A-Camp October 2013 Recamp #4: You Look Wonderful Tonight


[listen to the playlist here!] [more prom pics are on page six, and all prom pics can be found here] [some of the weirdest prom pics, however, can be found here]

1-A-Camp 425

Mey: The dance was just the icing on the cake after that. But it was really amazing icing.

Sophia: I think everyone was on a bit of cloud nine after that it made for a great dance party.

Hansen: When packing for camp, I definitely thought, “Prom? Nah, no one will dress up for that, we’re in the woods!” and how wrong I was. I had an adorable prom date who I was just sure was going to look amazing, so I started stressing when I noticed that everyone else was getting fancy, too. I texted Lizz in a panic, as one does in a fashion emergency at Autostraddle, and she was kind enough to lend me a perfect dress. In fact, it was so perfect that my camper Katie was wearing the exact same dress.


Carolyn: Right before the dinner before prom when no one seemed to be pranking even a little, I knew the Amazons would step up to the challenge of kidnapping the blow-up blue shark that has featured at such Autostraddle events as Dinah Shore and previous A-Camps. And they did. And then, the cabin dressed it up and Made an Entrance, complete with dapper outfits and waltzing to “Mack the Knife.” I died.


Brittani: The dance on the last night is always triumphant because it’s kind of the last hurrah. Everyone is having a “we did it!” moment mixed with the realization that it’s almost over. On top of that, there was Carrie’s proposal to Bren so everyone was having a moment.

Kai: That was the best prom I’ve ever been to. The decorations and dapperness and music made it wonderful. Also, I photo-bombed a lot of pictures and slow danced with a shark balloon.


Crystal: Everyone looked so good! The whole Heartthrobs cabin had asked the whole Flashdance cabin to prom over dinner the night before, which was maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen?

Hansen: At one point, Intern Grace and Chicagostraddlers Jeanie, Katie, and Jen (so basically the four best people at camp), serenaded me with “Kiss You” by One Direction because I was the only one who didn’t know all the words and Jeanie yelled, “I just like to think this song is about enthusiastic consent!”. I think that was my highlight of the prom.


Stef: Cee went out into the woods and handcrafted pine needle corsages for Taylor and me, and the three of us sauntered arm-in-arm-in-arm into Eagle feeling like a million bucks.

Cee: I had the two hottest dates to the prom. Yes I said two. I made Taylor and Stef matching fir branch corsages to go with their matching black dresses. Even though they both ditched me about 10 minutes in I still feel like I won prom.


Mey: I never got to go to my high school prom, so I was super excited that my first prom experience was going to be a queer one. And this prom definitely did not disappoint. First of all, my entire cabin got asked out by another cabin (way to go Flashdance!) and out two cabins set up a whole group of tables reserved just for us at the pre-prom banquet. Everyone looked so amazing! There were so many great dresses and bow ties and everyone’s hair looked amazing.

Robin: Prom was the most fun I’ve had dancing probably ever and I’ve done quite a bit of dancing throughout my life. DJ Carlyton rocked the house, as usual, with her blend of top 40, electro-pop, and 90’s throwbacks! I was so excited about Prom that I made not two, but four outfit changes that evening. Just for dramatic effect.


Stef: Best prom ever, let’s have prom every night, prom was the best, everybody looked so great! I didn’t go to my real prom; I stayed home and rented Carrie, so this was an overdue moment for me.



Mey: I seriously have so much more fun dancing at A-Camp than anywhere else. I’m wouldn’t have had my first prom experience happen any other way.

Carmen: A-Camp Prom was quite possibly the cutest and most magical moment of my short queer life. I probably took like forty pictures in the photo booth, mostly because I’d never found the photo booth at the last two A-Camp dances and I wanted to vindicate myself. And also because I broke the self-timer remote making the photo booth possible and ended up standing in front of a flash bulb for 2 minutes too long.


Liz C.: Prom was crazy-awesome. I’m pretty sure Carlytron DJ’d for 17 hours straight, Double D made an appearance in the bear suit, and we closed the night by dancing in front of the camera making stupid faces for like 20 minutes (sorry Robin!).

Brittani: Late in the party we realized that the photo booth camera was snapping away with reckless abandon. About ten of us sprinted over to the booth and spent an entire song singing and dancing with the flash going off every few seconds. For some reason I always decide this is the time to purposely make the weirdest faces possible. I wholeheartedly regret this decision later, especially while complaining that there are no nice pictures of me. Now everyone knows it’s only because I can’t have nice things.


Brittani: Once that song ended everyone at the dance went on a rampage. Some people were covered in streamers, others were sprinting around the room, and those that remained were exhibiting the most aggressive white dancing I’d ever seen. It was at this moment that I realized 80% of white people learned how to dance from watching The Breakfast Club.


Carmen: Seeing Brittani always feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me because I’m terrified she’s about to become so famous she’s no longer available to me via text message at 1am EST. I was super excited to be in her staff cabin this time around, and when she asked me and Geneva to take photo booth couples’ shots with her and Liz I actually almost lost consciousness.


Carly: Highlights of prom: prom photos, Magda as Bieber, Robin’s costume changes and dancing with everyone, especially at the end.

Laneia: After making any and all of the Runaways and Blackhearts dance with me in a big circle, we grabbed fallen streamers and pranced around like we invented it. It was pretty fucking infinite.


Donna: More random silliness features the twin head dance that ensued between Deanne and her girlfriend. Both of them had been tearing up the dance floor, but in an unexpected turn of events, they touched heads and kept them together for an entire song. They were literally connected, and I ogled from the sidelines in delight and disbelief. This dance should become a thing. Someone make it a thing.

Carmen: Throwing tinsel during “The Motto” at Prom was also a highlight. Just one of many.

Somer: I chose 80s slick-back-mullet lesbian chic for my prom look. It won me a slow dance with Lizzzz.


Ali: This might sound really silly, but there was this one moment during prom. I was up on that tiny stage and DJ Carlytron was playing Can’t Hold Us. Everyone was going bananas dancing. Carly turned to me and shouted “THIS IS AMAZING” and we were all jumping around so hard I thought the stage was going to collapse. And then everyone put their hands up at the same time as the lyric “so we put our hands up.” And I don’t just mean the people on the stage, I mean everyone at the Prom all at the same time, as one unit. And I almost cried then. Because we were just all so together, in this space where everyone is invited to be their truest selves, and we were just having a blast.


Robin: I’m so happy with the way the photobooth turned out and I’m so excited to share the photos with you all!! Feel free to buy prints of photos or downloads if you’d like them! (password is “prom”) They are affordable and all proceeds will go to A-Camp!!!!

Somer: At around 1am during prom, the last night of camp, there were fallen streamers, drunk campers, huddles of new & old friends talking in the dining room, and some make-out silhouettes in dark corners. A few die-hard dancers were still gyrating their faces off with DJ Carlytron.WHO THEN PLAYED THE WILDCARD TRACK THAT LIT UP THE DANCE FLOOR. “Common People” by Pulp started playing, and Carlytron vaulted out of the DJ booth to join us. I will forever remember new-wave-dance-skipping to the point of losing oxygen to my brain and seeing a bright light at the top of Queer Mountain. I turned to Carly and gasped, “I THINK I’M GOING TO VOMIT BUT I DON’T WANT TO STOP.” She knowingly nodded, somehow gasped out the words, “Me too,” and then doubled over. I’m just glad she played the radio edit, or I might not have made it back from A-Camp to be able to tell you just how great it was.

Not to scale (via Somer)

Not to scale (via Somer)

DeAnne: While everything about prom felt nearly too good to be true (Carly’s playlist, Robin’s photo set up, Somer and Donna’s outfits, smiley Hannah Hart bouncing around like the cutest maniac ever, all those hot, dapper, sexy queers!), my favorite part of the night was checking out Klub Deer at 2:30 a.m. There were about 8 people in there (you know who you are) having the sweetest, tiniest dance party I’ve ever been a part of. We were SHAKIN’ IT, while the rest of camp was off happily sleeping or happily, you know, not-sleeping. Klub Deer 5ever.


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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 3211 articles for us.


  1. Thanks cos I’m now crying alone in my room–but I’m also laughing at that Blue Crush Prom photo–Grace smiles in a sea of weird/laughing faces because she told me “I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO”


  2. that very flattering picture of me reacting to the proposal is actually me pointing at vanessa who was ACTUALLY MELTING, collapsing into a puddle of drippy gooey feelings onto the floor. i want a vanessa reacts to things tumblr almost as much as i want a carly reacts to things tumblr.

  3. I had no idea of the cuteness behind the planning! You sneaky, sneaky devils.

    I love all you people so much, but I especially love the blond with the killer calves.

    I’m crying at my desk right now!

    • I’m totes inspired to submit my own Camp Talk next session :D (I want to do one on a short history of queer/women’s intentional spaces and the way forward into a happier, campier future)

  4. A-Camp is everything.

    There are places you visit. There are places you stay. There are places you live.
    I live at A-camp. That seems impossible considering it’s just 5 days with complete strangers. A-camp is the only place where I am my total complete self. Just breathing the mountain air made me feel…well, all the things. In comparison to where I am now I still have to remind myself that A-camp really happened.

    I hope I can make it to the next one. I need more A-camp in my life and I’ve missed the mountain since the moment I got on the bus. Goddamnit, I’m crying.

    Final note: If you think you want to go to A-camp, just do it. Go to A-camp.

  5. “And almost two decades after we skipped our Senior Prom to watch movies I finally had a Prom date.” And then I died.


  6. I have never loved a group of people more. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself and my feelings. Do you know how easy it is to fall in love with a person when they are being the complete authentic selves? REALLY easy. Do you know how overwhelming it is to have that happen to you over and over and OVER again in the span of half a week? REALLY overwhelming.

    I am so proud to be a part of this community. You are all flawless individuals. And you better be coming back to September camp (and you reading this, the person who hasn’t gone to A Camp yet: you come too, please).

    Also, is that picture of Hansen and Dani available in poster size?

  7. Also, giving a Camp Talk was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and that doesn’t even compare to what it was like listening to everyone else’s. I strongly believe EVERYONE should apply to give a talk next time. I KNOW you queers have some awesome things to say and I want to hear them/swoon in the front row (my ulterior motive: smart, well-spoken girls are my kryptonite)

  8. I’m looking over recent photos of me and my new friends from Acamp, and realizing how much more joyful my life has been since this experience.

    It was so beautiful to just be there as our true selves; shameless and brilliantly colorful. And it was so worth everything just to meet people from this fantastic community which I hope I’ll be friends with for a long time to come.

    I had a hard time last year with dating, health issues, graduating college; and I feel like choosing to go to Acamp came at a perfect time; while I’ve been in the process of switching gears into a new era of my life, camp has helped me reset back into my more solid sense of self.

    When I was up there walking to and from cabins I had only made a few moments in between to looking at the stars. Had I been alone I could have long stared up into the night sky that was no longer so dark and obscure like it is in LA. It was clear and bright. But as much as I wanted to study the constellations, I also felt like for once I didn’t have to burden myself with absorbing all of the starlight, because there was just too much there. There was so much there, and so much happening which I didn’t want to miss.
    Still, I made an agreement with myself that I could still somehow feel all of it.
    Up there I knew where I was, I had a sense I really knew, under the seemingly eternal stars and this minuscule space and time between them. 
Those cold bright nights,
and feeling so alive.

    Love you all.
    Thanks Autostraddle.

  9. Oh my goodness I developed so many crushes at CAMP talks. Um, you want to teach me how to sustain my own little ball of life and green and beauty? I’ll sit in the front row, all ears.
    But seriously, we’re all so fucking talented it’s ridiculous.
    THEN going to the sex panel.
    I tried to think of another place where I could explore sexual preferences and opinions with an adorably sweet Canadian, passing around vibrators, and revel in the promotion of safe sex…AND I COULDN’T BECAUSE A-CAMP IS MAGICALLY UNIQUE AND SO SAFE. It’s like being swaddled in butterflies made of Nutella. Yeah. I went there. I feel very strongly about this.

  10. 1) the picture of me quietly wiping away a tear at the proposal is the most accurate thing ever
    2) i’m in love with hansen, guys. seriously.
    3) alice motes
    4) the MST3 gay movie thing was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me; i still can’t get over how hilarious i thought you all were. especially carly. i want carly to talk over ALL OF MY MOVIES from now on.
    5) my cabin is so cute i can’t handle anything; also i would like to request that people stop letting drunk jen be in the front of everything with my mouth wide open all of the time.

  11. I don’t know any of you. I found this website through a discussion of bad movies (specifically Lost and Delirious… I know) I have never seen pictures of people so happy before. Everyone looks so freakin’ beautiful. Really. The story of the proposal made me cry…tears down face…I don’t even like marriage. And then did I mention that I don’t know any of you? Then reading the comments and someone mentioned vomiting rainbows…I almost dropped my phone. I wish Bren and Carrie congrats….(OMG the comment about the prom…really people you should write scripts) and all the best….to everyone else you all sound like the best camp mates EVER. I don’t even know why I am writing this maybe to say its important to show a place where there is obviously so much love and safety and gooey rainbow vomit goodness.

  12. Tiny Klub Deer after party was the best.

    I am pretty sure my Firestarter cabin-mates are the best dressed. I’m just saying.

    I mean we have Kiyomi and Saskia in one cabin. I think that puts us over the top right there.

  13. A Camp is magic! If anyone else agrees that Autostraddle is magical in the way it can predict articles you need in your life, then A Camp is 100x more magical in that it puts people and activities in your life that you needed. Even if you didn’t know it.

  14. + somehow this is the day I felt I did the most things despite not leaving my cabin until 11am?
    + noone mentioned this yet but Hannah’s CAMP talk is on youtube in its entirety! Here.
    + I FINALLY WENT ON A HIKE sorry hiking buddy who I almost let get eaten by bears
    + i’m actually in multiple pictures in this post, not sure how that happened
    + i was really confused/frightened during the proposal because I couldn’t see anything as a small person in a claustrophobic sea of mostly normal-sized persons, so i’m thankful for video
    + i did not attend prom so to speak, but i did walk through it to get to the other side of eagle. that counts, i’m sure.

  15. Inspiring queers one camp and re camp at a time. Cant believe this post topped the previous one by a whole page! Lol. Sorry sometimes i think i have OCD that kicms in which is why i think i notice these things. Did i mention how hard this is to read on a mobile device. Lol!!!

  16. What Laneia said about the moon catchers was so sweet, I died a little. Thank you for letting us symbolically climb inside your rib cage. Now I have a moon catcher hanging in my room and you know what, it’s f*cking pretty.

    This whole day was perfect. I miss everyone so much!

  17. Ohh! I just remembered this, I think, was the day Laneia was outside in a coat and weird about how it looked, and I told her, “If you look warm, you look good.” And I have since made this my life mantra.

  18. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this a million times, but I will say it a million more; camp is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. It is the only time I have felt completely comfortable being me, and love myself for it, and have all these other weirdos that I have fallen in love with love me for it. Basically camp is one big ball of love feelings and pure fucking joy and a whole lot of hilarity. And I will never not go back. Runagayhearts forever(maybe that should be my tattoo!)

  19. I was using my mobile earlier I couldn’t put in all the feels i had especially for the proposal OMG!!!!!!!!!! I was practically on the floor squealing at how cute they are OMG!!!!!!. I felt like crying from giddiness at AWWWWWWWWWWWW all at the same time. That was so sweet and I especially salute the staff for helping some magic happen in someone’s life. ♥

    God I love this website.

  20. Thank you to everyone for the sweet comments on the proposal, those who said such sweet words to us that night, and to those of you who were just there sharing the moment. I love each and every one of you for making this so special for Bren & I. We could feel the love in the room and it meant so much to us. I met so many people that night that it was all just a big blur, but every one of your comments meant so much to me. You guys are the best! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was an honor to be in the same room with all you wonderful weirdos.

    P.S. You guys already know this, but Riese & Marni & Robin & Carly are awesome humans, and helped me pull this off so perfectly. You guys are amazing.

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