Unfortunately, this camp isn’t easy to locate, but those who know will know how to find it. “Camp” is an exaggerated, over-the-top, often-in-bad-taste style that’s hard to define. According to Susan Sontag in her seminal 1964 essay “Notes On ‘Camp,’” it’s a particular mode of aesthetic appreciation that celebrates the artificial, the frivolous, and the extravagant. Those of us who are queer or otherwise on the margins, with our fine-tuned skills at observing mainstream culture, are particularly adept at knowing it when we see it.

As Sontag points out, camp originated as a sensibility among “homosexuals,” which is itself such a wonderfully dated and campy term. Along with being a “private code” and “badge of identity” for sexual outsiders, camp is also genderqueer, or as Sontag put it, “androgynous.” Camp puts everything in ironic quotation marks, especially “femininity.” It loves a double entendre. It’s theatrical, flamboyant, and rococo: camp is a Tiffany lamp. It’s also sentimental about the past and melodramatic. Camp is failed seriousness. Camp is “too much.” Camp is best when it’s naive, because camp that tries to be camp isn’t satisfying. Unless of course it’s all-in and fully committed, but nothing in between! Camp is “instant character”: it’s the actor who can never disappear into a role but will always remain irrepressibly themself. Camp is Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Camp is Gina Gershon and Megan Fox.

Ultimately, camp is not judgmental: it wants to laugh at the world and have a good time. So grab a tree branch and some marshmallows and join us, fellow camper, as we bask in the glow of five magnificent films, all with fabulous scripts and scenery-chewing performances, spanning the history of camp cinema from 1950 to 2009.

~Co-curators/series speakers, Chris Vargas and Greg Youmans


Source: https://www.pickfordfilmcenter.org/pride–pickford/

Pickford Film Center
1318 Bay Street, Bellingham, WA 98225, Bellingham, WA, 98225