A-Camp Recap Day #3: We’ve Got Talent

Welcome to the third of four fantastic recaps of our entire experience at the First-Ever A-Camp, which took place two hours outside of Los Angeles at Alpine Meadows in Angelus Oaks, California, from April 26th-29th.

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The idea was to take the spirit of the website into three glorious dimensions while simultaneously creating an affordable option for queer ladies for whom other lesbian events (such as Dinah Shore) aren’t a good fit. So, we rented out a summer camp in its off-season and enjoyed a transformative weekend of fun, friendship, panels, workshops, classes, sports, entertainment, events and so forth.

These epically long monster-posts will do their best to explain and extrapolate upon the camp experience, from shitstorms to emotional revelations to glory/triumph.

Two days ago, we got stranded on the side of the road, yesterday we detailed the first full day of camp, and today we will dive in, muffs first, to the last full day of camp — Saturday April 28th, 2012.

 

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

I. Rising, Shining

early morning bed repair

Carmen: I woke up with a huge headache that required immediate caffeination and a significant distance between me and the gravy in order to heal. I walked over to Joanna and to be honest, she probably showed me pictures of her girlfriend while I showed her pictures of my dog. We did this a lot.

Laneia: Lots of the crew was a little hungover Saturday morning, so breakfast was quiet. I spent some time trying to make Megan feel better about her fucked up SUV, while she spent some time trying to make me feel better about things like my dumb hair and how to talk about ‘zines without sounding like a total jackass.

Alex, Brittani and Jess S at breakfast (photo by Jess R)

Crystal: I tried biscuits and gravy for the first time and, given that I was a tiny bit hung over, that was a big mistake. Stef and I spent the next hour or so designing our music trivia props, which was serious business.

Riese:  The thing about Saturday is that it’s just one little day before Sunday — a.k.a, the day for which I have lost three planned-upon Roadrunner Shuttles due to RR’s overwhelming suckage (as detailed in the Day One recap) as well as full usage of one of the vans (tire blowout) and Megan’s SUV (power steering blowout). I hadn’t had a minute to fashion a new plan for this, so for me, Saturday’s first post-breakfast item of the day was to assemble the team in an outdoor area and select tributes to drive vans the next day — most crucially, those 6:30AM and 7:30 AM shuttles we’d had to cancel due to aforementioned suckage/price-hike.

may the odds be ever in your favor (photo by jess r)

Riese: The nice thing about the tribute system (A tip of the hat to you, The Capitol!) is that by offering everybody the chance to volunteer as tributes in place of the selected names, whether or not somebody has to drive is not really my fault, it’s everybody else’s fault for not volunteering in their stead. However, Bren volunteered, because she’s nicer and better than everybody else. I’m serious, she is.

Laneia: Somehow Saturday’s schedule had all of my favorite and most number one feelings! So I was really fucking amped for everything.

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Saturday Block A:

Crossfit w/Joanna

Yoga w/Lizz

Zine-Making w/Laneia & Rachel & Riese

Read a F*cking Book Club w/Lizz, Carolyn & Jamie

Photography Crit #2/Shootout w/Robin & Sara Medd

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Saturday Block B:

Queer Women of Color Panel w/Carmen, Brittani, Gabby, Katrina & Whitney

Friendship Bracelets w/Laura

Hiking w/Sarah Croce

Circus Acrobatics for Everyone w/Tara

Soccer w/Crystal

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II. Let The Games/Crafts/Panels Begin

Sara M: Joanna led us in an example of a Crossfit exercise which sounded easy, but when executed properly can really kick your ass. I decided to make everyone feel better about their physical fitness by demonstrating the lowest level of commitment to the activity. I blamed it on the altitude, but the truth is that someone has to finish last, right? Joanna is an encouraging trainer though, and didn’t make me feel bad about my fitness inabilities.

joanna is crossfit

Robin: This time at the Photography Crit Workshop, instead of shooting, we talked and I answered questions. It was great to be able to review a few portfolios while I was at camp as well. I would have loved someone in my position now to look at my work a decade ago, so I was happy to offer whatever advice/tips that came to me.

Laneia: For ‘zine-making, we decided to bring all of our supplies, pass out all the ‘zines we had, talk about ‘zines, and ask everybody to make their own ‘zine page, which we’ll put together into a special A-Camp ‘zine.

photos by ashley reed and haviland stillwell

Rachel: I have a lot of feelings about zines, but not as many articulate thoughts? So we brought a bunch of ‘zine materials and just sort of let everyone go for it, and they did such an awesome job! We have so many beautiful individual ‘zine pages from campers, and someday you’re going to get to see all of them in a really beautiful zine and it will be the best thing.

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“I was kind of iffy about going to Zine Making, but my cabin talked me into it and I ended up LOVING it.”

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Riese: Basically, what I did was scoop my heart out of my chest, cut it open, empty it onto the floor and told the squirrels to make it into art! Like all my shit: my stickers, assorted pictures ripped out of magazines, postcards and photos, stacks of old magazines, even personal shit I’d pulled out and pieces of ‘zines from the mid-’90s. It was cathartic in a weird way, but also these humans are the only ones I would’ve trusted to do justice to my crafty collection. I would’ve made another page too but unfortunately I was, you know, making that stupid driving schedule.

Ashley makes a 'zine page (photo by Haviland Stillwell)

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“My favorite activity was probably Zine Making. Collages are cathartic.”

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Laneia: I even remembered to bring my copy of Riese’s zine from 2008, Auto-Insomnia, which is full of insomnia poetry that she wrote while she was on ambien, I believe. It has a shiny gold cover and I was really excited to share it with everyone.

Riese: Also — SO — Laneia, Rachel and I made a ‘zine in the winter. Like we each made pages of it and were gonna put it together and sell it but you know, duh, it’s us, so even though we finished our pages in Janaury, the completed pages didn’t land in Rachel’s arms ’til a month or so ago. We decided we MUST have it for camp, so Rachel — an innocent to the oppressive costs of full-color printing at Kinkos — printed a billion on her way into camp. We passed that around, but you should definitely buy it when Alex puts it in the store. It’s a collector’s item AND Laneia wrote something in it that made me cry real tears, but also most of it is just funny behind-the -scenes stuff. It’s called “Behind-the-Scenes ‘Zine.”

Carolyn: I felt pretty nervous about Read a F*cking Book Club after actually reading My Miserable Lonely Lesbian Pregnancy, because it was terrible and I worried that no one would really want to talk about it. Instead, everyone wanted to insult it, so things worked out well! And then everyone talked about their favourite authors and books.

(photo by jamie hagen)

Lizz: We seriously digressed on to our love for The Baby-Sitters Club books.

Carolyn: Which, confession, I have not read.

Lizz: It was really relieving to know that I wasn’t the only person who grew up with a crush on Stacy McGill.

Jamie: It really made my day when Lizz started geeking out about Harry Potter and realized she was wearing the actual cardigan (“They only make 100 a year!”) she got at The World of Hogwarts.

Crystal: The last time I played Soccer was in the nineties and so I couldn’t remember any of the rules. Thankfully we were at queer camp and so a handful of athletic ladies showed up in sportswear and took over my leadership duties. I can’t remember which team won; honestly we were all winners for signing up to play sport at a lung-crushing 7,500 ft altitude. Julia was definitely a winner for playing in denim.

photo by haviland or ashely

Carmen: I reviewed my notes for the Women of Color panel while applying SPF 45 at the Alternative Lifestlye Barbershop. I wrote notes signed, alternatively, Lil C and Drake to my campers and also received a message in my own pigeonhole that read “Hey Girl, You’re really good at making other people cry.” Also, I received a drawing of myself as a stick figure with a huge afro.

katrina cuts fitzi's hair at the alternative lifestyle barbershop

Brittani: The Queer Women of Color Panel was a challenge for me, because I would rather make fun of things that bother me than actually talk about them like an adult. I’m pretty sure I only signed up because if I was sitting in the audience during the panel, it would have looked really weird.

Carmen: I legitimately told my life story at this panel, all while passing Brittani water because we were kind of sure she was about to die. The quote that sticks out to me is “Where are you from from?”

Katrina: This was the first time I participated in a long, deliberate and structured conversation about race. I don’t know, this was incredible.

Whitney: I felt so proud to be on this panel alongside four other amazing, intelligent, articulate women of color.

Gabby: I said all of the things I’ve always wanted to say about race in this panel. Like that it’s not my job to help people through their white-guilt and that intersectionality is like the best brain sex ever.

Carmen: I can still envision the image of a white person crying on Gaby’s shoulders.

Whitney: I talked a bit about my family and how they have rejected me because I am gay. Afterward, I talked to some campers who were going through the same thing — listening to their stories broke my heart and then put it back together again and then broke my heart again.

Gabby: The strength in Whitney Pow moved me from the moment she started to speak. That woman is a powerhouse and I’m honored to know her.

L to R: Katrina, Gabby, Whitney, Brittan, Carmen (photo by taylor)

Katrina: After Whitney spoke, I honestly thought I was just going to cry on stage for two hours, but I didn’t!

Riese: I didn’t know until Whitney said so in this panel that AS is the first opportunity she’s had to write actively about race. She’s been so good at it since the beginning and tackled so many important issues for us. I feel like I almost cried a few times, I believe Gabby said something that made me almost cry, too.

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“The Queer Women of Color Panel was my favorite, it brought up some feelings and beliefs I hadn’t had the words to express before.”

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Brittani: Everyone was really great and nice afterward, and I think people laughed a few times during the panel, which is all I really want in the world. If anyone feels like they learned something or are more ok with being a queer person of color in this crazy crazy world, that’s just an added bonus.

Katrina: I loved being a part of it. It was completely empowering and validating AND informative. Just like, fucking great.

Gabby: There’s a lot I didn’t say because I probably would have cried in front of everyone. Instead, I cried in the woods and was thankful to be alive and share my words with everyone.

Whitney: This is why I came to A-Camp — to share, to listen, and to be understood in a safe space. This experience will matter the most to me always.

whitney (photo by gabby)

Jess S.: A total of one person (hi, Lauren!) showed up to me and Lizz’s Ultimate Frisbee Activity, so the three of us sat on the bleachers and shared our life stories for an hour.

Lizz: In a lot of ways, I think those sort of moments were even more rewarding than the activities. Just being with other women talking about our shared and different experiences. Sometimes I don’t remember how lucky I’ve been until I’m telling someone else about it.

Sara M: I had the opportunity to meet individually with several of our lovely lady campers in styling consultations throughout Saturday. This ended up being my favorite part of camp because I got to sit down and get to know some of you better than I would have been able to otherwise. And I think there will be a few more stylish lesbians in the world as a result!

Taylor & Beth Kelly (photo by taylor)

Brandy: Julie and I slept through breakfast (again). We had been woken up at 4am by a loud, scary bear that was down with the swirl [Editor’s Note: a.k.a sexual actvity], so we were kind of out of it when we got into the lunch room. It was business as usual as we collected our iceberg and tuna, but when we sat down- I suddenly felt like Snookie after her first night in the Shore house. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d done wrong, and I wasn’t sure who exactly was mad about it- but I definitely wasn’t as popular as I was the night before. I decided to do what Snookie would do- drink.

eating a meal (photo by taylor)


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Next: More thrilling, death-defying activities!

III. Saturday Afternoon Delight

Brandy: What went around, definitely came around- in the form of the Ropes Course instructor and her inappropriate lesbian puns and overtly sexual instructions. Anyone who was offended by our game would have filed a lawsuit against this woman. She made 552 ‘hole’ references that culminated in specifics on how to climb a pole “since none of you have done that in a while.” This was the clear moment in time when Julie and I bonded with Marni. For life.

julie & brandy on the climbing wall

Marni: Everybody kicked ass at the ropes course. The elements honestly looked really scary and everybody faced their fears of heights and falling; it was really impressive. Very special as well were Julie and Brandy deciding to join in, and Julie changing into her teensy black gym shorts. Little known fact: Julie Goldman has incredible muscle definition in her legs. They both did the climbing wall and were very, very brave. I got a sunburn.

Brandy: After the Ropes Course, Julie and Marni smoked while I stood there, watching. (I don’t smoke, but I think people who do are sexy and cool). We were processing the psychological abuse of the ropes course when Crystal walked up. She told us that she’s changing her cigarettes from Dunhills to Camel Blues. Later we saw Megan (Laneia’s girlfriend) carrying a bucket of water somewhere. Julie told her that she hated God and Megan said that Laneia does too. I want to take this opportunity to say for the record- Megan and Crystal were the two nicest people I met at camp. They are both so peaceful and unobtrusive. Their mere presence in a room is calming.

Brittani, Megan & Emily Choo (photo by Ashley or Haviland)

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Saturday Block C:

Queer Women in Movies and Television Panel w/Haviland, Sarah Croce, Ashley Reed, Lauren, Carly & Brittani

DIY Body Care w/Laura & Laneia

T-Shirts Cutting and Stenciling w/Carmen & Rachel & Sara

Picking Up Girls w/Gabby & Katrina

Ultimate Frisbee w/Lizz & Jess S

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Saturday Block D:

Flag Football w/Alex & Brittani

Music Trivia w/Stef & Crystal

High Tea w/Laneia & Rachel

Sex Panel w/Riese, Lizz, Carmen, Jamie, Sara & Daniela

Alternative Lifestyle Barbershop w/Katrina

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Haviland: The overall theme of the Queer Women in Hollywood Panel was a point everyone on the panel talked about — how the entertainment industry is really intertwined, and the more you help others with their projects, the more they’ll help you with yours. Basically, what’s more for you is more for me, and so on.

Brittani: Participating in this panel made me realize how lucky I am to be part of the industry. Not just because women in cargo shorts are aplenty, but because of how little of a deal being gay has been thus far. Of course getting our stories onto television and movie screens is a unique and challenging issue, but being able to discuss my work experiences and not have horror stories about presentation or attire or homophobic bosses is obviously something that many of you aren’t able to do.

Carly: After we talked about ourselves for a bit – our favorite topic, obvs – we took questions from the audience, all of which were really insightful and well thought out. Topics discussed included portrayal of queer women in the media, differences between tv in Canada and the US and how to get your own production off the ground.

Haviland: We also thanked everyone there for watching “Unicorn Plan-It” and talked about how it’s a community effort to build up projects people want to see on their teevee. Rather than being annoyed about the lack of representation of queer women on tv and in films, we discussed how it’s really easy now to support smaller media, and that being proactive about what and who you want to see by following people on social media, donating to their projects, volunteering your time, and most of all, spreading the word, really helps.

ashley, haviland, croce & carly at the media panel

Brittani: When you’re sitting on a panel of varying positions within the industry and all of us are speaking about what a non-issue our sexualities have been, it makes you bummed that more entertainers aren’t coming out.

haviland stillwell (photo by vanessa)

Laneia: The DIY Body Care Workshop was so chill, I can’t even. I need a new word for chill.

Laura: I think we were all physically and emotionally exhausted and ready to do something quiet.

Laneia: Laura and I had originally wanted to do SO MANY THINGS — tooth powder, lip balm, caramel wax, infinity etc — but the logistics seemed insurmountable, so we went with Laura’s recipe for olive oil and sugar face scrub in etched glass jars. This ended up being just the best idea ever.

Laura: I loved sitting in a cabin in the woods, waiting for etching cream to work its magic on the jars we were making. Cary made a jar with a fish on it and Lizzie tried to downplay how hilarious her upcoming comedy debut at the talent show was going to be. We all talked about being hippies and also sat there and took deep breaths for an hour. Or at least I did.

Laneia: I think we all left that workshop wanting to etch all the things.

Rachel: If you’ve never been accidentally slightly high off of spray paint fumes on top of a mountain, then you really ought to have been here for the T-Shirts Cutting and Stenciling.

photo by Jess R

Carmen: I was on a mission to spread the motto, which worked out since Rachel had prepared a YOLO stencil for everyone at this workshop. My shirt was white and Brittani had left me a black one to customize for her. Mine took about five minutes to spray paint and cut, and hers took the other hour and twenty minutes, mostly because every color paint would just disappear into her shirt. I became convinced that Brittani will live more than once.

Rachel: Aside from covering my hands in black paint and being irrationally afraid that the TSA would think I had black mold or something, this was perfect and wonderful. Someone painted a shirt with a raised fist and ACAMP 2012 and it almost made me cry.

Gabby: Never in my life did I think my chubby, glasses-wearing, book-reading ass would ever run a workshop on “Picking Up Chicks,” aka How to Mack Without Macking. Lo, the magic of A-Camp and coming into yourself.


Gabby: I didn’t want it to be some kinda sleazy pick up thing and it totally wasn’t. We talked about chicks, how to be sweet, a little suave and totally yourself around them.

Katrina: Running this workshop with Gabby was stupid fun.

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“Gabby and Katrina should probs sell [the “Picking Up Chicks” workshop] as a book/movie/life-improvement guide.”

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Gabby: Katrina and I both had different areas of ‘expertise’ to share. Also, making campers (I see you Shilpa and Tough Guy Beth) perform skits/roleplaying the Do’s and Don’t’s of Macking, was effing priceless.

Katrina: Everyone was great at roleplaying, and I hope it led to more sexy roleplaying later that night and forever in your lives.

(photo by robin roemer)

(photo by robin roemer)

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“Gaby & Katrina have an awesome dynamic together and tackled the subject with refreshing honestly. I felt like I learned a lot about how to pick up girls without realizing how much I was learning.”

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Gabby: According to the Unofficial A-Camp facebook page, some of you got laid off our tips. #clapclapbravo.

paper0flowers (photo by gabby)

Brittani: Vega and I ignored the implications of the hanky code and beset on a journey of Flag Footballdom on the soccer patch of dirt. I believe it was probably the most adorable game of bandanna flag football that has ever been played.

photo by ashley reed

Alex: The girls who wanted to play, for the most part, had not played football before. I loved that they just wanted to run around and learn something new.

Brittani: It was a really cool experience and was another moment when I realized how great camp was. It takes a lot to jump into sporting activities with people you’ve just met, and doing so when you’ve never played a game before is even more courageous.

Stef: It was impossible to know what everyone’s musical knowledge-base would include, so Crystal and I tried really hard to come up with questions for Music Trivia that would span a wide range of topics, including One-Hit Wonders of the 1990s, Lady Gaga, Tegan and Sara and Ex-Disney Child Stars.

stef prepares for music trivia (photo by jess r)

Crystal: There were two teams, plus Tim-Tams and music clips and novelty buzzers. It’s possible that only Stef and I thought that some of our music categories and questions were hilarious.

Stef: Some of our questions turned out to be a LOT harder than we thought they were, but at least we had a great time, and Crystal graciously rewarded correct answers with chocolate.

Crystal: Surprisingly, no one knew who performed “Sugar High” with Renee Zellweger in Empire Records.

Laneia: This “High Tea” “workshop” came about when I emailed Rachel to say “I wish there was something we could do at camp about tea.” And then we decided there was, actually.

high tea (photo by Mary B)

Rachel: This was maybe the thing I was looking forward to most in terms of camp, besides, you know, all of camp. Laneia and I spent a really inordinate amount of time planning this by emailing constantly about what teas we were drinking, what teas we already had, and what tea we wanted to try.

Laneia: Around 25 campers showed up, which may seem like ‘not a lot of people’ but is realistically quite a few. We crowded around two picnic tables covered in thrift store mugs and a variety of tea that almost made me weep. There was smoky earl grey, herbal with flowers, herbal with fruit, genmaicha, rooibos with fruits and flowers, matcha, toasted green tea with vanilla that tasted like roasted marshmallows, tea that blossomed when you steeped it — it was all AMAZING.

Megan and Marni ran back and forth from lodges to our tea area with heated water and helpful faces.

mary & alice at high tea (photo by mary b)

Rachel: The water heating system was sort of post-apocalyptic. We drank so many teas!

Laneia: A camper with some serious tea know-how, Rhea, even translated the text on the boxes of Japanese tea that I’d brought. Sidenote: the Japanese teas came to me several months ago from an Autostraddle reader! Isn’t the world outlandishly fascinating?

High Tea was another great example of how awesome it was to just hang out with everyone. I think it took me until Saturday afternoon to finally start to feel comfortable in front of people — like I could look at their faces and just calm the fuck down.

Carolyn: I hear the sex panel was pretty fantastic, but I have no regrets about skipping it and drinking ~4 cups of all types of tea. Rachel and Laneia are basically my heroes.

Carly: Lauren and I spent Block D interviewing random campers who were relaxing at high tea. Hearing from campers why they were there, why they loved Autostraddle and how much fun they were having was a really moving and inspiring part of camp for me.

Riese: I’d wanted to do a bunch of one-on-one writing tutorials with campers but hadn’t made any room in the schedule for this to happen. I was determined to get at least ONE done before leaving, and so that’s what I did during Block C — Vanessa came over to my Hollywood Suite (a.k.a our cabin) and we talked about her story and it was great. Like it’s been said before, camp’s best moments are often when you just get to talk to somebody face-to-face, alone, and hear their story.

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IV. Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Brandy and Julie are excited for the sex panel (photo by taylor)

Riese: I’d volunteered to moderate the Sex Panel, I’m not sure why — I feel like every time I’m asked to be on a panel anywhere, it’s always somehow related to sex, so it seemed weird for me not to be on the sex panel at my own Camp. My qualifications were um, sleeping with a lot of people, extensive research/background/reading on human sexuality, sociology of sex, pro-sex feminism, sexuality and the internet, sex in media, sex work, etc., as well as two years of writing NSFW Sundays (somebody else does them now, although I occasionally pitch in or do one when she can’t), a previous sex-related job and my storied history as an erotica writer. Because Queerie Bradshaw wasn’t able to come to camp and therefore unable to come to this panel, I’d invited camper Daniela to join because she has lots of ‘expertise’ and could talk about sex toys and being poly. I don’t know anything about being poly or any sex toys besides strap-ons, really.

We introduced ourselves and gave our backgrounds and then turned it over immediately to a Q&A, for which Intern Grace collected the anonymous questions from the audience.

Sara M.: So there was this one time, at A-Camp, when I decided to share my knowledge and experiences about sex with a really big room full of women. There may or may not have been hand and finger demonstrations on my behalf in order to accurately answer the questions posed by the audience. I mean, sometimes its just easier to demonstrate than try to describe it with words.

lizz explaining how she likes to get done

Carmen: I shuffled around in my chair and asked Grace to get me water. Multiple times. Riese informed me it was too late to leave the stage after the fourth question. I did my best despite having lost all traces of my voice, which magically returned ten minutes after this panel was complete.

Riese: Had I been “pre-partying” for the sex panel since late afternoon? Yes.

Carmen: Lizz likes being [redacted] a lot, I think, and I learned it is about one zillion times easier to write about sex than talk about it out loud. Afterward I smoked a cigarette and took two shots.

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“Everyone was totally game for sharing lots of personal experience and opinions and it felt really genuine.”

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Riese: Lizz and I both admitted that it is about one zillion times easier to talk about sex to the entire room than to our actual partners. It had so much fun on this panel!

Lizz: Ever since the sex panel I’ve been waking up at night paranoid that my mom will see a meme of me saying [redacted].

Carmen, Jamie & Riese (photo by kelsey d)

Riese: The moral of the story was: PULL MY HAIR.

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“I loved how open, honest and freely you all discussed the topics and answered the questions. Sex is such a taboo subject for so many people, and it’s been my experience that many have questions but are embarrassed to ask for fear of looking foolish, or even stupid. Telling these women it’s ok to talk about it, ask questions, and generally discuss with their partner(s) is so necessary. I sat in the back and frankly, gauged reactions of the audience. Watching them shift uncomfortably at first, but by the end, sit up and listen attentively…It was so empowering for so many. You could actually see that change take place.”

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Jamie: I have a nervous nature. Sitting in as an expert on consent on a sex panel in front over 100 lesbians who have been invited to ask whatever questions they may choose resulted in thoughts of awkward/horrible Real L Word scenes in which I’m cast as the lead. But A-Camp is NOT the Real L Word: all the questions were awesome, I got to sit next to Riese and I even shared with the class my taste for being tied up and don’t regret a thing! I’m also proud to continue serving as the lesbian monogamist on any future panels. I do however feel I should write a follow-up post on dental dams.

Jess S.: This was incredibly epic. Sara Medd taught us how to scissor most effectively, and Lizz got some new fans. If an audience member didn’t own a strap-on before the sex panel, she has probably since purchased one or two.

Riese:  Oh, I wanna give a shout-out to Intern Grace’s 3-D interning abilities — it was just like I’d always fantasized about, like having an assistant with a clipboard and a cute haircut there to schedule things for me, listen to me talk about my feelings, organize the things, bring me beverages and other random strange duties. She was always like “do you need anything?” It was like The Devil Wears Prada except I was wearing American Eagle and not a bitch. Also I only made her carry things for me like three times.

Intern Grace & Kate (photo by kate h)

Riese: So, after the panel we went down to the fire pit for group photos! (We’ll post them in the fourth recap!)

marni & robin prepare for group photo time

Carly: It was THE BEST THING EVER, seeing everyone in one place, all smiles and laughter and alternative lifestyle haircuts and hoodies. Then we took a staff photo and individual cabin photos – so cute! – and finally Riese tracked down all of the OG Autostraddle Staffers for a special “look how far we’ve come” photo. There was a lot of hugging and shrieking (from me, I don’t know what the others were doing).

(photo by taylor)


Riese:
 Afterwards I did my interview with Carly for the documentary. Hopefully my hair didn’t look too stupid or anything.

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Next: The Talent Show and the dance!

 

 V. America’s Best Talent

in the wings at the talent show (photo by taylor)

Riese: I couldn’t believe that the last night was the last night, but then it was the last night and it was the last night. To the best of my recollection, I had been drinking continually since 4pm and, per ushe, I’d only been able to consume 2-3 bites of dinner before being hauled off for somebody’s pressing needs/desires.

Julie & Brandy hosted The Talent Show and we’d had people sign up to perform. It was mostly campers — and I don’t even know where to begin reviewing that amazingness and talent — but also Bren did stand-up, Gabby read a poem, and Alex, Katrina, Stef & Laura did a musical performance. There were poems, songs, raps, hula-hooping, and “skits.”

Carly: In all honesty, I was a little concerned about the talent show being boring or too long, but once it got underway I was BLOWN AWAY by the level of talent and enthusiasm I was seeing.

Stef: We didn’t really piece together what exactly we’d be doing until the day of, but for the amount of time we spent putting our talent show act together, I was pretty proud… Everybody in the talent show was just amazing.

Riese: So , backstory of Stef/Katrina/Alex/Laura’s “Make Love in this Club”/”Bad Romance” mashup —  in November 2009, Laura visited Katrina at school and they did an acoustic cover of “Make Love In This Club” and put it on Facebook. I remember watching it and thinking “I love my children so much!” Also in late November 2009, Alex decided to learn the “Bad Romance” dance, and went and filmed it at Stef’s house. I remember when she came home (well, to my apartment) afterwards with the video, I was there with Julia (Miss February) and Alex showed us the video and was like, “do you think it’s good? Should we put it on autostraddle?” and Julia and I were like HOLD THE PHONE THIS IS THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO YOUTUBE. We posted it immediately. So, in addition to being awesome in its own right, their Talent Show Mashup brought it all full circle — how we’ve all grown and changed! — together.

Katrina: Covering Usher/Lady Gaga songs on ukuleles: something you would have predicted happening at camp that totally happened at camp. I discovered something that I never knew about myself before, which is that it had been my dream to rap in front of hundreds of women. Who knew. Feel free to view the inspirations for this performance through this video of 19- and 20-year-old drunk me and Laura covering Usher for the first time and of course, this Stef and Alex Autostraddle classic.

Stef: I do not remember anything about our actual performance, only that I was afraid to look at Alex lest I burst out laughing or forget the words.

Lizz: When Alex, Stef, Laura and Katrina performed “Love in this Club” I really felt like, for the first time in my life, everything was going to be okay.

Laura: I think the main takeaway from the talent show was a) autostraddlers are really REALLY talented and b) you have not lived until you’ve seen Alex Vega dance.

Alex: This talent show was one of the best things that have ever happened to me. To think we were actually worried about it – that not many people would want to jump on stage in front of 160 other lesbians. Not only did many sign up, but all rocked it and turned a regular talent show into a series of perfect little moments that I’ll seriously remember forever and I don’t care how cheesy that sounds. My heart exploded in my chest that night and I may or may not have teared up a little (in a good/overwhelmed way) when the hula-hooping happened.

Brittani: This was the best talent show I’ve ever been to. In addition to people being on stage with feelings, everyone was extremely entertaining and cute. I gave several standing ovations. Plus, Beth rapped.

Marni: I was sitting to the side of the stage and out of the corner of my eye I saw Beth, the site director, standing just outside the entrance to the room with a piece of paper in her hand, peering in. I went over to her and she said, “I wrote something, do you think there might be time for me to perform it in your talent show?” And I smiled and said, “You’re on next.”

Carmen: Beth rapped for us about hoping we had a lot of sex and I offered to sign her to Lil Carmen’s label, Pretty Money Records. We’re very exclusive.

Marni: She’d written the most adorable rap about our group and how great the weekend had been. She’d been amazingly sweet and accommodating to us the whole time we were there, but I didn’t really appreciate how lucky we were to have found her and such an open-minded, safe place for A-Camp until that moment.


Emily: The only thing gayer than a bunch of lesbians in the woods playing guitar around a campfire is a bunch of lesbians in the woods singing “Call It Off” by Tegan and Sara. I mean really, it was almost more gay than gay sex.

Carmen: I thought about texts I should not send multiple times during this process, namely during “First Day of My Life” and “Call It Off,” also known as “The Moment At Camp In Which Katrina And I Remembered Instinctively How To Harmonize Tegan and Sara Together.”

Little Rascals sing Tegan & Sara (photo by ashley p)

Riese: You know when you find someone and make them join your team because they are really awesome and then you get to witness everybody else finding out how awesome that person is? That’s what happened at camp with Gabby over and over. She’s a kickass poet, and what she read at camp was so so so amazing that afterwards I literally got up from side-stage, ran to the back, gave her a hug, told her I loved her, and then ran back to my seat.

happiest moments (photo by taylor)

Robin: Words really can’t express how unifying the talent show felt. It was nice to sit down beside Marni, Riese and Carly and really listen and watch everything that was happening in front of me. I was blown away by the sentiment and love from that stage.

Crystal: When some of the Troubletones got up on stage and performed this Autostraddled version of “Don’t Stop Believing”, my heart burst. It was that one A-Camp moment that I’m sure I’ll remember decades from now.

Laneia: The talent show was seriously amazing. I kept wanting to cry/fall apart at the support from the audience! If a person forgot the words to a song or dropped something they weren’t supposed to drop, the audience was just so sweet and full of love. It was like everyone just wanted everyone else to feel good about what they were doing.

Jess S.: Everyone did such a fantastic job, but my favorite part (besides Brandy Howard announcing that she likes my ass and vagina during the staff introductions) was when my cabin (Forever 21, YAY!) did a hilarious skit where they did impressions of the staff. They seriously nailed it. I felt like a proud mom.

Riese: Oh my G-d, the impressions of the staff skit — firstly, they totally made it impossible for me to talk when I went on stage later because they nailed my stage presence so acutely (involves, apparently, me covering my face and bowing a lot) that I totally had to come up with a new way to stand. P.J made a great Julie Goldman.

Emily: After the talent show Brandy Howard introduced me as the love of her life which I will never forget, and then Riese made everyone come and it was super great.

Riese: I just loved everybody so much the whole night long. I also kept drinking out of Marni’s flask. The only thing that could’ve made this night more perfect would’ve been Tess and Tinkerbell being there!

Carmen: I was wearing my YOLO shirt and everyone kept accidentally looking at my boobs. Sometime between this and the dance, I found out Brandy Howard knew my name.

Laneia: Forget it, I was too overwhelmed to even process the end of the talent show. I just loved everyone in the room so much that I almost died, basically. And Brandy Howard said my girlfriend was hot!

Brittani: Being on stage with Team Autostraddle pretty much made my life and I can’t wait until I can stand on stage in a room full of shiny-faced queerios with a bunch I’m proud to call my co-workers again.

Riese: Although I didn’t realize this at the time, I was WASTED by the time I got on stage — you guys, altitude is a thing! — and I’ve got no clue what I said besides that I told everybody that they had to COME next time, and I couldn’t really get over how funny that was. Like the double meaning of COME. Uh-huh. HILARIOUS!

I kept thinking of that Stephen Dunn line: “I love the number of people / you can love at the same time.”

“The Talent Show was the funnest time I had at camp. In fact, it was one of the funnest nights I’ve ever had in my whole life. I feel sorry for people who will never know the feeling of being in that room.”

– Brandy Howard

+

+

VI. Dance Dance Revolution

Bren: During dance decoration time I finally learned how to properly tie a balloon. The secret: two fingers. That’s also the secret to lots of things at A-Camp.

dance prep (photo by taylor)

Carly: Spoiler alert: I haven’t DJed in like, years, and had entirely forgotten how to do so. So the dance was a BIT delayed and the first 6 or so songs were plagued with some technical difficulties (at one point I thought I had entirely blown out Alpine Meadows’ speakers but it turned out I just had a crappy cable), but hopefully not too many people noticed.

Carmen: I rapped multiple songs throughout this dance on stage, including but not limited to “Headlines” and “6’7′.” DJ Carlytron was deeply and extremely sympathetic to my need to hear more Drake. Brittani and I rapped together for a one-time-only-until-next-time moment in future lesbian rap history. Joanna showed me pictures of her girlfriend and I showed her pictures of my dog about five minutes before she terrorized Wolf Lodge and forced the people within it to “have fun and dance.” Jamie and I got drunk and talked about getting hired because we are very cool people. When we were done there was a strange sleepiness in the cabin.

Brittani: I pre-gamed a dance with ice cream. I rapped Drake with Carmen. I danced with pretty girls. I believe this goes in the books under “perfect night.”

+

“The dance was a great release and we all had fun getting dressed up and dancing the night away.”

+

 

Laneia: The dance was so cute! I wore my party dress and watched girls dance and be happy. It was a safe space, for sure. A sexy safe space.

Carly: Realizing that I was DJing a dance for a lodge full of lesbians in the mountains, laptop perched on a lectern while I drank Jameson from a flask (I never learn) and ate ice cream – all while wearing a captain’s hat – made me really happy. What a world!

Lizz: I go dancing all the time, but something about being at “A Dance” caused me to revert back to being in middle school. All of a sudden I was running all over the place to see who was dancing together and hear the latest gossip about who was hooking up. I was suddenly totally shy, averting eye contact with cute girls and I think I actually turned and ran away from someone who said something suggestive to me. I’ll tell you what though, if I could actually go back to middle school, I’d totally want Carlytron to DJ my Bat Mitzvah

Brandy: The confusing feeling of loving Robin & Carly’s relationship SO MUCH and wishing that they would never ever break up, while honestly wanting to have sex with both of them.

Carly: I’d been planning to end my set on “We Are Young” by Fun. all week, because I knew Riese loved that song, but nothing could have prepared me for the feeling of a roomful of drunk lesbians crowded around my DJ lectern screaming the lyrics in unison. So, so cool.

 

Sarah: The last night in the cabin with “Forever 21” AKA “21 Hump Street” (which they formally changed their name to) was the definition of perfection. Along with my co-counsellor Jess S and videographer Lauren Aadland, we were able to hang out and ask them questions about their weekend. The air was thick with respect, love, feelings, ando course, processing. We took turns speaking about what Autostraddle means to each of us and how it’s affected our lives, respectively. I think this was the most incredible moment for me because I heard these almost strangers talk about how Autostraddle is their family, how they are now family and how Autostraddle has become their community — because their original family has cut them out, because their family simple ignores this aspect of who they are or because there’s no LGBT community where they live.

Most importantly, I continuously heard about how they feel loved by Autostraddle and by the people who are a part of making Autostraddle a real thing. This. We’ve broken through the screen and gotten into the lives/hearts of our readers. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m so proud to be a small part of something so incredible.

(photo by vanessa)

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148 Comments

  1. This has been said a million times before and deserves being said a million times again: Whitney, you (and your story) are amazing and I am so grateful that you shared it with all of us. Really the only thing I regret from camp is being too awkward to talk to you beyond saying hi maybe so now I am using the INTERNET to tell you that I think you are so very brave.

    “This is why I came to A-Camp — to share, to listen, and to be understood in a safe space. This experience will matter the most to me always.”

    Exactly.

    • I’m really late to the commenting party! Thank you for being at the panel. It means so so so so so so so so much to me that you were there.

      And hello to you on the internet! I really want to give you a hug. Let’s do a virtual one now, and if you’re at A-Camp in September or if our paths cross in the future I’ll totally give you a real one.

      <3

  2. some feelings:
    i missed the dance thanks to the macking on girls workshop, THANKS KATRINA AND GABBY.
    i have a crush on every troubletone.

    so i missed a kind of important family thing to come to a camp and i def told a very glossed over version of what i was doing “oh, i’m helping my friend riese run a bunch of seminars and workshops…” and didn’t so much explain that i was going to be drunk in the woods with a bunch of babes.

    yesterday at mothers’ day i finally sat down with my mom, explained what autostraddle is, my involvement in it from the beginning up til now, how fulfilling it was to meet everyone, how inspiring all my friends are/were, how amazing it was to be a part of it, how excited i am to be a part of the next one, how proud i am of riese and the rest of the team, and then i showed her the uke video. she was super excited about it, although she promised me she didn’t understand a word of katrina’s rap (suuure).

    guys, even my mom is kinda into hot laura.

  3. 1) “It was like The Devil Wears Prada except I was wearing American Eagle and not a bitch.” I love you, Riese.
    2) Crystal, it was Coyote Shivers.
    3) Carmen, can Gabby and I also get signed to Pretty Money Records? Our hit single “Lizz in Charge” is going to change the world.
    4) BETH YOU GUYS. BETH.
    5) The photo where Alex is dancing to Bad Romance makes my heart happy.
    6) Brandy, give us a call anytime…
    7) Staged dramatic reading of the oral history at next A-Camp?
    8) WANT TO GO BACK TO CAMP RIGHT NOW.

    • Was just going to reply to Brandy with “you have my cell, right?” and then realized you beat me to it. :)

    • of course you can be on the label! can i be on at least one to five tracks on your mixtape? if i was richer or lil wayne i’d fly you out and rap with you right now. instead — we wait for battleship.

  4. So, I just want you guys to know that despite the fact that I was a huuuge theater-fag growing up and performed in tons of plays and musicals, I somehow developed massive stage fright around age 14-15. As a result, the Don’t Stop Believing song was the first thing I’ve performed in front of an audience in about 10 years, and the weird thing is, I wasn’t even that scared because I was so fucking excited to share our ridiculous little labor of love with everyone at camp. Also, I love all of you.

  5. You guys are really really good at putting into words all the sublime and ridiculous feelings that I still can’t grasp by myself.

  6. does anyone who went to the ropes course remember when we were signing our waivers and the instructor said “Marni told me that you all are already familiar with harnesses”? I knew it was going to be fun after that. also super scary, but fun.

    • While I acknowledge that I did set the tone, I made that harness joke to just her and the other instructor, QUIETLY, before anybody else in the group got there. She then proceeded to make inappropriate jokes to the whole group for like 10 minutes. IDK I guess I just assumed she would understand the difference between a one-off joke amongst a small group of staff and jokes told to a large group of mixed company who are paying to be there? And also know when something stops being funny?

      I still have a lot of feelings about this because that woman brought beef later on and I’m still pissed about it

  7. “The only thing gayer than a bunch of lesbians in the woods playing guitar around a campfire is a bunch of lesbians in the woods singing “Call It Off” by Tegan and Sara. I mean really, it was almost more gay than gay sex”

    Omg I need to go to there. When is the next camp??

    • I was going to respond to this exact quote! So perfect! Seriously though, everything was the gayest thing ever, which is why camp was the best.

  8. so many cute pictures/videos. so many feelings!
    I am so happy for everybody who got to have this experience.

    • it’s Morocco or A camp in my case. the flight to camp is about 6 times longer and a hundred times more expensive but I’m definitely leaning towards camp. also, germany represent!

      • oh hi lia, long time no talk! :)
        germany represent!
        where would you be flying from?

        • hey maria,
          I guess I will be in Hamburg in september anyway so there’s a good chance I’d be flying out from there if I actually go/get a spot. I suppose so will you? we could totes get on the same flight and get drunk at the airport bar of whatever city we stop over:)

  9. 1) It was really exciting how many feelings the Book Club had about the Babysitter’s Club.

    2) I’m really upset that I didn’t attend Music Trivia and thus answer the question I WAS BORN TO ANSWER (Coyote Shivers was totally Liv Tyler’s step-dad at the time ISN’T THAT AWFUL AND PERFECT?!).

    3) When we all started singing “Call It Off,” Grace rolled her eyes and muttered good-naturedly, “This is disgusting…” before joining in and I laughed so hard I almost couldn’t sing and it was perfect.

    • I stand by my original feelings. It was disgusting but also hilarious, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    • Next time there should probably be a Baby-Sitters Club appreciation panel/help group. Book club was really great, but I still feel embarrassed for blanking on my favorite authors (besides Sarah Vowell, obvs) and LGBTQ books. Oh well.

  10. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmygodmyfaceiseverywhere.

    Saturday was definitely the best day of my life. Seriously. I don’t even know if I can add in any more feelings to this. I might have to process and return back with something more meaningful than the fact that MY FACE IS EVERYWHERE OMIGOD.

  11. “Also, making campers (I see you Shilpa and Tough Guy Beth) perform skits/roleplaying the Do’s and Don’t’s of Macking, was effing priceless.”

    … not a tough guy, secret softy – Shh!

  12. Okay, I found something to describe my feelings. I think this pretty much sums up all of A-Camp for me:

    • This was mentioned before, I’m pretty sure a bunch of campers didn’t drink.

      • many many many people were sober! especially because drinking under 21 is expressly FORBIDDEN. also bears.

      • Yeah, I most definitely did not drink and that didn’t imbibe any of my capacity for having fun. To be fair though, I get just as stupidly “intoxicated” just hanging out with drunk people, so that probably affects it.

        (p.s. Sorry to Leslie for totally failing at the first attempt at piggy-backing. That’s probably the best example of me being “drunk”)

        • Yeah, E numbers + caffeine replicate most effects of being drunk for me. (But just to be sure I top it off with a hearty dose of my friend Mister Vodka. Because, Irish.)

        • That was the best though. I was just telling someone about how that was the first night and when that happened, everyone in the lodge looked around like “oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be.”
          And that is how it was. And it was good.

          P.S. I hoisted you successfully and I was drunk! HA!

          • But then after the dance I gave you the proper piggy-back while you were drunk in a dress so we are EVEN, my friend!

    • Yup, for September camp everybody will have the option to request a ‘sober cabin’!

      • I really hope you’re joking. Those of “us” (like all queer people ever) who are in recovery or uncomfortable around alcohol for various reasons are still very fun and exciting. : )

        • often more fun and exciting from my experience… or at least certainly more interesting to hold a conversation with :)

        • No, she’s not joking because there were far too many people that went to bed early (and this has no correlation to whether or not they drank alcohol)

        • I was totally joking. I guess I needed an outlet to express my concern/bitterness that many people spent $300 to be surrounded by 198 amazing lesbians AND THEN WENT TO BED EARLY. Sleep is for death.

          Also, I know the non-drinkers can party and have fun because Papi, who doesn’t drink, lasted even longer than I did every night, AND SHE’S FUCKING AWESOME.

  13. After reading these three A Camp recaps i feel like robbing a bank to go to the next one

    • when and where? I look totally not suspicious and have midwestern charm and grace and a good innocent smile. I’m also good at diversions and carrying heavy stuff.

      • Um, I live in Spain, but if you can fly here and help with the robbing operation you can totally keep half of the money and we’ll fly back straight to camp!

          • lol everytime I hear “go to Spain” I laugh because I had a friend once who was super prudish and that was her code word for sex.

  14. Gaby at the macking seminar “Lesbians can smell bullshit..Like from a mile away!”
    Also, also..That sex panel changed lives!

  15. I feel as though I have greatly missed out. And I feel as though I hope greatly I can go this fall. Because I have all the feelings right now and it almost feels like i was there but i wasn’t and. . .

    Also, does anyone else think a panel on faith and queeriosity would be awesome? Cause I do. I think it would be very awesome.

    • yes! marni and i talked about that on the drive back as one of the panel topics for next time.

      • YUS! I’m a great big queer who has a lot of feelings about faith and queeriness. raised southern baptist, kicked out of church after i came out, and now planning to go to seminary fall of 2013. . . there are bad feelings positive feelings neutral feelings, just feelings!

    • This is an excellent theme and I really hope that it can still happen in a few years when I’m free from uni and finally have enough money to fly over and go to Camp. Do you guys have many ideas yet about how different activity slots are going to change over time, or if they might be repeated? (I’m guessing there may be elements of this). Even though I would come for the people no matter WHAT the activities were, I feel that I would have really really liked to attend the Queer Women of Colour session in particular and I’m sad that I couldn’t be there :(

  16. before a-camp came into my life i missed it so bad, i missed it so so bad. (and you should know that.)

  17. Crystal, I’m really glad you were as moved by our routine as I threatened you would be. I have a really specific memory of saying “YOURE GONNA CRY” and then being like “shit, man, what if no one likes us?”

    In other news I’m really amused to see that I’m holding a pbr in every picture here.

    • while we were singing it i remember thinking “oh god people aren’t laughing are we not funny?” and then i watched the video and realized people laughed at every line, bless their little hearts.

  18. So Riese, do you get paid in unicorns to make sure that at some point in my day I’m misty eyed?

    The things you women say to/about me are just too beautiful sometimes.

    I guess the only way to express my feelings is through song. ::puts diva on::

    Ahem:

    Looking out on the morning rain (awhoo)
    I used to feel so uninspired
    And when I knew I had to face another day (awhoo)
    Lawd it made me feel so tired
    Before the day I met you,
    Life was so unkind
    You’re the key to my peace of mind
    Because you make me feel
    You make me feel
    You make me feel like a natural Lesbo (Lesboo)

    -fin-

  19. The dance party was probably literally the best night out of my life. I love dancing so much you guys but I never go out because I don’t want to get skeeved on by gross boys. The one gay club here is all male go-go dancers all the time, no thank you.

    So thanks for having a safe space for boogie-ing that wasn’t pervy, with amazing music and awesome people!

  20. Three feelings re: this recap.

    1. I know who performed Sugar High in Empire Records without even having to think about it NO BIG DEAL.
    2. There are multiple photos of my friends in all 3 recaps so far and so I’m eating some pizza to contain my extreme jealousy.
    3. My best friend writes the LSATs October 6th and “will probably not be able to come to camp” because apparently she will be studying all September or something. Can someone please come up with a master plan to help me convince her to come to camp instead of studying (needs to be more convincing than “I’ll help you study on the plane! No I won’t get airplane drunk! Really!” because I tried this today) AND/OR volunteer to be my new best friend when I have to come to camp alone? Okay thanks in advance.

    • I’m an awesome best friend and I’m definitely going to next A-CAMP. Plus I also live in Canada! I think I remember you saying you’re in Canada…

      We can study girls on the plane and get airplane drunk!

  21. Tell her that it’s only 4 days! And she can study extra beforehand to make up for it! And it might just change her life! And show her the video of Gabby’s poem!

  22. why didn’t we just combine high tea with the sex panel? like dinner and a movie, but with tea and sex.

    DUH.

  23. just popping it to point how how freaking adorable the little rascals are in the front row in the “happiest moments” photo.

    • little rascals are my favorite
      this probs has something to do with my inappropriate love for younger ladies
      but really they are so darn cute
      (especially when they happen to host a camp-wide t&s sing-a-long)

  24. Like Brittani, I felt like I was going to die during the Queer Women of Color panel. Total Exhaustion finally set in about halfway through and I’m pretty sure I was visibly deflating.

    Another thing: that morning I realized I had lost my sunglasses and asked Robin/Beth if anyone had found them and by lunchtime I had them in my hands. I mean it’s just sunglasses, but I thought it was great that, for example, my cabinmates could leave their macbooks out in plain sight with no fear of it getting stolen.

    • I LEFT MY LAPTOP AT THE DANCE — like i brought it to the talent show (’cause i was still carrying it b/c i was doing the driving schedule) and then forgot it there (which NEVER happens at home, i’ve never accidentally left my laptop ANYWHERE, i’m like obsessively hyper-aware of its locale at all times as if it was a living breathing thing) and realized hours later and returned to the place and the dance was in full-force and my laptop was there, still, just waiting for me

      • That’s too bad – I guess you can add razors and nail polish to the short list of things worth taking (along with alcohol).

        That just reminded me – someone in my cabin left their ring by the sink for days and it was still sitting there after we moved out the last day. One of the cleaners came by Wolf Lodge with it but I didn’t know whose it was or if it meant anything to anyone.

  25. Who has the video of the Tegan and Sara sing-a-long? I still haven’t seen it, and I was in it!

    And why did no one mention the panty-throwing? I thought that was a pretty note-worthy moment.

  26. i think saturday was my favorite day. it’s so hard to pick favorites but i think if i HAD to, this day would win.

    some feelings:

    omg i can’t believe riese mentioned my name in this post!
    (sidenote: pretty much every day since camp i’ve woken up and thought “omg i can’t believe riese knows who i am”)

    seeing my photos in the recaps is SO exciting, and the final photo of jackie with the hula hoop and the sunset in the background is my FAVORITE a-camp shot, so it is extra exciting to see it included.

    also exciting that i am IN one of the (zine) photos–i thought i accidentally avoided the camera all weekend, so it’s fun to see proof that i actually was at camp!

    speaking of, the zine workshop was FANTASTIC
    i felt so calm and serene and happy, like i was where i was supposed to be
    and i talked to haviland a bit near the end and she said the whole scene reminded her of riese’s bedroom “back in the day” and how her floor always looked how the lodge looked and then my heart felt really large and i just had an intense rush of emotion toward riese, love, i think, because she let us all in to her bedroom floor and that’s so intimate and private and she let us in

    the talent show was fucking incredible
    seriously one of the most enjoyable & impressive things i’ve ever attended
    and laneia i totally know what you mean, the audience vibe was practically the best part of the show
    so loving, so accepting

    i love beth so much

    top 2 regrets:
    1. should’ve taken more photos
    2. should’ve gone to the queer woc panel…that is the #1 thing i am sorry to have missed. i know others have already asked but i would LOVE if there were a transcript or accessible video available for this panel.

    …will i be back in september?! i sure as hell hope so…

  27. I really don’t know if my comment just posted (damn technology) but it was along the lines of Alex – you are my new dance hero. Please can you teach a dance class (for Bad Romance) at the next camp? I might be the only attendee but there will be worship in my eyes. And I’ll teach you the running man in return if you can’t do it already.

    • I put “dance lesson with Alex Vega” on the original schedule without telling Alex

    • I also signed her up for the talent show without telling her

      Basically messing with Vega is one of my new greatest joys in life

  28. it is so sad that i took a disco nap that turned into “falling asleep with all my clothes on” and missed WE ARE YOUNG, when the whole car ride to camp i was preparing myself for the WE ARE YOUNG moment

  29. What is the tea described as “toasted green tea with vanilla that tasted like roasted marshmallows” called so I can immediately go out and buy it? Thank you!

    • I drank this but I have no idea what it was called. Sorry this is no help whatsoever.

  30. Ex-Disney child stars. I could have had it all.

    You people are fantastic. I might try to drag my French ass all over there in September.

  31. This week some one smashed my car and this a-camp recap has been the only thing that has successfully cheered me up since.

    So thank you for this recap and thank you (so so fucking much) for the beautiful weekend that was A-camp.

    • also i found you wildly intimidating to talk to in person at camp but i am totally fine leaving heartfelt comments to you on the internet. so.

      (did this happen to anyone else, guys? i am not a shy person but sometimes i felt so shy at camp.)

      • There were sooooo many people I didn’t talk to at camp. Mostly cause it was just so overwhelming(in a really good way.) I kept finding myself just staring around at everyone like, is this really happening? I also felt a little shy at camp because everyone was super awesome and good looking.

  32. Yay! The queer women of color panel was SO good! I could have listened to you guys talk for hours/days. The talent show was ridiculously amazing, probably my favorite thing at camp.

    I seem to remember stumbling upon a 20 or 30 person game of spin the bottle in one of the lodges after the dance. I was maybe a *little* drunk but did this really happen or am I making it up????

  33. I keep reading the A-Camp recaps about all the fun stuff, the panels, the people, the feelings, the pictures and all I can think about is:

    LANEIA HAS A GIRLFRIEND? FUCK!

    • Yeah, and she’s amazing! Day one, she walked up and introduced herself to me and she was just so real, and chill and genuine that I was truly impressed with her. I had this instant “Damn Laneia! You’ve got crazy great taste!” thought in my head. Two amazing people like that belong together.

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