The only thing worse than writing an editor’s note is writing an editor’s note in the summer. It’s the season for escaping to cabins in the woods, reading on beaches, drinking in parks, and making out with crushes on humid nights. It is, above all, a time for fun. And while we always take great pleasure in putting out cléo (we do!), our August issue is always tinged with the frustrations that come with adhering to deadlines when everyone—and the weather—is encouraging you to romp about. This is, in part, what made us think CAMP would be a perfect summer theme: if us editors couldn’t always join in the fun, then, dammit, we wanted to be reading about it!
But beyond our oh-so-selfish desires, we were more curious about the multifaceted meanings of CAMP, and how our writers would relate to this at once literal (bonfires, marshmallows, mosquitos) and abstract (cue the Susan Sontag) concept. (We’d like to thank illustrator Emily May Rose for so elegantly capturing the space between the two in our original cover art.)
Our writers—who also sacrificed much needed vacation time to pen these perfect pieces—took up CAMP in varying ways. Anupa Mistry writes on Bollywood’s camp aesthetic and how coming to love it is part of her diasporic identity. Willow Maclay addresses the transmisogyny of Sleepaway Camp (1983) with both a poetically personal and critical lens. Sara Black McCulloch faces the feuding women in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) to look at how the film pits the star personas of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis against one other. I took this opportunity to write about one of my favourite films of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road, in relation to the action genre. Abbey Bender decodes the dazzling Portfolio (1983), a direct-to-video cult classic set in the fashion world. Frequent contributor Sophie Mayer explores the work of Jamie Babbit and “girl camp,” and Simran Hans looks at constructing camp in three excellent but too frequently maligned films: Showgirls (1995), Crossroads (2002), and Glitter (2001). Davina Quinlivan paints a new picture of Elizabeth I, framing her as a feminist camp icon used by the likes of Sally Potter to Beyoncé.
We’re very excited to have Fatima BG, Veronica Fitzpatrick, and Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite expounding the dirty details of sex at summer camp in sleepover favourites such as Dirty Dancing (1987), Little Darlings (1980), Friday the 13th (1980), and Addams Family Values (1993). Our Women to Watch feature is back again, this time with our own Mallory Andrews on Ana Lily Amirpour’s genre and gender bending work A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014).
So stay in. We’re bringing summer to you. <3
– Kiva Reardon
August 10, 2015