A-Camp October 2013 Recamp #3: If You Wanna Be My Lover, You Gotta Get With My Carnival

Carolyn: High Tea is always a relaxing break from the whirlwind of everything else going on at camp, and a great opportunity to down three cups of genmaicha in thirty minutes while talking about tea like it’s going out of style (Which it’s not. Tea is forever.). On some level, High Tea is also an elaborate excuse to hang out with new people while still trying new things, and the results were gently caffeinated magic.

High tea (via Carolyn)

High tea (via Carolyn)

Ali: Duh. The Whiskey Tasting, Alex’s baby, is consistently wonderful. And this year we had a sponsor! Hudson Whiskey’s contributions were fabulous. I can’t get over that their Baby Bourbon listens to music as it ages. But you know me – I’m a rye girl. So the Manhattan Rye and the Whistlepig Straight Rye were my favorite selections of the day. I tasted after anyone else because last time I tasted with everyone else and making the cocktail at the end was really hard – the altitude, man. Blame it on the altitude. This time, we all tried an aged Manhattan using one of the Hudson Whiskey barrel aging kits.

Crystal: I dropped by the Whiskey Tasting which seemed like a super classy event. Alex and Ali were wearing waistcoats and looked so sharp and I wished that I liked whiskey, right then.

A-Camp 423

Megan, Program Support Coordinator: I gave Laneia all of my whiskey tastes because I secretly don’t like whiskey very much. I think she appreciated this.

Laneia: I did. Also Ali and Alex do the best whiskey tastings! I’ve never attended another one, but I’m sure nothing could top this, because vests. And smarts.

(photo by taylor)

(photo by taylor)

Sophia: Gosh the Carnival was fantastic, I watched people perform in the sunlight, and people smash balloons and chat and play games, it was just all so ridiculously jolly.

(photo by taylor)

(photo by taylor)

Femme Friday Meet-up

Mey: Last camp we had some kind-of unofficial Femme Meet-ups during lunch, but this time we decided to do it right. We all got dolled up after the carnival in our femmiest outfits and met inside Eagle. We had free drinks provided by A-Camp sponsor Strip and Go Bare and that just made it better. There were high femmes, blue jean femmes, lazy femmes, low femmes, and all of them were the best. Meeting all the other femmes and getting to spend time with them is absolutely one of my favorite parts of camp and it gives me so much strength and power to make it through the rest of the year. I love all my femmes and I can’t wait to see you at next camp!

strip and go bare all-natural vodka cocktail situation

strip and go bare all-natural vodka cocktail situation

Liz C: On Friday afternoon the cutest girl at camp asked me to prom. She brought me a carnival balloon with ‘pop me’ written on it. And inside was a tiny note that read: “Will you go to prom with me? Love, Brittani” This was my first time being asked to prom and I thought it was pretty much the best thing ever! At least until I saw one of my camper’s prom proposals. It was an amazing hand-glittered proposal complete with dangling pockets with reasons to say yes and reasons to say no, and a note that finished with: “I think that you’re the bomb so would you be my date to prom?” RHYMING! GLITTER! ACCESSORIES! So many cute prom proposals guys – anyone else have good stories?

(via Kiyomi)

Another cute camp prom proposal (via Kiyomi)

The Evening Begins…

Riese: Haviland and Marni were practicing the Spice Girls medley for A-Camp-A-Pa-Looza in our cabin before dinner and at some point I hopped in on the “rap” portion of Wannabe, which inspired Haviland to suggest that I hop in on the performance itself, dressed as my fashion icon Sporty Spice, to do the “I’ll tell you what I want what I really really want” bit. Apparently Robin was offered this job and turned it down, clearly it was a hot position. Haviland had a puffy vest, so that was taken care of. Lizz, because she brings a magical closet foldable into a suitcase to camp, had a hot pink sports bra. All I needed were some track pants. At dinner, I asked around to no avail until I spotted a girl in track pants at dinner. I sort of stalked around like a creeper talking to people until I hit up Sophia for the details ’cause the girl, Andrea, was her camper, and I got Sophia’s blessing to ask Andrea to take off her pants and give them to me. All the Holograms thought I was insane but I promised them it would all make sense at some point.

Chloe: After dinner my girlfriend asked me to A-Camp Prom, and it was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. After dinner on Friday we went back to my cabin to take a quick nap, but she was acting incredibly strange. Her cheeks were bright red and hot, she couldn’t look directly at me, she was super giddy, wasn’t able to nap, and insisted we leave early to get good seats for DeAnne Smith’s comedy night. Once we got to Eagle, she immediately disappeared off to the bathroom. Then, Grace made an announcement to keep the area in front of the projector clear and started playing a Powerpoint. It was covered in clipart cats and at the end of it, it said “Miss February (Chloe), will you go to Prom with me?” and out stepped my girlfriend holding an adorable bouquet of sticks, due to the lack of flowers on the mountain. I was so surprised, filled with butterflies, and couldn’t stop smiling. Oh, and of course I said yes!

Comedy Night Hosted by DeAnne Smith

featuring: Lane Moore, Bren Christolear and DeAnne Smith

yes this situation was part of comedy night

yes this situation was part of comedy night

Carly: DeAnne Smith’s Spectacular Comedy Spectacular (that’s the actual name of this event) was spectacular. Bren and Lane were also spectacular. SPECTACULAR!

Robin: What can I say about our Comedy Night? I loved it. Bren, Lane and DeAnne were all hilarious.

Liz C.: Bren had a killer stand up set. I die every time I picture her so earnestly informing Brittani that “b’s really aren’t that hilarious.”

Hansen: Deanne’s comedy show was so much fun. Comedy night might be my favorite night. I had such a blast watching Bren do comedy! She’s so quiet in person, but hilarious in our daily emails, so I was curious to see what she’d be like live and on stage. She was amazing!

Crystal: Bren and Lane killed it. Hilarious.

(photo by taylor)

(photo by taylor)

Laneia: I was ready for DeAnne Smith this time around — I had extra canned champagne and tissues, because the first time she did stand-up at A-Camp, I ended up sobbing/laughing so hard that I almost hyperventilated and totally ruined my mascara.

Riese: I have laughed that hard twice this year, the first time was Deanne’s set at May Camp. I also love watching other people laugh so hard? I guess I’m a comedy night voyeur.

Carmen: Before comedy night, I arranged a group of Brittani’s biggest fans (me, Liz, Alice, and Rachel, to name a few) and gave us all seats in a row so we could hold up a series of signs that read “B is hilarious.” To my extreme disappointment, B never did standup – but to my extreme pleasure, I laughed my ass off for the entire 60-minute thang and even got called out by DeAnne Smith for being too happy. (Later on, DeAnne and I went on to become friends in my most natural habitat: Klub Deer.)

(photo by taylor)

(photo by taylor)

Laneia: She did not disappoint, obvs. DeAnne Smith is the funniest damn spritely, quirky queer this side of the Struggle Bus.

Haviland: DeAnne’s comedy is so funny, she has a way of making the audience feel comfortable while she’s on stage, and simultaneously super uncomfortable, while telling her mortifying moments. What a rising star!

Marni: DeAnne Smith is a gifted comic and always a joy to watch. She has this amazing ability to make everyone in the room feel like her friend and can land just about any joke because she’s so self-effacing and accessible and just as much of a weirdo as a lot of us.

Stef: DeAnne Smith is a special creature. Watching her earnestly serenade Torre with a ukulele was one of the highlights of my life.

special treatment

special treatment

Hansen: Deanne was also amazing as ever (the vulva slap story is never not going to bring tears to my eyes) and then she busted out this little stunt where we had to slow-dance with someone for three minutes while listening to “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins. Three minutes is a long time to be that close to someone you might not know! Thankfully, Crystal claimed me as her dance partner, so I’m definitely not going to complain about how long the three minutes seemed.

Crystal: DeAnne making us slow dance to Phil Collins created a very special bonding moment for me and my co, Hansen, and probably many other people too. Thank you, DeAnne.

 Next: A-Camp-alooza and Hip-Hop Night at Klub Deer!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3198 articles for us.


  1. Minor correction: the song was “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins. In Your Eyes is a fantastic song, but it’s by Peter Gabriel, and I’ve never slow danced to a near-stranger for three minutes to it.

    Note to self: find a way to slow dance to a stranger to In Your Eyes.

    And the Tardy to the Party panel, OMG. This is a memorable moment in my life. The emotional honesty that came pouring out of everyone, myself included, was shocking and magical! So many tissues needed!

  2. It was so incredible in the Tardy for the Party panel was when Laneia said we could either go to lunch or keep talking and not ONE. SINGLE. PERSON. got up from their seats.

    That panel was SO FUCKING necessary. I was so moved and touched and I have never felt more connected to a gigantic group of strangers. Thank you to everyone who spoke on that panel and contributed from the audience because you gave me the words I needed to understand my own messy, complicated feelings. You are all beautiful humans and I’m so glad we were all able to show up fashionably late together <3

  3. Words cannot express what the tardy for the party panel meant to me. I was not the same person when I left that room. It was life altering. If camp had been just that panel it would have been worth the trip.
    Thank you to all that participated and especially to Laneia for remembering to bring the box of tissues!

  4. Not pictured during The Carnival: The cotton candy machine gorgeously spewing sugar dust into the rapidly returning sunlight. It was nearly as pretty as all the queers.

    I also learned first hand that Dimitri Martin’s joke about skulls and daggers with glitter on them is actually a little obscure. But my face paint still looked adorable, even though it was not the funny T-shirt for my face I tried to make it be.

    • i did not know the joke when you requested those things BUT i really fucking loved painting them on your face, for the record

  5. This I think was my favorite day of camp. Lanie and I played at the carnival and nothing bad happened and it was wonderful.
    Sarah Hansen gave me her identity, and if anyone actually believed I was her, I’m really sorry.
    AND I got to slow dance with Sarah Evan, and you should all be really jealous of that.


  6. “…like a starfish hitting an uncooked ham.”

    That line has forever been etched into my brain space. And the carnival was just, you know, everything I ever wanted out of life.

  7. Sometimes I forget that Autostraddle as a site isn’t Tumblr or Facebook because I click every picture and try to like it.

  8. guys, i just wanted to let you know that anne marie is my best friend and i’ve never been so proud of a human before. that was the best thing on earth.

  9. Every time there was a new picture, I fell in love with whomever was in it. Does that make me shallow, or is it just that A-Camp attracts such a gorgeous group of people that that reaction is totally expected?

    • the photoshop situations in this recap are really really really impressive

      like, possibly deserve space at MoMA, just saying

  10. guys! whenever i read recamps, i wish i had written more myself. sometimes, it’s too much to get into words, you know?

    for now i’ll say:

    i love that brittani was “jazzed.” i love it so much.

    may have to make that pic of stef with the vodka snowcones (which were DELISH and refreshing, by the way!) my phone background to remind me that sometimes life delivers up exactly what you didn’t know you needed.


    long live all the klubs. even club bluebird.

    • whenever i read the recamps i notice that i always start out saying I AM GONNA BE BRIEF and then i am never ever brief. maybe this means we are meant to be, deanne. maybe it means i’m just really fucking longwinded and self-involved. WHO’S TO SAY.

  11. The recamps: where I find out about all the things I was missing while doing the other things. I really need to figure out how to drink in multiple places at the same time.

    I suspect the solution involves more whiskey, but despite my best efforts, I have yet found the solution.

    More research is required.

    • Ya’ll, DJ missed out on a chunk of the carnival because she elected to let me cry on her about missing my friend, who passed right after May Camp.

      She’s real good people.

      • this made my heart swell. i am so sorry for your loss. i am also so happy that a-camp fosters such beautiful close connections.

        • Thank you Vanessa. The last night I spent with that friend was the night before May Camp. I packed my bags while she and two other close friends drank wine and made fun of my chosen camp schedule.

          Quote my friend, “Ugh, you’re going to California to learn how to SPOON?”

          I’m so glad I have ya’ll, and I’m so glad we have each other. Hold your loved ones close.

      • DJ, I’m pretty sure you already figured it out. I thought you spent a lot of the carnival with me, but you were also off being a super friend, dancing with bears and just generally having a damn whimsical time.

        It was the Whiskey snowcones we made. Whiskey snowcones make you have the ability to do ALL the things in multiple places, but you just aren’t able to remember any of it. I’m pretty sure that’s science.

        • Holy shit. I didn’t realize. Next time I’ll wear my lab coat so we can make it official.

          I think it is important to recognize prior work, so I want to give some credit for the snow on the first night. It convinced me that it needed to be combined with whiskey. I guess when the snowcones showed up, it was easy to see what needed to be done.

      • Aww, ‘Rie, you know there’s nothing else at a-camp that takes priority over a cabinmate. And not that we’re keeping a tally, but need I remind you that you were and have been there for me tons the same way?

        I was mostly thinking about that group of us who missed A-campalooza because we were at that strip cards against humanity game.

        I have no regrets. About any of it.

        But if I can figure out how to be in multiple places at once in the future, you can bet I’ll be doing it.


          I mean, reading the recamp, A-Camp-alooza sounds like it was incredible buuuuuut…absolutely no regrets missing it to join a bunch of lovely humans in getting increasingly drunk + increasingly naked (to comfort levels, for both of these things!) + increasingly hilarious.

  12. i forgot to mention in this recap that a-camp-alooza incited an official shift in my sexual orientation. my sexual orientation is now just “butch beyonce.”

    also i’m really glad carmen made “b is hilarious” signs because even if we didn’t get to use them at the intended moment we have them ready for, you know, every other moment for the rest of our lives. no one will ever again not know that b is hilarious.

  13. now that i’m finally back in the states, and have been dying to go to a-camp for the past 2 a-camps, i SWEAR i am going to go to the next a-camp! is it going to be in april or may?

  14. you guys. i’m pretty much about to cry right now. i think all of you are the funniest, coolest humans on the planet, and i love you.


  15. THIS WAS SUCH A FUN DAY AT CAMP. and not going to lie we laughed really hard with Nicole about almost getting caught by chloe while collecting sticks and honestly stick bouquets will forever be romantic now.

    BUT SERIOUSLY–I don’t even know what to say SO MUCH AMAZING STUFF HAPPENED.
    the carnival was sooo much fun and a nice break and way to socialize and all the actvities were so much fun and that fashion show! oh man. DeAnne Smith. that is all.

    I can get soooo carried away. But it was an AMAZING AMAZING day!!!

  16. I figured the best time to comment on this was after a few venti sized glasses of wine. The only thing I regret about camp was NOT doing the thing and people that I was doing some intense eye flirting with…but you bet your little queer ass I’ll break out of my shell by 5.0. I promise I won’t spend ALL of my time having panic attacks in the DSA even though I met some of the most beautiful humans by just standing outside. In the snow. Because when you’re drunk and with a bunch of amazing queers not even the snow can stop the socialization that only happens in nature…

  17. “at first it was super-disorienting to be surrounded by kinky identical twins, but it turns out I’m really into that.”

    somer my love for you grows deeper every day

  18. Man, it’s stuff like this that’s gonna have some queer attend next years awesomest camp! Spice girls medley. Man, IDK if i ever love the spice girls more.

  19. This was the day our cabin got so into bonding time that we accidentally missed part of an event just to spend time together. It was also the day I fell in love with 15 humans simultaneously. Stormtroopers for life <3

  20. Look at Kirsten being super adorable on the swings!

    Also, appreciative head nod to all the Amazons up there in their short shorts.

  21. This was an excellent day of camp. I was super impressed by the Carnival! Seriously, there were many ways it could have been half-assed, which would be totally justified because it was being set up on top of a mountain, but I really appreciated all of the little thoughtful details (gorgeous decorations, classy signs for each activity, etc.) that went into it. Definitely not half-assed!

    Also, the talent show was great – I was feeling rather oversocialized by the time the carnival rolled around (#introvertproblems) so I didn’t participate in many of the activities/talk to many people, but I still felt very much included in the goings-on when I was able to just stand there and watch all of the super talented acts take place.

    Finally, a massive thank you to Kate for coming back to our cabin to retrieve me when the Hannah Hart kissing booth was happening!!! I would have been crushed to have missed it. Hannah was seriously SO SWEET and she made a video for my [local] girlfriend so my girlfriend wouldn’t be too jealous of me meeting Hannah :)

  22. the recamps really make me miss camp so much..
    but also i’m hanging out with some of my favourite campers this weekend so that does make it a lot better

  23. I want to know more about these three ‘sailor’ people wearing the same thing! Was it planned? Was it homosexual wardrobe coincidence? Should you have all called each other first? (Or rather, should you not have and it happened perfectly?)

  24. 1. Im pretty sure that was easily the cutest queer-prom-date proposal that ever did or will happen. EVER.

    2. My face turns red just thinking about Deanne singing to me.

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