Debauchery at Camp John Waters

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Debauchery at Camp John Waters
I distinctly remember seeing the original movie Hairspray in the theatre, as a child. I was mesmerized by the music, the clothes and Divine. I remember my father explaining to me that the main character, Tracy’s mother, was really played by a man. It was the first time I became aware of drag queens. My life changed forever that day! Every time Hairspray played on TV I glued myself in front of the TV to watch it.
 
After Hairspray, I saw Crybaby and it was the start of my Johnny Depp crush. Again the songs, dancing, and clothes are what interested me. Both films had a very cartoon-like feel to them. It was a world I knew nothing about but wish I lived in. 
 
It wasn’t until many years later when I was living in Los Angeles, that I was exposed to Pink Flamingos, Polyester, and Female Trouble. John Waters in my mind was both genius and trash all wrapped up into one and I loved every ounce of it. Dirty movies with plots so ridiculous and absurd;  you couldn’t not watch them. Characters so over the top that you wish you knew them in real life. I wanted to jump into the screen and live in his zanny world. Never in my life did I think I would have the opportunity to be a part of it!!
 
That was until they announced that Club Getaway was hosting Camp John Waters. A weekend summer camp hosted by John Waters. It seemed like a joke no way this could be real. But it was! I immediately went onto their website and the event was completely sold out. I emailed Club Getaway requesting to be put on their standby list in case there were any cancellations. Less then 24 hours later they e mailed me back stating that they had opened up camping spots. I immediately booked our camping spot regardless of the fact that I had never camped before in my life. Such a minor detail could not and would not deter me from a weekend in the world of John Waters! 
 
We entered the campgrounds in Kent Connecticut (which I am convinced is the backdrop for every great horror movie. It is both serine and a bit creepy all at the same time. I could totally live there, at least in the spring and fall) an hour early. We checked in, signed a release form and carried our bags and newly purchased tent and sleeping bags onto a big blue school bus. I led the bus in one of my favorite camp songs from my childhood, Down By the Bay (long live Hunters Run Day Camp, in my memory at least, as the property was sold off many years ago and turned into a housing development. I hate progress). As I looked around the bus, I realized that I surrounded by the most interesting people! It was an eclectic mixture of every race, sexual orientation, hair color, clothing style and musical taste. For once I felt as if I belonged and that everyone on the bus were once the outcasts, yet here we were all accepted and not judged for who we were.
Our Camp John Waters Halloween Tent
 
The bus dropped us off in the middle of the camp. Green grass, lush woods, a perfectly still lake with lily pads, cabins and down a hill; the campgrounds. Jimmy and I set up our tent, decorated it for Halloween and ventured out to explore the campgrounds. There were aerial obstacle courses, giant swings, oversized chairs that overlooked the lake, tennis courts, basketball courts, bungee trampolines, zip lines and a bunch of buildings and tents. Soon it was time for dinner. A John Waters themed menu was passed around. We ate, made small talk and then the 300 plus guests started to cheer and scream. John Waters himself entered the tent. Dressed in one of his crazy suits and his pencil mustache, he stood on the stage and got a standing ovation that lasted almost as long as his speech did. He then sat down at a round table in the center of the tent and ate his dinner with us all. Then there was another abrupt cheer as Mink Stole entered the tent. She sat down next to John Waters and received her own standing ovation. I was in hog heaven. Not only was John Waters a mere 20 feet away, but Mink Stole was as well.
 
Camp John Waters menu
After we finished our chocolate poop mousse, John Waters read us a bedtime story from his book Car Sick. Some of the guests then went down to the Boathouse for a dance party and Karaoke, the rest of us went to our campsite and went to sleep. Contrary to what people told me, I enjoyed sleeping in the wilderness, listening to the crickets and frogs while they lured me to dreamland. 
 
The next day we woke early, got breakfast, and headed to the aerial park. We climbed 40 feet into the air and managed to get through the obstacle courses. We climbed up a tree and did the Geronimo drop, which was a free fall drop attached to an apparatus that caught you and slowed you down before you hit the ground. We zip lined and did the giant swing, which felt like flying as you were hoisted up then dropped and swung up to 20 feet in the air. We went to the lake and I relaxed in the pink flotation flamingo. We also learned how to stand up paddle board! We got to see a performance by Pissi Myles.
 
When we were done, it was time to get in line to meet John Waters!
 
As I waited in line, Jimmy ran down to our tent to retrieve our pink flamingo lawn ornament and can of hairspray to get signed. While saving our place in line, I struck up a conversation with the very intoxicated gentlemen behind me. His name was Scott and he didn’t have anything to get autographed, so I told him to ask John Waters to autograph his ass. He said that if John Waters agreed to that, he would take it to his tattoo shop to have them make the autograph permanent!
 
I also had a promise to my friend Amanda to keep. That promise was to give John Waters a kiss. As our turn approached, I got super excited and nervous. We approached his autograph table and we had John Waters sign my flamingo and book. We asked him to write something dirty on the back of Jimmy’s book, so he wrote the word ‘dirty’ and signed it underneath. Then I told him that I had a very strange request. I explained that Amanda wanted me to give him a kiss, and he told me that I could kiss him on his cheek. So I leaned down and kissed his cheek, which my husband was unable to get a photo off, so he allowed me to kiss him again! Yes dear readers I got to kiss John Waters not once, but twice!  We thanked him and I told him that the  guy behind us had an even stranger request. 
Sure enough, Scott asked for John Waters to sign his ass. Mr. Waters replied that it would better if he signed a piece of paper and the tattoo artist just copied it onto his ass. But Scott was adamant about it, and so, John Waters obliged. The Scott dropped his shorts and John Waters signed his first name on the left butt cheek and his last name on the right. The line's applause were defining.
 
That evening, I popped Jimmy’s John Water’s cherry by making him watch the public viewing of Female Trouble, which if you have never seen an old school Waters film, is a very difficult one to digest and I’m sure he had little to no appetite for dinner afterwards.
 
We dined that evening among a crowd of die hard core fans who were all dressed to the nines in their John Waters themed costumes. I simply wore my new Roach Skirt inspired by the dress worn by Ricki Lake in Hairspray. Some of the costumes were so obscure I couldn’t tell who they were. 
 
After our meal, we had the pleasure of seeing John Waters perform his Filthy World stand up routine. Which he obviously received a standing ovation for. 
 
We slept another night under the stars as some of the guests partied to the wee hours of the morning. Photos of the debauchery ended up on the private facebook group for the campers. During my LA Days I did go to some pretty crazy parties, but none compared to what was photographed at the lake party that evening! Those photos are too graphic and not appropriate for a public blog!! But if you want a visual, it involved a man on all fours butt naked with his frank and beans showing and something that I can’t describe being done to him while someone snapped away photographic evidence of the fun. 
 
We woke the next morning to one of the guests playing his ukulele, ready for our last day of fun. I did flips on the bungee trampoline, and  made ornaments at Arts and Farts. We also took a canoe across the lake and back, payed dodge ball and bingo and attempted to participate in a burlesque class. We enjoyed lunch with facebook friend and Sweet Midnight customer Kellie who was there with a friend of hers.
Finally, we said our adieus to the new friends we made.
It was so nice to be surrounded by like minded people in an environment where it was accepted and appreciated. We didn't have to put on face facades for our friends, family and co workers. It was us being us in a place where we were all equals. It was beautiful.


Until next year Camp John Waters!!! I can't wait!!!!

 

 

And if you are wondering, yes Scott took his ass to his tattoo artist and had the autograph made permanent. He added 'Property Of' in front of the signature so next year John Waters knows who his bitch is!

 

 

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  • Renee Harper
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