May 16, 2024

Gray Gordon
(336) 926-6490

New Film Series for Pride 2024 Summer Camp!

“Welcome to Summer Camp! 

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

About our speakers: 

Chris E. Vargas is a video maker and interdisciplinary artist. He earned his MFA from the Art Practice department at Berkeley in 2011. He is the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a critical and conceptual arts & hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape. His recent book an extension of MOTHA, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects (2023, co-edited with Christina Linden and David Evans Frantz) brings together a wide-ranging selection of artworks and artifacts that highlight the under-recognized histories of trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming communities.

Greg Youmans is associate professor of English and film and media studies at Western Washington University. His essays on queer and experimental film have appeared in Camera Obscura, e-flux, Los Angeles Review of Books, Millennium Film Journal, and the Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema among other publications. His first book was a study of the groundbreaking 1977 documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (dir. Mariposa Film Group), and he is currently at work on a second that is tentatively entitled “Something New Under the Sun: Bay Area Queer Filmmaking Across the 1970s."

Event Details:

Name: Pride @ Pickford: Summer Camp!

Dates: June 6th - June 27th

Location: Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St. Bellingham, WA


Program Details:

Jennifer’s Body - June 6 - intro from Greg Youmans

All About Eve - June 13 - intro from Greg Youmans

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? & Mommie Dearest - June 20 - intro from Chris Vargas

Showgirls - June 27 - intro from Chris Vargas

Pre-camp Pride kickoff: The Wizard of Oz -- in partnership with Whatcom Youth Pride -- May 27

Founded in 1998, the Pickford Film Center serves the Whatcom community by screening independent films 365 days a year, producing and presenting the annual Doctober film festival, the Bellingham Children’s Film Festival, numerous film series and special events. The Pickford offers free documentary film showings to all Whatcom middle schools through Doc-ED and partners with students and schools for many other events during the year.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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