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my friends: )& the nature & men who didn’t give a shit about me, my antidepressants, Edward Scissorhands, flowers, my fifth grade teacher, Brandi, pears, my sister, my brother, Okay, Bojack (obviously), Squitch, time & slow cinema, blueberry coffee, the library, Margeaux, bears, the Rons, My parents, my sisters, my family, Ellie, Luna, Sam, Ken Grout, Yoko Ono, Shelley Duvall, Gaspar Noe, Paz de la Huerta, Patti Smith, Nico, Patty Duke, Kate Bush, Bette Davis, Lou Reed, John Waters, Glenn Close, Lance Loud, Welcome to Nightvale, Let the Right One In, fake blood, Sarah Michelle Gellar, CMYK, plastic fangs, the bowl cake, Matt, Mustard Yellow, Rookie Mag, Brian K Vaughan, The Almighty Gwen, Savana Ogburn, Jelly Heels, blue lipstick, Willow from Buffy, my family, eggo waffles, the golden snitch, werk it boots, that earl grey tea latte from hinking cup, 69, my bedroom, aristocats, malden, fresh air, powerpuff girls, bacon, new york city, bebe louise, bowtie pasta, All the Emma’s I Ever Knew, My Childhood Space Blanket, Mint, Ginger, Lavender, my mother, NPR, carbs, Oat Milk, Prince, All Dogs Everywhere (hey who let hem out), My English Teachers (grades 8, 11, and 12), Jack Young, Austin, Peter, Joey, Con, 452, backpackjoe, Claude Monet & Debussy, queer cuties, yours truly, my mom, the sun, the moon, the stars, lesbianism, WLW relationships, Scorpios, Virgos, trans siblings, my girlfriend, my brother, my dad, queerness, activism, dreams, writers, artists, my friends, Sleep deprevision, Zoloft, My family, my friends, Japanese convenience stores, Korean dramas, all the half Japanese people in the world, Dolls Kill, Wan wan, Project Runway, untold stories, My uncle’s sweets, Abstract creativity, all the multicultural and multiracial peeps, Environmental activism, the environment, my dog Aki, my therapist, color, clothes, gymnastics, The Kendall family, David Lynch, Alt Philanhropy, Beach Fossils, my 3 brain cells, Professor Kishik, George Clanton, Julian Casablancas, my ournal, my family, my therapist, 721, walking, pizza lunchables, reusable waterbottles, tj maxx, switching out of journalism, rice and beans, jetblue, Montreal, pink wigs, My Mom, My Brothers, Mother Earth, Wigs, Drag, Parker Day, Instagram, Queer Nightlife, Weird Makeup, Dancing, LSD, Skinny Dipping, My EM Fam, Breakfast, Sunshine, Boston, Björk, Solange, MaryJoanna, Baths, Dunkins Medium Iced Coffee Coconut Caramel Whole Milk 2 Sugar, My Little Brother, Emma, My Parents, Adobe Illustrator, Last Podcast On The Left, Ryan McDowell, Trevor Kelly, Matt Enriquez, Chloe Krammel, Bose Colored Soundspeaker, 2015 Macbook Pro (AKA Shelly), Manwolves, Fried Eggs, Arya, Strega. Grace Jones and the friends that have become family, my family, my dear friends near and far, Heart Eyes Magazine, Shannon, Tyler, Phoebe Bridgers, Kevin Grimmett, the band COIN, Lucas Ovalle, my friend Ben who cut my mullet, the flat earth movement (for making me look smart), the telvision series Scrubs, diet cherry Pepsi, Wolf Alice’s My Love is Cool, my displaced mom and my placed brother and dad, Casey, Dani, the boys, caffeinated tea, un-caffeinated tea, my therapists and my doctors, my high school GSA, Lizzie and Abby—May our friendships last a lifetime, regardless of coastline, Devin Elias for invitng me to RHPS, Mom, Tati Guel, Intercultural peeps, thanks blankets for keeping me warm, to my ride or die (Bella Rodrigues), Truman, Glenda, the 10th floor of Walker, rooftops, Prow tap desk guys, Wendy’s frosty runs, my sister (she’ll probably see this *waves*), My dad, my mom, and my sister. Shout out to my cousin Ithiel for making me laugh, Lady Gaga, Björk, SSION, Sasha Velour, Love Bailey, Bachi, Cweepy, Roo, Justy, Dexter, Suspiria, Spirited Away, Gluten, Robyn, Poppers, My wide angle lens, my rainbow spinny, Theirry Mugler, Alexander McQueen, the Devil, Myself, my mom, the EmMag staff, my aunt, Ms.G, Mr.Gould, Mr. Reed, Amy, Alice, Xiying, Carol, April, my future boss, Boston, Dalian, passions, creativity, museums & galleries, my compuster, My hair extensions, Isoporpyl Alchol, Not Giving Anyone a Sty, Naptime, My Immune System, Body Horror, The Fear of Dissapointing, My Wigs, The Worm Moon, Being 19, Lara Croft, my plants, lentil soup, my dogs, my roommates, the mice that live under our fridge, my family, a better sleep schedule, vitamin d, my friends :), Any artists just doing it no matter what and most mportantly my mom, My family, Phil, Boomerangs, Dorothys, Boston, Sushi, Black boots, sleep, both the emily’s, loud music, eyeliner, my parents for always supporting my art making and to my sister, melanie; my original model, The strength of my mother, Farah, Abigail, Sami, MSA, coffee, glitter, moisturized skin, bilingualism, Mari, Alex, progress, self-love, new things, bare-faces


noah chiet


peter henry


mana parker


matt mckinzie


enne goldstein


chloe krammel


serino nakayama amanda zou


sam berman


lily scher


ellie bonifant


sam bratkon


kayla burns chloe krammel


coco luan


eileen polat


nada alturki erin christie delia curtis diti kohli mica kendall leah heath carly mcgoldrick maya pontone PHOTO

katrina “chappie� chaput yuhan cheng kate gondwe mia manning mariely torres ILLUSTRATION

pixie kolesa queenn mckend nic sugrue morgan wright STYLE

michael figueiredo rory willard

ARTICLES 59 65 53 71 1 21 27 7 44 34 13 THE SOUND OF CAMP

written by erin christie visuals by queenn mckend


written by sam bratkon visuals by peter henry



written by delia curtis

written by nada alturki visuals by nic sugrue


written by mica kendall visuals by chloe krammel



written by peter henry visuals by morgan wright


written by matt mckinzie visuals by pixie kolesa

written by leah heath visuals by ellie bonifant


written by maya pontone visuals by mariely torres


written by diti kohli visuals by coco luan


written by carly mcgoldrick visuals by mana parker

EDITORIALS 89 133 101 75 noah chiet

yuhan cheng

kate gondwe

queenn mckend

147 121

mana parker & katrina “chappie� chaput



pixie kolesa

ellie bonifant

enne goldstein

20, 26, 32, 52, 64, 70, 74

113 mia manning

coco luan

PHOTO mana parker








WORDS leah heath COLLAGES ellie bonifant MODEL daniella baltazar

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When you move to a new place, usually your agenda is free, as you have yet to make friends. So when I was asked if I wanted to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show with some other people, I agreed. What is it? Where is it? Is it horror? I was enticed. Rocky Horror Picture Show is a film from 1975, filled with glitz, glam, and gender-bending roles. Every Saturday at 9:30 pm, the AMC closest to Emerson College hosts a showing of Rocky Horror, accompanied with a full cast that reenacts what is happening on the screen, which also calls for audience interaction. This is where it gets interesting. Drag is mostly known and seen as people dressing as the opposite sex, but usually also involves full glam makeup and the performer taking on an entirely different persona. It’s Makeup is Dragging: From Julian Eltinge to Rocky Horror



beautiful seeing what drag performers can do. Its origins can be traced back to 1870, supposedly its earliest year of practice, though we also see drag presented in the 17th century, in early performances of Shakespeare plays; women weren’t permitted to act, so men took on women’s roles. However, the drag queens we think of today were more commonly found in underground bars, also known as speakeasies, until the end of the Roaring 20s. The makeup trends for drag queens back then were passed down to each other by word of mouth, or by ‘drag mothers,’ usually another drag queen that helps guide a newbie’s transformation.

One of the earliest well-known drag queens, Julian Eltinge, was the start of drag’s headway into mainstream media in the early 20th century. He had his own line of cosmetics and corsets, which he promoted. For a short while, Eltinge even had his own magazine that promoted beauty tips. He starred in silent films under his drag persona... those eyebrows were popping even back then. He had a universal acceptance from men and women of the time, as he also kept up a “traditionally masculine” appearance by smoking cigars, swearing, and horseback riding. Makeup seems like the ultimate form of self-expression that we see time and time again throughout the drag scene, from

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sculpted cheekbones, to bold lips, to a variety of eyebrows, to smokey eye looks. Many pop culture companies such as Allure, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Elle have been showcasing more elements of drag culture in their platforms. In Allure’s article on the history of drag, they even mention some of the earlier films drag appears in, such as Rocky Horror Picture Show. One thing I wasn’t expecting from the movie was how old it was. I had never heard of Rocky Horror until I moved to Boston, and I when I did hear of it I wasn’t expecting it to be made in the 70s. The iconic opening scenes of the film shows bold red lips. If you’ve never been to a Rocky Horror live show, you get christened with red stage lipstick and two red V’s on your cheeks, identifying you as a Rocky Horror Virgin. But this makeup pales in comparison to audience members who actually dress up as the characters of the film. Dr. Frank-N-Furter is one of the main characters of Rocky Horror, played by Tim Curry. His makeup look is defined by thin eyebrows that blend down into his eyeshadow. Most of the characters who reside with Dr. Frank-N-Furter seem to have a very pale

Makeup is Dragging: From Julian Eltinge to Rocky Horror



makeup look, with bold lips and eye makeup. It contrasts well in the show, as Dr. Frank-NFurter’s makeup stands out against the whites of his eyes. These dark makeup looks are usually accompanied by dark glittery clothing. There are reversed roles as well, with Dr. Frank-N-Furter donning a corset, and the character of ‘Creature’ not always played by a man. All in all, the makeup style in Rocky Horror is either minimal or extreme. The history of drag makeup has brought us to these roles we have today. People admire and dress up like these characters now, seeing as it was one of the first films to embrace such a liberating form of self-expression. It also creates a space for the audience—the film becomes something attainable and not just images in a black box. The evolution of this kind of self-expression has also led to makeup brands being created specifically for this. Sugar Pill started out as a clothing brand which led to the creation of makeup for the drag community. It was created by Amy Doan, and launched its makeup line in 2010 with a turquoise shadow, later venturing into the realm of lipstick and highlighters. Today we have what are known as ‘beauty boys’ that push for self-expression in the beauty industry. You may know them mostly from the YouTube scene: James Charles, Patrick Starr, Manny Gutierrez, and Jeffree Star, to name a few. They show off these full glam looks that others can recreate. Glitz. Glam. Sparkle. This kind of representation, along with what we see in movies like Rocky Horror, creates a sense of genderless expression in the realm of beauty and cosmetics. Being thrust into Rocky Horror was something else entirely. It is fun and ever-changing, and every time you watch it you have an entirely new experience. It is over-the-top makeup. It is sparkly corsets. It is stockings that show off your legs. Rocky Horror is a ride; in the end it’ll look like a tornado hit, a tornado of self-expression. But you smile afterwards, leaving the theatre feeling electrified.

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WORDS diti kohli ILLUSTRATIONS coco luan

Like most good things, the appearance of Camp sensibility in fashion did not blossom on the main stage, preyed on by spectators and copycats. It began with ordinary people sans fashion lines and brand deals, with creative drag queens stitching color onto the seams of their bodices, artists placing the extravagance that pervaded their minds onto their dresses. But because this genre begs for onlookers’ attention and thrives off of its audience’s offense, its fusion with fashion did not go unnoticed. a book by em


So “Campy” fashion inevitably made its mark on the world’s biggest runways decades ago. As recently as last February, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele had models strut down the runway with replicas of their own severed heads––an unarguably Campy move to accompany a Camp line. This year’s Met Gala, underwritten by Vogue editor-inchief Anna Wintour, encourages attendees to dress fitting to one of the most reactionary themes since the gala’s inauguration: Camp. But as this attitude gains appreciation and acceptance from mainstream global society, Camp sensibility continues to flourish subtly within the closets of unnoticed craftsmen and the corners of resale shops around the world. In Boston itself, Massachusetts Avenue

snakes through establishments of new-age Camp fashion. The street runs through historic institutions––Harvard and MIT––and serves as a vertical pathway to seemingly ancient museums and landmarks. But the avenue also houses Dorothy’s and Boomerangs, retail stores overflowing with drag culture and Camp sensibility. Boomerangs is a confusingly quiet tribute to Camp. It melds seamlessly with the objectively privileged lifestyle of Cambridge–– home to America’s upper-class founders,

Camp in our Backyard

a familiarity forever etched into countless history books. Its wood flooring, collection of household chotskies, and endless racks of discounted T-shirts attract new thrifters, tourists, and wanderers every day. I myself meandered in during a walk through Central Square with a group of friends after I could not control myself from feeding my clothing obsession. In true basic fashion, I bought a two dollar black T-shirt that read “I <3 NZ,” or New Zealand, which I later cropped with a junky pair of scissors. Only after exiting the cashier’s lane did I notice the unnatural vibe of the store, its tribute to staginess and opulence.


Mannequins adorned pattern-on-pattern outfits that defied the laws constituted by average chain retail corporations and boring style norms. The storefront window housed a headless figure in a chic blazer, but also an old guitar, red zebra-striped boots, and a variety of thick books and intricate vases. On a far wall resided Boomerangs’ shoe collection with not one white sneaker or combat boot to be found; instead, there were green moccasins, chunky peach sneakers, and thick-heeled white books. The shop was a brazen haven for lovers of increasingly trendy dad sneakers, those who refuse to wear normal pants, and anyone searching for a statement piece. Simply, if one chose to dress far out of the norm, in a way that pulled in eyes and ears, Boomerangs was where to splurge.

It should be noted that profits from Boomerangs sales also go entirely to the AIDS Action Community of Massachusetts. Statistics from the Human Rights Campaign website reveal HIV and AIDS disproportionately affects the gay community, as it has for years. Though the Camp movement is often simplistically equated with flamboyance and gay culture, it is relevant and resonant far outside the queer a book by em


community. At the same time, however, this community has been the pinnacle of culture and predominantly at the forefront of Campy trends since the movement’s explosion in the mid-20th century. The charitable link between Boomerangs and the gay community only furthers the connection between Camp and fashion in the real world. I first wandered into Dorothy’s with far less intention than when I went into Boomerangs. Nestled almost ironically beside a Christian Science Reading Room, the store is extravagantly otherwordly. Greeting customers on the door is a picnic-basket-looking tub of cheap free condoms. If I stood shapely in the doorway, a wall of wigs glared at me from the right and rows of tights hugged my view on the left. Stacks of bandanas, colored a book by em


Camp in our Backyard


contacts, sombreros, sunglasses, stripper heels, and masks overtook all space around the slim walkway in the center of the shop. Though only steps away from the picturesque Mapparium and Boston Symphony Hall, Dorothy’s asserts itself as the destination for anything and everything no other store would think to hold. Along with the myriad other thrift shops in the Boston area, Dorothy’s and Boomerangs continue to meld affordability with Campy pieces, allowing this genre to flourish away from Marc Jacobs’ untouchable boutiques and Balenciaga’s gleaming white catwalks. It brings Camp to the forefront of everyday fashion, to allow stylistic confidence to exude separately from red carpet styles that adopt the same Campy attitudes. But places like these stores, that provide comfortable spaces for the queer community, are being slowly erased in the city. As one of the oldest cities in the country, mainstream Boston culture prides itself on its historical roots and an omnipresent sense of traditionalism. Unlike the West Coast, which is characterized by more progressive ideals, and its emphasis on the value of individuality, Boston’s restrictive cultural forces are pushing these spaces to shut down or move. A 2017 article in Boston Magazine titled “When Did Boston’s Gay Scene Get So Straight?” highlighted how many gay bars and clubs in the city are either attracting a larger straight crowd or are closing altogether. Additionally, both dating and shopping within the queer community is becoming an increasingly online activity, forcing stores like those mentioned above to drift sadly out of the center of the pop culture scene and into nonexistence. Though there is a significant queer population in Boston that shines loudly and proudly, the freedom of the community as a whole is still being choked down by traditionalism–– red-brick architecture and a history coated in oppression for sexual and racial minorities. Thankfully, Dorothy’s and Boomerangs show no sign of withering away. They stand strong as a beacon of light for the Camp scene in Boston and a wonderland for those who tire of normal trends and look for something more striking to crowd their wardrobes. a book by em


CAMPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ELASTIC LEGACY: 21


WORDS mica kendall COLLAGES chloe krammel

That feeling while watching a horror movie— the one where you’re half covering your eyes and half glimpsing at the screen, unable to avert your stare—is a prime example of the effect the style of Camp has on the eyes of the beholder. Similar to the sensation of talons digging into your skin, or doing a double take when walking by something out of the ordinary that for a moment of time ceases to grasp your intention, Camp is meant to provoke and stir emotions, and serves as a cultural touchstone deriving from the 1960s that continues to permeate modern day fashion and film.

22 Camp was first introduced as a subgenre of film in the 1960s that attracted a large following, specifically within the LGBTQ+ community. Definitive qualities in Camp films include exaggerated narratives, drag queens, plots focused around debunking the traditional values of society, manipulated appearances, and making visuals the top priority in the filmmaking process. In essence, Camp in film allowed for a completely new sense of style with unlimited possibilities. New boundaries were and are crossed in terms of identity, self expression, and bringing something fantastically new into the scope of cinema, fashion, and art. Famously defined in Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, “Notes on Camp”, Sontag reiterates the stylization and personality of Camp as “a certain mode of aestheticism. It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon. That way, the way of Camp, is not in terms of beauty, but in terms of the degrees of artifice, of stylization.” Sontag also attributes Camp’s ironic quality as not being purposeful, Camp’s Elastic Legacy: From 1960s Cinema to Modern-Day High Fashion

otherwise it cannot be considered Camp. Furthermore, she argues that Camp is symbolic toward “a badge of identity.” In essence, Camp cannot be pinpointed towards one film genre, as it is seen across all narrative types: horror, surrealism, melodrama, psychological thrillers, and the list goes on. Furthermore, Camp serves as a foundational tool that helped progress the concept of gender fluidity, proven by numerous films and in the works of present day high-fashion designers. A 1960s film staple that was one of the first movies to introduce the public to the absurdity of Camp was Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. A melodramatic horror story revolving around the show business rivalry of sisters Jane and Blanche takes a turn for the worst when Jane’s jealousy consumes her. The tension between Blanche’s success as a star in contrast to Jane’s career failure causes Jane to have a double identity complex. The deconstruction of Jane’s sense of self throughout the movie is evident in the grotesque, child-like, Lolita dresses Jane 23

wears, her cakey makeup, and the twin porcelain doll she carries around and talks to. Jane’s absurd, and often grotesque, motivations are personified through her fashion, and as a result, her over-the-top characterization becomes tangible and something that we can see and wear. Since the film’s Camp style allows Jane’s personality, through her fashion, to become tangible, its overall critique on the effects of fame and Hollywood sexism becomes more tangible—and more real—as a result.

This style is also evident in Mark Robson’s Camp classic Valley of the Dolls. Though Valley of the Dolls is not a horror movie like Baby Jane, Robson takes Baby Jane-styled melodrama and applies it to three female protagonists all involved in show business. Characters Anne Welles, Neely O’Hara, and Jennifer North all utilize their beauty and sense of style to kickstart their careers in the spotlight. Welles, O’Hara, and North’s show business fashion trademarks revolve around a wardrobe full of shimmery two piece tops and skirts, glitzy gowns, voluminous hair, and glamouresque makeup with an emphasis on the eyeliner. Each girl emulates an over -exaggerated persona that ultimately paves the way to each of their downfalls. Thematically revolving around drug use or “dolls,” sex, and the cruel nature of fame, Valley of Dolls evokes a sense of realism in regards to the underbelly

of the American Dream. The film depicts the female stars’ looks through a voyeuristic lens, with the use of a saturated Technicolor palette and over-the-top costumes emphasizing the “ideal” female body. Combining humor with a major critique of sexism and objectification of women in show business, Valley of the Dolls debunks female fashion and beauty standards and focuses on the reality of gender prejudice that is still just as prevalent today as it was in the 1960s. However, Camp goes beyond just melodrama and exuberant characters; there is also a heavy focus on aestheticism. Famously known for its “giallo” style and highly exaggerated use of color, Dario Argento’s Suspiria combines horror and drama with an emphasis on color scheme. The employment of primary hues (red, yellow, and blue) throughout the film assaults the viewer’s senses and creates such a feeling of horror that, ultimately, no color is safe for our characters. The supernatural narrative, revolving around a ballet school run by a cult of witches, is filled with constant distorienting and shifting perspectives that leaves viewers on edge. Full of geometric patterned wallpaper and violent shifts in lighting to emphasize the supernatural, Suspiria utilizes color as a way to go against convention. The fashion of the characters operates in ironic contrast, with the prominence of baby doll dresses, ornamented jewelry, and silk nightgowns, which are eventually covered in blood. Suspiria was the last film to utilize the Technicolor transfer printing process, and

impressively conveys a complex concoction of emotions through its intense color palette and choice of fashion. Camp fashion can be found in 1980s and 90s cinema as well, particularly in the work of David Lynch. Characters like Dorothy in Blue Velvet, with her staple blue velvet robe, elegant red lip, and blue eyeshadow as she harmonizes her main musical number, draws both the protagonist and the viewer into a world of utter sensationalism. Many scenes in Blue Velvet are hard for the viewer to understand, like antagonist Frank emoting horror in his over-emphasized facial expressions and explicit outbursts while he inhales Dorothy’s blue velvet fabric, but it leaves one’s curiosity peaked. Lynch provides no easy answers and is always out to confuse and stimulate the eye. These works are all connected by the Camp style and unconsciously translated into current day high fashion and pop culture. Celebrities like Marina Diamandis from Marina and the Diamonds has employed fashion influences from Valley of the Dolls into her Primadonna album, with her staple heart on cheek, bold eyelashes, and signature Hollywood bob. Like-

Camp’s Elastic Legacy: From 1960s Cinema to Modern-Day High Fashion



wise, Lana Del Rey’s glamour is reminiscent of Dorothy from Blue Velvet, specifically with her cover of “Blue Velvet,” accompanied by voluminous femme fatale hair and a pink sweater mini dress. Well-known brands like Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, Demna Gvasalia with Balenciaga, Moschino with Jeremy Scott, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, and even James Jebbia Supreme combine kitsch and cultural appropriation into creating Camp in the form of clothing. Most relevant to Camp style, Gucci’s latest campaigns, including Harry Styles’s Men Tailoring campaign, is representational to evoking Camp with Styles wearing an elaborately designed suit and pant pieces alongside animals like goats, pigs, and dogs. Gucci also turned heads last season with their 2018 Fall Campaign where models held severed heads of themselves or had third eyes attached to their own head. Additionally, Balenciaga is self evident in their usage of ironic kitsch with their famous Super S sneakers that contain a bold color block look with a thick, clunky sole. Creative director, Gvasalia, attributes Balenciaga to meshing internet sarcasm into high fashion seen in their collaboration with the Bernie Sanders campaign and their Ikea sneakers and bags. Consumerism and brand appropriation have also made their way into Camp fashion with designer Jeremy Scott and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac utilizing pop art, bright visual colors, and geometric patterns into cartoons and brand labels in the form of high fashion. Successful streetwear labels like Supreme also culturally appropriate fashion through reappropriating art and films into the rise of hypebeast culture seen in popular collaborations with the cyberpunk film Akira and artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Mike Kelley. Ultimately, Camp is a defining stylistic force in the fashion of our world today, with origins that can be traced back to 1960s cinema, where Campy fashion played an integral part in the understanding of film narratives. Though Camp cannot be easily understood, it yearns for undivided attention that is sure to keep the viewer always challenged, always fascinated, and always fixed on its subject. a book by em


LANCE LOUD “Lance was a gift. He did everything I told him not to do. But he was great fun,” said Pat Loud of her late son—underground artist, pioneering columnist, and gay icon Lance Loud—in a 2013 interview. And isn’t that the very essence of Camp? It’s everything that it shouldn’t be, and yet we can’t get enough of it. That is why, beyond being my idol, my muse, and one of my greatest creative inspirations, Lance Loud is the ultimate Camp icon—and a forgotten one at that.

What is Camp really? A few things rush to my mind when I hear that delicious phrase, namely the ostentatious, candy-coated worlds of Valley of the Dolls, Pink Flamingos, Baby Jane, Mommie Dearest, and the films of Kenneth Anger—each having played a significant part in the self-recognition and validation of my queer identity. Those glitzy, over-the-top artworks provided a form of gaudy, hyperreal escapism as I came of age, reluctantly, within the bourgeois trappings of a heteronormative

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28 WORDS matt mckinzie ILLUSTRATIONS pixie kolesa

world that shamed the startling power of artistic extremism and artifice. At its essence, the aesthetic of Camp is commonly held to be “deliberately exaggerated and theatrical in style, typically for humorous effect.” But beyond this, Camp embodied, to me, the zenith of creative subversion and autonomy— an intentional pushback against oppressive hegemonic forces in a plea for artistic and personal freedom; the ultimate testament of unabashed self-expression. If you took all of

these qualities and gave them flesh, bones, and a beating heart, you would have Lance Loud. I first discovered Lance a few years ago after falling into an internet rabbit hole that began somewhere in the realm of early-70s pop culture, which inevitably led me to the dawn of reality television, and finally to Mr. Loud himself, a forgotten figure immortalized in photographic history but rarely spoken about in mainstream circles. Lance’s family, the upper-middle-class Louds, made history star-

We Haven’t Forgotten You, Lance Loud


ring in the first-ever reality TV show, aptly titled An American Family. But the show’s genre—a verite-style look into the lives of a nuclear “all-American family”—wasn’t its only history-making quality. Over the course of eight weeks, latent familial tumult laid its soul bare before the lens of a PBS camera, with the divorce of parents Pat and Bill Loud, and son Lance’s brave choice to come out to a national audience, sparking global controversy and overnight fame. Lance moved to New York in the early seventies and quickly began work with his childhood hero, Andy Warhol, becoming a prominent face of the underground art scene. His career as an avant-garde mover-and-shaker came at a strange time, beginning less than a year after The Velvet Underground released their final album, Loaded, and creeping in through the rest of the ever-changing decade. Mainstream fads, like disco (which, according to Lance’s mother, he hated), dominated the visible cultural landscape, while the advent of such anti-establishment innovations like punk rock undulated beneath the surface. Lance capitalized on this, starting his own punk band, The Mumps, which turned an already estab-

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lishment-overturning genre on its head. His pouty vocals, equal parts shrill and syrupy, on songs like “Crocodile Tears” and “When in Doubt Just Go,” exist somewhere in the gray area between Yoko Ono and Patti Smith—if you can imagine that. His voluminous hair, myriad blazers, and pink, neon-colored socks (as seen in a rather surreal 1973 Dick Cavett interview) scream 1983—but precede it by ten years. And his stage choreography, so aerobic and over-the-top in its startling velocity, harkens to a type of showy, galvanizing exhibitonism reminiscent of Madonna or Lady Gaga—albeit years before they set foot onto the show business tableau. But what is important to remember about Lance is his intrinsically performative nature. It is easy to judge a book by its cover, to listen to his “bad” (as deemed by conventional tastes) music, gawk at his “tacky” (but nonetheless ahead-of-its-time) fashion, ogle over his seemingly stimulant-fueled on-stage antics. But Lance understood, probably more than any other working artist of his generation, the qualities and inner mechanisms of popular culture—specifically as an art form. Everything he did was intentionally plotted, born out of an acute self-awareness of the media and mythos

We Haven’t Forgotten You, Lance Loud



swimming in the ether around him, and, more importantly, having lived on the margins as a queer man in a deeply homophobic America. One of his best documented lines remains in the aforementioned Dick Cavett interview, where Lance comments: “The New York Times Sunday article about me? That one really hurt me. But then I took two aspirin and it was gone.” The audience responds with uproarious laughter. But what they failed to realize was that Lance was the smartest person in the room. That’s what makes him so quintessentially Camp. His time on An American Family provided him with a legacy that would’ve lasted a lifetime, but Lance wasn’t going to settle on being the butt of the joke, clay molded at the mercy of America’s hands. If he was going to be the joke, it was going to be on his own terms. He would create his own caricature of himself. He would tell the punchline. He would mock his own intoxicating, over-the-top personality, his irreplicable sing-songy voice. He reclaimed his agency from a nation and culture that gawked at his flamboyant display of queer identity with equal parts mockery and fetishization, and made a landmark career out of it—a career built on the virtues of excess and a personal and cultural fascination with celebrity mythos. He ultimately knew that everything around him was artifice, pure window dressing, caricatures and cut-outs feigning authenticity. He was simply the only one brave

enough to say: I am artifice. We are all artifice. Thus, Lance’s entire life is defined by the act of intentional subversion. Subversion of norms, subversion of tastes, subversion with the purpose to lampoon, indict, and ultimately overthrow societal forces that deem what makes art “good” or “bad.” In this way, he is arguably our greatest Camp icon (the man’s last name is LOUD, after all, and what’s louder an aesthetic than Camp?). And for artists of this generation, in a world increasingly hampered with abuse of power and sociopolitical tumult, he emerges the ultimate, anarchist hallmark of creative and personal self-governance. a book by em




INCLUSIVITY IN CAMP WORDS carly mcgoldrick PHOTOS mana parker STYLING noah chiet, michael figueiredo

serino nakayama, mana parker STARRING alexapro, tequila mockingbird, selane deheaux darling

The feeling was sort of indescribable, having crept up the stairs from the dampness of my parents’ basement after experiencing a marathon of John Waters film classics for the first time. I had just turned thirteen. It was summertime and I had successfully avoided spending yet another blisteringly hot day at the swimming pool, opting instead to curl up in the dark, air-conditioned safety of a pillow fort I had made that morning. My sole companions were a bowl of half-popped popcorn and pile of Waters DVDs I had been lent from a friend. There’s something mesmerizing about Waters’ most well-loved pictures, like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Cry-Baby, and of course, Hairspray, and a certain homeyness to them that spoke to me on intimate level throughout middle school, as if my eyes were personally opened by Waters himself to a realm of weirdness and crudeness and bizarreness that I hadn’t known existed. For me, the heftier thirteen-year-old girl with a secret interest in drag queens, John Waters’ films were an escape from whatever fears or anxiBodies of Waters: Inclusivity in Camp



eties I felt as an awkward kid, uncomfortable with her body and appearance and just beginning to grasp the purpose of her existence in the world. Seeing bodies and faces that fell outside of what was considered traditionally beautiful, like those of Waters’ Dreamlanders, empowered me to embrace whatever acne I had or whatever belly roll I tried to diet away. These things simply didn’t matter in the eyes of John Waters, where bigger was better, grotesque was gorgeous, and weird was something to be celebrated. The Dreamlanders refer to John Waters’ troupe of cast and crew regulars, all friends from his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. They include actors and performers like Mink Stole, Edith Massey, David Lochary, and most notably, Divine, the near-mythical drag icon and “most beautiful woman in the world, almost” according to Waters himself. These people, especially Divine, did not fit conventional or hegemonic beauty standards, given that they were mostly overweight, often had their hair dyed unnatural colors, presented unconventional versions of masculinity or feminity, and were generally deemed unattractive by traditional taste. These Dreamlanders made up the cast of all twelve of Waters’ feature films, demonstrating that it’s not necessary for one to be beautiful to be an entertainer. After all, John Waters is lovingly and fittingly referred to in Camp circles as “The Pope of Trash”, given his draw to the unconventional beauty in everyday humans. In an interview for NPR’s Fresh Air in 2004, John Waters told Terry Gross, “I always liked the wrong person. I always rooted for the wrong person. And I always thought that the people that other people thought were ugly were better looking. That’s always been my way of life, and my career has kind of been based on that.” This preference for the abnormal is demonstrative of a greater understanding of humanity, really, in that it accepts someone or something that is traditionally non-beautiful and lacking in ‘good taste’ and embraces them or it as immensely beautiful simply because of its deviance from the norm. In this way, Waters’ Campiness creates a place in the artistic realm for body shapes, sizes, and presentations that fall outside the traditional, ‘tasteful’ norm. The prime example a book by em

is Divine, of course, who is essentially the pinnacle of beauty in Waters’ films, despite wearing gaudy drag and being 300 pounds. Divine’s presence is truly the heart of Waters’ films, as she encapsulates everything strange and low-budget and non-normative that make Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble so enticing. After emerging from the basement with popcorn kernels stuck in my teeth that summer afternoon, eyes likely bloodshot from sitting too close to the screen, I remember my mom asking what I had been watching all



day. I definitely lied. After all, John Waters’ ideal demographic probably wasn’t middle school girls from Ohio, given his films frequently received NC-17 ratings. And yet, the discomfort I felt with my appearance in my adolescence was softened by allowing myself to consume this type of Campy media that was reviled by oppressive, more mainstream forces. Watching these Waters movies alienated myself from my peers to a certain extent, as not all of them found the same sort of charm in Pink Flamingos as I did, but it allowed me to gain a more compassionate understanding of humanity all too rare in today’s society. Part of Camp is acknowledging that what one is watching is not in traditional good taste, but consuming it and appreciating it anyway because it exists. At least in the case of John Waters, there is an unrelenting, unremitting weirdness in his films that is utterly welcoming, and unabashedly human. His message seems to be that all people, regardless of their aesthetics, tastes, or preferential differences, are unarguably human, and for that reason, all things human ultimately concern them. It is unfair for Divine and Waters and the Dreamlanders to be cast aside as bizarre, gross, obscene monsters not deserving of falling within the realm of consumable media, because ultimately, that’s part of the human experience. Isn’t the goal of art to gain as many perspectives as possible, so as to find the root of all life’s meaning? The attitude of Waters’ and the Dreamlanders in their filmography rejects the prevailing social norm of aesthetic cleanliness, that all things in good taste should reflect good a book by em

judgment and a preference for good to prevail over evil. We have become so accustomed to superhero stories and underdog narratives, but really, there’s just a smelly, rich, fertile mess of life in which polar good and polar evil don’t exactly exist in the way we like to think they do. Camp, more specifically, seeks to deconstruct those compartmentalizations we’ve made up and implemented into the media we consume, encouraging us to instead root for the antagonist, or the villain, or the person that isn’t considered beautiful by traditional standards. Waters plays with the idea that these standards are rubbish, really, and that there’s more to be learned from Divine’s Babs Johnson than more traditional protagonists. Waters’ films aren’t Camp at its greatest; rather, its grossest, weirdest, and most diabolical. Any sense of traditionalist aesthetic is thrown out the window, and we’re instead presented with intended ugliness. This daring consumption of said ugliness on the part of the viewer, speaking from personal experience, becomes thrilling. Waters’ films are an exciting challenge, really, in embracing the very grit and dirtiness of artistic counterculture that represent the depths of humanity so well. Human nature, at least in certain circles, is grotesque, so why not allow it to be shown? The classification of one’s aesthetic seems so arbitrary, after all, as contemporary media tries to compartmentalize certain styles and physicalities in such ways that make a predetermined ‘good taste’. Waters’ argues that the idea of ‘good taste’ doesn’t exist at all, or rather, that it does, and it’s exactly the opposite of what we consider it to be. In Waters’ world, after all, weird is good, strange is commonplace, and ugliness is the most gorgeous thing to exist. If ‘good taste’ does exist, it certainly must be one of inclusivity, of accepting and thoroughly embracing those with physicalities that fall outside of what is considered traditionally beautiful, and of grasping at a part of the human experience often untouched by traditional media.

Bodies of Waters: Inclusivity in Camp




WORDS maya pontone PHOTOS mariely torres STYLING noah chiet, serino nakayama, amanda zou BEAUTY serino nakayama, rory willard MODELS henry alper, robbie flanagan, julian lemus, zack lesmeister, nico chimi, jonas spencer

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On the bottom shelf of my white bookcase in the second-floor bedroom of my family home sits a stack of yearbooks from Nathan Hale Middle School and Northern Valley Old Tappan High School, gathering dust underneath a pile of stray papers, old notebooks, and an assortment of other scraps and random knick knacks.

I cannot remember the last time I went through any of these books in the years since I first stowed them away into a long forgotten corner of my bedroom. Flipping through their pages, I involuntarily wince when I see photos of myself from what I consider to be one of the most uncomfortable stages in my life. Flashy braces, questionable outfit choices, frizzy hairâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;at fourteen years old, I still had no idea how to properly smile for a photograph. Like many people, I prefer not to think about this cringeworthy period of my life. Although I know I have grown significantly

in the years since this awkward stage, the insecurities, indecisiveness, anxiety, and loneliness of adolescence remain untouched by the stretch of time, forever captured in five hardcover books containing stiff smiles and sweaty faces. These yearbooks serve as a reminder that as much as I try to convince myself that I have left behind this past, a part of it still stays with me every time I see a photo of myself as a young teenager and blush with embarrassment. The transition from childhood to adulthood is often one of the first moments in which many people begin to recognize and grapple with societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unspoken rules for an acceptable existence under white hegemonic masculinity. Rules regarding gender, rules regarding race, rules regarding sexuality become apparent as teenagers struggle for the first time to determine who they are and where they are meant to fit in. In a society where white, heterosexual, cis-men hold the most power, the current social order relies on the conformity of people to adhere to a gender binary, to a racial hierarchy, to heterosexual ideals in order to continue to succeed. As adolescents begin to

Comfort in the Uncomfortable


explore their individual places in this world, they wrestle with pressures to look, dress, speak, act, and think in a certain way that fits into the mold created by pre-existing power structures. Young people are told to conform to either masculine or feminine ideals according to their biology. People of color are told to play down their non-whiteness by dressing or speaking a certain way that is acceptable. Queer people are told to deny their true sexuality. Confronting these implicit social laws for the first time during adolescence can be difficult and harmful to our sense of self-worth. But despite these challenges, the lonely and arduous journey into adulthood can also be one


of the first liberating experiences in our lives. As children, we were taught to be certain people when we werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even sure what kind of people we wanted to be yet. But as we began to move into adulthood, we questioned this lifelong adherence to conventional principles in an effort to be our own independent persons. The tumultuous confusion and discomfort that we experience during adolescence helps us understand who we are and who we want to be. It is the first time when we rebel against societal norms and redefine them based on what they mean to usâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;even if this self-exploration leads us to make questionable fashion choices along the way. It is this precise beauty in the uncomfortable that lies at the center of Camp. As an aesthetic and art, Camp thrives in the extreme subversion of societal norms. Through fashion, film, performance, and other mediums, it highlights the beauty and value in what traditional standards consider to be inappropriate. It mocks essentialist theories of masculinity and femininity. It focuses on the voices of marginalized groups of people of color. It celebrates the authenticity of the LGBTQ+ community. For every conventional standard, Camp provides an alternative that refuses to not only resist conformity, but to actively rebel against it, weakening the authority of social power structures. a book by em


Comfort in the Uncomfortable

As an art genre that celebrates the unacceptable, Camp serves as an important outlet for individual expression during adolescence. Whether it’s through the fabulous fashion of

drag culture, the ironic beauty in John Waters’ trash art films, or the iconic music and performances of Cher—Camp advocates young people to rejoice in the uncomfortable, to laugh at the ridiculousness of social constructs, and to appreciate the freedom and power in defiance. I still don’t love revisiting my confused and awkward fifteen year-old self, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that it is okay to feel discomfort. If I always felt comfortable and



secure with myself, I wouldn’t have grown into the person that I am today. I look back on myself as a young teenager and think about all the different ways in which I tried to reinvent myself in an effort to figure out who I am: the clothing, the music, the movies, the magazines—and I cringe sometimes thinking of certain choices I made that seemed cool at the time but less so now. And yet, I still admire my determination to try new things during this period of self-exploration, how I forced myself to step outside my comfort zone, whether or not I realized its meaning at the time. My long held disdain for this phase of my life always centered on the negative aspects of my awkwardness, but never recognized the beauty and significance for growth. I did not understand how adolescence was more than an anxiety-filled transition into adulthood, but a journey to self-acceptance. There is comfort in the discomfort, and while it may be scary or overwhelming in the moment—it is these experiences that open us up to unconventional beauty, and help us love ourselves and others for who we are.

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Camp. Yes, Camp. No, not that gross thing you do in the woods where you pee in a bottle and get rashes in places you can’t reach. Camp, as Urban Dictionary defines it, is “something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant, or teasingly ingenuous and sentimental.” Like many people in my circle of friends, and many others I’m certain, I wasn’t sure what “Camp” or “Camp culture” was, even after this extremely vague definition. What people kept identifying as Camp was anything and everything. As long as it was tastefully overdone. It still didn’t make sense. But I’ve learned over the past few years that the only way to truly understand and retain something to just throw yourself into it. So this is what I did. I immersively threw myself into the Campy film scene of the 1980s through one of the most prominently “Camp” pieces of media there is: Little Shop of Horrors. I had never seen this movie before, but I did hear a lot about how the plot revolves around a strange plant. As a vegetarian, I’m all about that plant-based shit. I didn’t really want to do any research for this because I wanted my reaction to be as raw as possible. I completed two rounds of this movie: one was for initial thoughts, and the other was for figuring out the prominence and importance of its Campy-ness in the context of the film. I had my questions set aside, and all I had to do was sit down and watch.


It turned out that I was seriously not ready for this film. It was a truly curious piece of art, and I couldn’t help but have some funny thoughts occur during my first watch-through. Here are snippets of instantaneous thoughts following some mind-tottling scenes:


Frank Oz—The muppet guy? Wait, how do I know this song? Did Glee do a cover? These extras look like they’re right off The Walking Dead set… (I felt the urge to moisturize after). Wow, Audrey’s voice is annoying.... and that hair! I swear to God that Jack Antonoff ’s whole look is based on Seymour Krelborn. So Audrey would rather be a domesticated housewife instead of a sexy working woman?

Little Shop of Horrors: A Walk-Through


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Yep, there you go. An intro to my mind. So, what makes this one-of-a-kind piece work as a “Campy” movie? First off, it is directed by the famous Frank Oz. He is, for all you non-Muppet fans, the puppeteer and performer for The Muppets characters Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam Eagle. If any of you were wondering how Audrey II was making its obnoxious vines move all over the place, it won’t come as a surprise that it took sometimes more than 40 pairs of hands to move the damn things around. Little Shop of Horrors was the first time Oz played a purely directorial role, and it’s definitely clear he wanted to sprinkle his puppet magic all over that set. Aside from the mind behind the madness, the film’s Campiness is projected through the fantastical musical numbers, as they provide insight into the inner desires of the main characters. They all state exactly what they want in song, and from there, the plot is driven by said song as the character works to get there. Seymour pines for the girl of 56 his dreams, Audrey, and does anything, even chop a man to pieces, to get her. He gets his hands on the body in the first place because he sets out to kill his soon-to-be sweetheart’s boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, DDS. Seymour ends up a victim of the doctor’s frustration about failing to inflict pain upon Bill Murray’s character (who is another reason for the film’s Campiness). The doctor puts on a gas mask to enhance the pleasure of pain and dies of asphyxia, shortening the plot’s timeline. The fact that the film is a musical helps the plot progress much quicker as well. Each number acts as a behind-the-scenes segment, helping the rest of the events to get straight to the point. Additionally, the plot is driven by something out of this world. Audrey II is initially an alien creature that descended to earth to suck the blood off of every last living thing. The sci-fi element works in contrast with the

Little Shop of Horrors: A Walk-Through

lighthearted, musical aspects, while the surreality of the plot accentuates the stupidity of it and of the characters. The main character Seymour tries to come off as this pure-intentioned, honest-working, underdog of an orphan, but he really was the one committing all of the bad in this; he had the intention of killing Orin and then chopped him up for Audrey II, and pushed Mushnik forward so that he fell into “Towey”’s mouth, continuously giving into the plant’s demands, and so on. He’s a slave to a plant. The dentist, Orin, could


have been the subject of his very own movie. I would even call him iconic. He is the most misogynistic, outdated character of a man you could ever imagine. He hit his girlfriends and wanted to cause physical and emotional pain to everything and anyone around him. I think Steve Martin did a great job of being so animatedly sadistic. It made the blood between my veins burn. Campy, right? And this isn’t even the half of it.

Would it be as interesting and entertaining of a movie without all of these elements, regardless of how uncomfortable and odd they may be? Definitely not. I’ve found that this very bizarreness is what makes Camp truly Camp, and is definitely what makes this movie as special and as iconic as we now know it. We are often so afraid of the obscure and unimaginable that we are scared to venture onto new grounds. I think once you’ve been introduced to the world of Camp and all that it is, you will never want to leave. a book by em



Little Shop of Horrors: A Walk-Through

PEAKING OUR WORDS sam bratkon COLLAGES peter henry


INTEREST a book by em


It has been 30 years since Laura Palmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body was first discovered on the shoreline of Twin Peaks, Washington. Since then, the cult classic series has sparked a string of firsts in television, specifically being the first time the Camp style was demonstrated successfully on network TV. Directed by David Lynch, the show offers a collection of Campy scenes that add to the fascinating and immensely frustrating nature of the show. Three decades later and a half dozen episodes into the revival, the viewer doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even know what questions to ask, nevermind expect to get any answers to them. Peaking Our Interest


Before Twin Peaks, the Camp style was mainly reserved for films to be appreciated by creative types willing to watch prolonged scenes filled with flashing images, distorted language, and silence so painful the viewer begged to hear even just the wind blow between the iconic pines of the western state. The show frustrated viewers, who the night before may have been watching Full House or Family Matters on the same network. But the audienceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s response to the show proved to producers that the American public was willing to put in the hours to discover who killed Laura Palmer, regardless of the confusion the Camp style embedded into each scene. This changed network television history. Simply comparing the two platforms the show aired on is eye-opening to the change in the entertainment industry the series paved the way for. The show originally appeared on ABC, where family sitcoms held a monopoly on prime time hours. The revival was released through Showtime, a network starkly different from the former. Almost the entire original cast is back for the reboot.

When watching Twin Peaks: The Return, prepare for nudity, drugs, gore, and peeing on camera. These topics and themes, along with teenage drug use and the sexual activities of a 17-year-old girl, were scandalous to outright mention on air in the early 90s, and are now embraced with gusto in the revival. These motifs have now been assimilated into modern television, destroying barriers and making possible shows that exploit the previously unmentionable, such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. The newest season is still incredibly frustrating for viewers, who are just begging for answers to the hundreds of questions already racing through their head when four new chara book by em


Peaking Our Interest



acters are introduced and a little boy is plowed down by a coked-up driver in a pickup truck. And yet, when that hypnotic theme music plays, I just can’t look away. There’s something about the red room, the over-acting, and the screams so forceful you better be watching with headphones if you have roomates. This style, which has been proven impossible to replicate in successful network television, has become synonymous with David Lynch. This paved the way for a multitude of his movies to become popular with Camp fans throughout the 90s.

That’s the thing about Camp, and about cult classics in general. They are successful where they are appreciated. And isn’t that what matters most? a book by em


WORDS erin christie ILLUSTRATIONS queenn mckend

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As Susan Sontag describes in her 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp,’” “The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.” Camp is largely defined by is unconventional approaches to identity: to gender, sexuality, and autonomy, as in, what it means to be a human being. As opposed to more conventional, socially-embraced genres, Camp creates a unique voice for those who stray from the cobblestone path, who are unafraid to make a statement and break the mold. Artists who exist in this category of creation are innovators in their own right. Even if unintended, they make waves and do so unapologetically. They shock their viewers. They create awe. Camp itself is difficult to define, and moreover, confine or pin down. When we typically think of “Camp,” or any other descriptor, what first comes to mind is visual imagery: from Lady Gaga’s meat dress to Madonna’s cone bra to David Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust– we are drawn to what we can perceive physically. Music, as in, the sound itself, creates a completely new sub-category for the genre: is it possible to describe something that we cannot fully “see” as “flamboyant” or “extreme?” If you know anything about Björk, you may remember the uproar that she caused upon arriving at the 73 Academy Awards buried in a feathery tulle with the limp neck of a swan draped over her shoulders (or you might at least recall Hannah Montana’s parody of it). Apart from her press scandals, Björk

has remained a symbol of the “strange” for decades, her mind having manifested countless pieces of brilliance in various mediums since her early 20s, a frontrunner in terms of the “Camp” sonic movement. Björk is a master visionary through-andthrough, not only a musician, but also a screenwriter, a poet...a mastermind. Her songs are not stand-alone, but rather cogs in a full-blown machine, a piece of Bjork’s The Sound of Camp


personal universe: “[Her songs] have physical character, whom Björk will portray on the album cover: the shy-girl songs of Debut as a virginal innocent in silver mohair; the volcanic beats of Homogenic as a patriotic warrior; the tribal rhythms and trumpets of Volta as a wanderer in electric blue, neon green, and red,” Emily Witt of The New York Times Style Magazine writes. Throughout her expansive discography, each piece of composition comes to life through Björk herself, through her shrill, sometimes thunderous vocal range, to an accompaniment of brash synths, orchestral maneuvers, and an occasional brass symphony. As is customary of Camp, her style is hard to define, if not by one word alone: manic. Con-


sider the Chris Cunningham-directed music video for her single, “All Is Full of Love,” in which the singer’s face is superimposed onto a hyper-realistic robot, engaged in one of the most human acts possible: sex, love, feeling. Throughout her discography, Björk has remained unafraid to discuss the concepts of being human, but also the experience of

being a sexual being, as Camp emphasizes. Throughout her work, too, Björk has made a point to comment on the future and on technology in ways many other musicians and artists have not. She exhibits this in unique ways through the lyrical content and production of her works: “Björk is on the cutting edge of finding ways the new media technology can enhance and expand the aesthetic experience of music, rather than deplete and cheapen it,” declares Simon Reynolds of The Guardian. He undeniably makes some points: with a popular opinion reducing electronic music genres to “unsophisticated trash,” Bjork manages to spin that mindset on its head. Björk, in her creative drive, seems to exist in a world all her own, far ahead of her time.

Stemming from Björk, we have seen a rise in attributions of complex production styles throughout more modern recordings. Under the umbrella of “art pop” or “synth pop,” artists have begun experimenting with the advantages that can be gained through sound manipulation, and integration of one’s personal style into a new wave musical construction. It is important to note the genre’s interesting approach to the relationship between sound and color. Charli XCX, for example, who has begun to rise within the “art pop” realm due to her experimentation with production, has a condition known as synesthesia, in which the stimulation of one’s sensory pathway triggers stimulation in another—in her case, as is the case with many, experiencing sound leads her to associate said sound with color (this being known as Chromesthesia). She notes loving songs that she associates with black, pink, purple, or red (in an interview with BBC’s Mark Savage in 2013). “If I’m writing and I can’t see what the video will look like in my head, I know the song isn’t for me,” she said. Claire Elise Boucher, more popularly known under their moniker, Grimes, exists along the same path as Charli, noted for their place on the boundary of synth pop and the unknown. Since the Vancouver-born singer-songwriter and producer’s debut on the scene, they’ve made it clear that their intention was to be

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68 anything but the world’s next “pop princess.” 2015’s Art Angels, Boucher’s most recent full-length record, is legendary, even if one doesn’t have the time to delve fully into its mechanisms. As seen in the work of Bjork and Grimes, the accompanying visuals add vital elements to one’s experience of the music. The music video that accompanies singles “Flesh Without Blood” and “Life in the Vivid Dream” creates a picturesque nightmare, seemingly directed by Sofia Coppola herself. In Act I, Boucher gallivants around a bubblegum pink tennis court, a vision in a neon orange Marie Antoinette-esque gown and purple Victorian wig. Later, said character is seen drenched in blood, having been stabbed and killed by another character that Boucher portrays, a demon-like cowboy hat-clad monster, seen earlier carefree and jumping on a

The Sound of Camp

bed bountiful with money and rose petals. “Kill V. Maim,” another lead single, is, as Boucher described in an interview with Q Magazine, “written from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Pt. 2, except he’s a vampire who can switch gender and travel through space.” “The notion that Grimes is ‘only’ a man”—in reference to the lyric “I’m only a man/ I do what I can”—“brings up an interesting point about gender reducing and limiting the self,” writes Meghan Richardson of Medium. Though Boucher is presented in primarily “feminine” ways throughout the video’s duration—as the leader of a group of city rat vampire cyberpunks, donning a crimson cape and strutting around in a bustier x bodysuit—their role as a murderous, unforgiving mob boss creates an interesting commentary regarding oftentimes performative gender roles. With this single and within their entire discography, Grimes has retained a knack for zeroing in on the psyche of the anti69

hero, spelling out how one ought to behave versus how one might desire or feel inclined to—they remind us to “be aggressive” and

give into animal-like instincts, lose control, and make a scene, as Camp encourages in its existence alone. Especially as a genderfluid individual, their stance within the discourse is especially important.

Camp, though it can oftentimes be viewed as “strange” and “niche,” branches far and wide, managing to combine elements of technology, gender expression, color theory, and our standard concepts of love and loss seamlessly. Through artists like Björk and Grimes, we’re able to see and understand the world through an entirely different lens, one filled to the brim with bright (and sometimes scary) imagery, onesound-tracked by booming bass and delicate strings. a book by em

SAFETY CAMP WORDS delia curtis


Looking in the mirror, you feel empowered. The new three piece suit you bought hugs you in all the right ways, sitting on your curves, emphasizing your feminine physique. Maybe you add on a skinny tie or a brightly colored lipstick. Or perhaps you slip on a silky dress and it grazes over your pecs and you glaze on some glitter liner and rouge your cheeks, feeling happy with your reflection. Whatever it is that you put on—however your body is—it makes you feel good. At least in the comfort of your room. The second you step outside it’s possible that you might not be feeling as confident or strong as you did just moments before. The outside world, full of heteronormative and cisnormative standards in accordance to one’s

For generations and even centuries, people all over the globe defy gender norms when it comes to physical appearance and gender expression, often breaking boundaries by wearing something or changing their hair or body to the dismay of the masses. Through these

generations, whether it’s cisgender men doing drag, cisgender women wearing pants—it can cause some scary and unintended consequences for one who defies the rigid norms set in place by one’s society, usually in the favor of cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied/minded, upper-middle class, white people. Often defying these standards can result in discrimination in the form of verbal abuse, physical violence, trauma, or general fear. Even with these consequences, people continue to be authentic versions of themselves and present appearance and way of styling themselves, can themselves in ways that make them feel combe incredibly oppressive and even compromise fortable and at peace, embodying who they are one’s personal safety. in the way that they dress and act. But places like bathrooms and locker rooms, in addition to other public spaces, become a battleground for safety and security for marginalized groups, making them more vulnerable to violence and discrimination, solely because of the way they are or how they express their gender outwardly. In this way, makeup, clothing, and expression of gender and identity as defined by the rigid norms, binaries, and expectations of our culture, can put up barriers. a book by em

Holden Bender-Berstein (he/him/his), a bisexual trans man and student at Emerson, has had some issues regarding his ability to conform to cisgender norms stating, “I guess I’m kind of flamey, like people rarely assume that I am a straight guy even if they assume I am a cis guy. As a transmasculine person I like to express my gender in ways that make me feel like me, while still conforming to societal norms of maleness so that I can avoid being misgendered. If I could get away with wearing liquid eyeliner without getting misgendered I absolutely would, but alas, it has proven itself not worth it…I [also] fill in my eyebrows every day because I am naturally very blonde, but choose to dye my hair brown, because I think it makes me feel most masculine and most attractive to have my bright blue eyes pop against brown hair, but dye simply will not stay on my brows. I actually really like eye makeup, and ironically enough filling in my eyebrows is something that helps me look significantly more masculine, but I am always worried that someone is going to notice or point it out, or that that will be the giveaway of my transness in places like my work or the gym where I like to be stealth because it is easier.” There is something paradoxical about supposedly “safe and secure” places becoming spaces that can be violent and discriminatory, but in ways some lawmakers do not assume it

will be, like the violence inflicted against marginalized people. Though this has become the case in recent years, queer people of all sorts have found solace in a variety of different outlets and places. From underground dive bars to pride festivals and parades to drag shows and ball culture, queer people continue to find ways to express their gender identity in places that accept them for who they are. The internet and other forms of media also allow for people to come to terms with their gender identity Safety Camp


and expression, like YouTube, Instagram, or even certain types of films. Some forms of media, like Camp films, take gender expres-


sion to a whole new level, often stretching the traditional definition of gender to be expansive and all encompassing. They manipulate the way it can be expressed, creating space to test the limits and boundaries of these norms. In the case of the film But I’m A Cheerleader, a Camp cult movie, young lesbian and gay teens are sent to conversion camp and are subjected to traditional gender norms from clothing to actions, with girls dressed head to toe in sporting skirts and the color pink and boys dressed in pants and the color blue to help them fit the defined roles, along with teaching them to be more masculine and feminine. The film’s use of conversion camps and their employment of gender-normative behavior doesn’t actually condone it, but rather satirizes and critiques it through its Camp style and dramatization, showing how wildly unnatural these rigid norms are. This film has helped to define generations of queer people, being praised and cherished for its ability to make people feel included, often being a place of refuge for persecuted populations in an ironic, yet comforting way, creating a way to find solace in the strange, wacky, weird, and wonderful. The swash of glitter, suit and tie, skinny jeans, undercut, shaved sides, purple hair, or bright poppy lipstick should be worn with pride. These elements can often help one most authentically express who they are, their innermost identity, their essence as a human being. Gender expression, whether your own or someone else’s, is personal in more ways than anyone could ever know. The more the world understands that gender is an amorphous spectrum, the sooner we can reach our full potential as a society, and we see that things like Camp, in our movies, our music, our fashion, and our art, have created a space in the culture for just that. Allowing people to exist as they please is a right that no one can infringe upon, queer people and personal gender expression winning battle after battle. a book by em


PHOTOS ellie bonifant MODELS mo herbert, hanna el-mohandess, lin vega, samuel stroup STYLING noah chiet, serino nakayama, eileen polat BEAUTY michael figueiredo, rory willard

a book by em










PHOTOS noah chiet MODELS henry aceves

james la bella joshua erskine simeon granada dev-davis lorton mia miller isabella murano cassie poirier issel solano-sanchez destani stewart yijun zhong STYLING noah chiet








PHOTOS kate gondwe bobby fresh, cataclysm, phil MODELS atio, randy andy, tj barr STYLING noah chiet, kate gondwe, serino nakayama













coco luan










PHOTO/DESIGN enne goldstein FEATURING denzil leach, em spooner, emma unterseher












PHOTOS yuhan cheng MODEL hiroki kawai STYLING serino nakayama BEAUTY rory willard













mana parker & katrina “chappie” chaput


a book by em


ILLUSTRATION pixie kolesa


Copyright Š 2019 em Mag. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from em Mag except in the case of crediting both em Mag and the artists. Should you have any questions pertaining to the reproduction of any content in this book, please contact Cover image by Mana Parker. Book design by Enne Goldstein, Kayla Burns, Chloe Krammel. First edition printed in BOSTON, MA 2019. Typeset in Broadsheet and Balboa Condensed from Adobe. Printed by Lightning Press Book Printing in the USA. Website: Instagram: @emmagazine

spring 2019

Profile for Enne Goldstein

em Mag - Spring 2019  

Spring 2019. em Mag published an art book as opposed to an art magazine.

em Mag - Spring 2019  

Spring 2019. em Mag published an art book as opposed to an art magazine.