast. By the end we were all high on the glory of the ‘water of life‘ (cause that’s what it’s called you guys, a little whiskey trivia for ya) and each other obviously.

whiskey tasting (photo by taylor)

whiskey tasting (photo by taylor)

Ali: If you are in a financial position to do so and you drink alcohol, I highly suggest obtaining a bottle of Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye. I am a grumpy old man, so I like rye the best. I also like drinks with a bit of spice to them, and that was the spiciest rye I’ve ever tasted. Also I got to show everyone how to make a sazerac, and y’all, I did NOT know that there were people on that mountain that didn’t know what a sazerac was/had never had one. It’s, like, the best cocktail in the history of cocktails. Also the oldest cocktail, thus the beginning of the history of cocktails (Doc, a camper with a palette for liquor history, told me the sazerac was invented in 1850). I got to spread the good word of the Sazerac.

ali at "know your whiskey" (photo by stephanie c)

ali at “know your whiskey” (photo by stephanie c)

Crystal: Somer and I fought an epic DJ battle at the Music Hangout. There kick-off time was misprinted on the schedule and so the winners that night were the two campers who showed up.

intern somer hard at

intern somer gets crafty

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  1. I kind of wish I went to Klub Deer now just so I could have shown smartphone pictures of my cat to Jill.

    • I have no cat of my own, so I’m collecting some photos from Tumblr just for Jill/Klub Deer next time around.

  2. All of my feelings are basically whiskey feelings, as without the aid of whiskey I only have smartass feelings. So naturally, the whiskey tasting was right up my alley, and that Handy was legitimately one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted in this life and perhaps the next. My go-to “fancy” bourbon was also on the list, the Four Roses Single Barrel, and I cannot recommend that highly enough. I think this should come back every year, and I’d really like to see maybe some historical stuff, like some old-school white whiskey, such as they drank back in the West? Or maybe a tasting focusing specifically on bourbons? Anyhow, if either of you ever need whiskey ideas for future camps, holler at me, as whiskey is my JAM.

    Also, I spent most of the night at Klub Deer showing my garter belt to obliging persons, so WELL DONE ME.

    • Wait, wait, today was also the day that Dina made a CRITICAL ERROR and started asking me about Western novels and genre fiction and I basically threw book titles at her and tried to defend Larry McMurtry by telling her that Lonesome Dove makes up for Buffalo Girls because it’s so fucking good and she was like, “I’ve seen the movie” and I was all, “OKAY BUT YOU HAVE TO READ IT. Because it’s probably the best Western ever written even if, strictly speaking, it’s not my favorite*”


      *My favorite is Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell, and it’s excellent even if you don’t like Westerns, so do yourself a favor, seriously.

      • I’m constructed of like, 99% whiskey ideas and history knowledge.

        I would love to help if ever you need it, on the real. There’s so much fun stuff you can do with history/booze/booze history

    • Heartbroken I missed the whiskey tasting, next time we’re in the same state please demo what you learned. <3

      • If you come visit me, I’ll feed you so much bourbon and history that you’ll be forced to ooze around as a puddle like you’re in The Secret World of Alex Mack

        • Maybe when I finish grad school I’ll take a cross country road trip, straddling everyone everywhere.

          I mean visiting straddlers everywhere.

  3. I had serious reservations about being the Blue Rainbow wars representative for this Family-Feud/Wet T-shirt contest thingy. Lots of nerves were had, then I placed the Cowboy hat of No Fucks Given on my head and dove in.

    Wow, well I have to say that the pic from Faggity Feud is going to be the one I treasure mainly because the absolutely huge grin I had getting blasted by Brandy.

    A note: The water in those water guns was.. stinky. :P Like, eww.

    • Shelby you rocked it in the hat!!!! I didn’t notice the stinky water because….alcohol?

  4. This was my favorite day! I was running on adrenaline and booze, we won a thing and it was the most fun time with my cabin/team ever. The whiskey tasting was super fun and I totally hope that by next camp I can learn dapper so I can partake in the hour. I am the saddest that I missed fashion week also. I played drinking games with the Golden Girls and fell asleep on my way to faggity feud and woke up for Klub Deer. BEST DAY EVER! Next time I will sleep so I don’t miss things.

      • I can’t even wait! Several well dressed ladies asked me to come and I just died a little each time. whiskey conflicted. Priorities?

  5. DeAnne Smith nearly killed me from laughing too hard. I literally laughed so hard my face started to get tingly from a lack of oxygen. I’m pretty sure I saw a white light… But I talked myself back down because I didn’t want to miss the end of her show.

  6. Bear-sized thanks, apologies, and owed drinks to everyone who got tangled up in my hair feelings.

  7. Brittani somehow I missed you dunking. I was probably busy looking at the other campers without shirts. I mean busy playing basketball. What?

  8. Wait. Wait, Rachel Walker is a Calendar Girl!?!?!? Holy shit!

    Also, real talk, Rise, I hope that wasn’t a serious idea about naming the Non-Monosexual Panel “Dirty Sluts” or “Blow Job”. That makes me super uncomfortable even considering a real thing =/

  9. Also my best camp memory was when Geneva walked into breakfast Sunday with thr VIP shirt I had lost in Klub Deer the previous night and said she was proud of me. That means a lot, Geneva.

  10. ALSO THE KICKASS HEROINES PANEL WAS SO AMAZING. Launa and I had a side panel afterward where we could have lots of Doctor Who feelings, so that was just the best part.

    I loved this day the most. Especially staying up until 5am talking about feelings and Deanne Smith being hilarious. And Breakfast Club. And hiking. It was just a really good day.

    • This is one of those situations where I don’t remember faces, but I believe there was a time at camp where I overheard two people being mean about Eleven and then I yelled at them and went away.

  11. Klub Deer looks like legit the greatest thing.

    Well, the entirety of A-Camp looks like the greatest thing. I WILL MAKE IT SOMEDAY.

    • Registration for October camp is Monday! Join us!! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life, ever.

    • It’s worth flying across the Pacific Ocean for, and it takes a lot of Ativan for me to fly across the Pacific Ocean so I don’t say that lightly.

      • At first when I scanned your comment I thought it said, “And it takes a lot of Activia for me to fly.”

        Which I thought was a pretty deep and beautifully honest confession. And hey, maybe everyone needs some digestive help when traveling, right?

        AUTOSTRADDLE & ACTIVIA. I see a perfect partnership evolving. Let’s hit up their corporate sponsorship division and get a case of it for October.

    • I spent 2 nights in Klub Deer (and part of one afternoon) in a bra/bikini top and blazer. I’m blaming Riese (but it was a good choice, so whatevs).

      Also, the TIGERBEAT picture! Oh, absinthe.

  12. It’s been almost a month and I still can’t decide whether being Carmen’s sometimes lighting director in Klub Deer, having Brandy Howard touch me through a wet tshirt, or being a member of the “Nichols” family was my favorite part of Saturday.

  13. I do have to say that it was a little bit distracting being on the bisexuality panel while the drag kings were parading past the window.

  14. The Bisexuality Panel was my everything, so major snaps for that. It turns out I have WAY A LOT of feelings on this subject.

    I think I had started the feverish writing process for my talent show piece that day so most of my day was spent in a prolonged feelings-induced panic attack w/r/t that. (Sometimes writing is like pulling off all my fingernails but I do it anyway.)

    Also I’m pretty sure this was the night when Leslie and I took off our shirts in Klub Deer.

  15. Ahhh!! I loved camp so much and there’s so much to reflect on!! I came in on the end of the “Your relationship doesn’t have to suck” panel and it was so intense, and during the Q&A section to that panel, I made a really good friend.

    Also, Devyn is amazing, not only because we have the same name, but yoga. All the yoga.

  16. Tooo many good things happened on Saturday. Whiskey tasting was wonderful, although I was late to Dapper Hour because of it. BUT THAT’S OKAY BECAUSE I WAS ENJOYING MY WHISKEY (aside from being hungover to start the session off).

  17. from now on whenever i write that something is mysterious i’m going to follow with (canadian?)

  18. omg ok, seriously, deanne smith. we laughed so hard we cried and stopped breathing and almost saw jesus.

  19. dapper hour <3

    also, most of the VIP cabin did at least three outfit changes a day, it was the best thing, like we considered the entire camp a fashion show

  20. #graceellisbisexual. the #1 trending topic in angelus oaks. the ONLY trending topic in angelus oaks.

  21. All I can say is thank you for not getting a picture of my boobs. My work would not be happy ;)

  22. Probably the excessive amount of red wine I’ve had tonight, but holy shit I love y’all, what a bunch of badasses. A Camp is a thing I need in my life.

  23. Dapper hour was one if the most beautiful sights of all time. It should be added to your bucket list.

    Also, Deanne. So funny, so pretty <3

  24. The only problem with the mentoring thing is I can’t pick just one problem to get mentorated. What I need is a team of mentors. Preferably in HAZMAT suits for their own protection.

  25. I think that Autostraddle does an awesome job of uniting queer people from many walks of life. However, the more I articles I read, the more I feel that Autostraddle focuses too exclusively on the Butch/Femme dichotomy. As a girl whose sexuality, gender expression, and gender identity are too fluid and elusive to pin a label on, I feel a bit isolated. I know that queers in general aren’t separated into these two separate spheres, but when I see things like “femme meetup,” I have to wonder what equivalent of that exists for those who are confused, uncertain, and equally uncomfortable with butch and femme, not entirely feminine or masculine (but uncomfortable with genderqueerness as well). Perhaps my perception is skewed as I am more of a casual reader and don’t see all corners of the site where I might be represented, but I get the feeling that this site might be sorting people into too few bins. I don’t know that posting a comment on this article is the proper venue, or if I’ve gotten my point across as well as I hoped, but I ultimately feel a little lost in this queer community. It is really easy to feel like I’m not actually queer or that I’m not doing it right, and I think many others feel this way too. Or probably the range of queers is an enormous sea of identities with only small sections identifying with butch or femme, but it almost doesn’t feel that way on this site and many other queer internet spaces.

    • Hiya Chloe!

      Your comment is really interesting to me because I’ve heard this criticism before from my wife, but as an androgynous weirdo myself, I’ve never really felt this way. (And I read this site, like, A LOT a lot.) I guess I see stuff that’s labelled “butch” or “femme” as descriptors as well as identities, kind of as shorthand for one end of the gender spectrum. That might be because my personal brand of androgyny is more of an “and” than a “neither”.

      I saw the femme and dapper meetups as just another activity – there were plenty of other things going on at the same time that I attended instead. (Or possibly I sat under a tree muttering to myself while scribbling in a notebook. I did that a lot on Saturday.)

      I do feel you on the sexual fluidity front – my first camp (1.0) I felt like I had to keep my bisexuality under wraps because everyone was like “YAY LESBIANS” the whole time. (And at least I have a female partner – I know people with male partners who just didn’t mention their partner at all during camp. That makes me sad.) But 3.0 was way better for me in this respect, I think because the bisexuality panel existed and that helped raise the awareness.

      I think one of the great things about AS and camp is that they are constantly evolving and trying to incorporate feedback like this. I can’t personally picture what, for example, a meetup for the people in the center would look like, but it sounds like you might! And I’d love to know more, and something tells me the staff would too! And if you don’t, that’s cool too.

      Anyway, I hope you stick around because I do think this site has something for everyone – and if nothing else, there’s also a scroll button for articles that don’t apply.

      AND! If you ever do go to camp, I think the Gender Panel would be right up your alley. I went at 1.0 and I remember touching on a lot of these issues.


      • Everything Dina just said. Gender panel was awesome. And i think that aside from the femme meet up or maybe Dapper hour (which I think represented a variety of gender presentations) there was no real gender presentation specific events at camp. The bajillion other activities at camp were super inclusive. Which is also how I feel about the site as a whole. Something for everybody. Also, this site is run by a group of diverse, non-perfect humans who are trying their best to create an amazing inclusive safe space that I have not found anywhere else.

    • We had a bunch of meetups led or suggested by campers that just wanted to meet similar-minded folk. So while we had the femme/dapper meetup, we also had everything from Canadian to tech to women in science. It’s not at all to put people in boxes, but just simply to let people connect to one another, you know? Throughout camp I spoke to a lot of people that thought about gender a lot and could not/did not agree with the butch/femme spectrum so they just didn’t go to those meetups. And hey, if you come to camp and want to find some people that look at life through a similar lens, send an email to marni or robin (or find them before meals IRL) and they’d be more than happy to make that happen.

    • Hi Chloe!
      I agree with what Dina, Torrebelle, and Kristen have said: You bring up an extremely valid concern, but I feel like AS is the one site (and through A-Camp, the one physical space) where I feel like people are embraced wherever they are on the gender expression spectrum. I don’t identify as butch or femme, but I haven’t felt excluded from the space/site, but I understand that is just my opinion. Like Kristen mentioned, some of the group meetings came up to bring folk together, and each event wasn’t the end-all-be-all of what camp/what this site is. I think AS has always reflected on not just promoting one idea of what queerness is (cause that is impossible and weird and why would we/they do that). But I hope you stick around too, and if you ever get a chance, go to A-Camp because I literally have never seen such a diverse crowd in terms of gender presentation. It literally made me tear up, and I felt really included and safe in that environment.

    • firstly, i’d like to second everything torre, sonia, kristen and dina said. secondly — i own this website and this camp and i don’t ascribe to any kind of butch or femme role, nor does my co-founder & COO, nor do the executive editor, the senior editor, the music editor, our editorial assistant or 75% of our writing team. so i don’t even think it’d be possible for us to pull off a butch/femme-focused website! we actually got a lot of feedback for the first three years of autostraddle that there wasn’t enough on this site for butch or masculine-of-center women, and so we’ve responded to those criticisms as best we can by adding more and more content.

      i think when you look at camp imagery, you’ll see a lot of dapper hour photos ’cause people took a lot of photos at dapper hour. and dress-up clothing for people of all orientations, gender identities and expressions tends to be especially gendered, and people tend to take a lot more pictures when everybody is dressed up, which would perpetuate that conception. also a lot of us dressed up for dapper hour just for funsies (with borrowed bowties, of course)… and dapper and butch aren’t interchangeable terms. if you look at the actual camp schedule though, you’ll see that out of 60 planned activities, only three could be interpreted as being gender-related (gender panel, dapper hour & drag king workshop).

      even though i can’t relate to it, i find it very inspiring the strength that many queers find in their gender expressions and identities — mey’s bit on the femme meet-up was especially touching — and when campers wanted us to make a space for that at camp, we did! as kristen said, we have meet-ups for lots of different like-minded groups of people at camp. and maybe i’m biased, but i’m on board with sonia’s assertion that she’s never seen such a diverse crowd in terms of gender presentation. (including a huge group of people like me, who just kinda wear what’s comfortable and don’t think too much about gender presentation.) it truly is inspiring. of course there’s only one way to see for yourself… :-)

    • Maybe at this point I’m just being redundant, but I have to echo what everyone else said.

      Your comment, “It is really easy to feel like I’m not actually queer or that I’m not doing it right, and I think many others feel this way too.” really spoke to me, because for a long time that’s how I felt about presenting as femme – like if I wore dresses, I wasn’t androgynous enough and people just assumed I was straight. So the femme meet-up, for me, was a chance to spend time with other people who saw my queerness and the way I represent it for exactly what it is. You also have to understand that the femme meet-up wasn’t even on the official schedule, it just popped into being sort of spontaneously as a result of a bunch of femmes wanting to get together and Mey being awesome.

      In the end I really think the lesson we all continue to learn is that Gender Is Hard, for a lot of people, regardless of their gender presentation. Gender with Sexuality Is Hard too, when it seems like there are requirements for what it means to “look” queer.

      And that’s the great thing about Autostraddle. There are so many people here who are also dealing with Gender Is Hard (like, maybe almost everyone, except apparently Riese*). And all those people would be happy to talk about gender, in a multitude of ways, whether it’s about the binary, the spectrum, avoiding labels, embracing labels, creating new labels and identities entirely, etcetcetc.

      (*that’s a joke, nobody yell at me)

  26. After each new Recamp article I want to go to A-Camp more desperately. Such a beautiful location, lots of exciting workshops and panels and so many beautifully diverse queers! Unfortunately I live very, very far away and usually have to work during the time when A-Camp takes place. Hope to make it there some day, though.

  27. Reading these recamps makes me want to go to A-Camp and hang out with all the awesome queer people. Darn living-in-Europe. Maybe some day!

  28. Gah, all of these recamps are killing me (in a good way). Klub Deer t-shirts and flashcards from the sex health panel should be a thing, or like some be illustrated, and some left blank to D.I.Y. TAKE MY MONEY :D

  29. I just love reading the A-camp recaps! I wish there was an Autostraddle camp in south america :'(

  30. Riese, I loved the zine-making activity! I got to make a tribute to Lena Dunham and learn more about zine culture, which made me wish I’d been paying more attention when I was a wee tween in the 90’s.

    Lizz, your sexual health workshop was great! I learned quite a few important bits of information, and I really appreciated the way you addressed my questions. The next time I shop for a toy, I will think back fondly to this session.

    Once again I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all the staff who worked so hard to make Camp 3.0 happen. I really appreciate your efforts and hard work! You are all amazing <3

  31. deanne smith was pretty much my favorite thing that has happened to anyone anywhere ever. also i never stick around klub deer long (i’m easily distracted) but it’s always one of my favorite parts. the first night at klub deer, when we had shitty speakers and the music was super quiet so everyone just sang REALLY LOUDLY to make up for it – that was one of my favorite moments!

    • even though there were only 14 people in Klub Deer the first night, the singalong style dance party was one of my favorite things.

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