With registration opening today for next year’s Camp John Waters, here are the top 10 things we learned about the inaugural adult summer camp experience, according to a recent article in the New York Times:
(Waters told The Baltimore Sun on Monday that the camp “was a staggering experience. But the piece in the New York Times was even more staggering. It gives new meaning to their slogan, ‘All the news that’s fit to print.’”)
1) The article is headlined, “Camping With John Waters and His Band of ‘Filthy Freaks,’” which may tell you all you need to know — for good or ill.
2) The three-day September gathering, held at Club Getaway in Kent, Conn., attracted some 400 campers who paid up to $599 for the privilege of hanging out with Baltimore’s favorite reprobate, dressing like characters from his movies — if there is a Guinness World Record for most Divines per square foot, this event may hold it — and engaging in activities the Times’ photographer strained mightily to make suitable for a family newspaper.
3) Campers were asked to sign a waiver forbidding “excessive, inappropriate or disruptive actions.” Yeah, right.
4) A young John Waters was once a camper himself, and don’t you wish you could have been there? Waters told the Times he attended a camp in the Baltimore area called Happy Hollow (it was off Padonia Road, in Cockeysville). “I learned so much as a young man from summer camp,” Waters told his namesake campers. “I learned to smoke unfiltered cigarettes.” According to the website summercampculture.com, former Orioles executive Andy MacPhail also attended the camp, though most likely not at the same time (Waters is 71, MacPhail 64).
5) While at camp as a youngster, Waters experienced “the first surreal moment in my life” — Backwards Day, when he and his fellow campers ate dinner for breakfast and wore clothes backward. A life-changing moment for which we should all be thankful.
6) Frequent Waters accomplice Mink Stole was also present for the camp, where she led everyone down to the boathouse for karaoke.
7) Beer was served at Saturday morning’s flag-raising ceremony. An oversized bra was run up the pole. (Divine would have been so proud.)
8) Dominique Maciejka, owner of a vintage clothing store on Long Island, was offering for sale all sorts of things for the well-dressed Waters aficionado, including lace masks, rainbow suspenders, bow ties and “kaleidoscope crystal glasses.”
9) Camper Alastair McQueen brought along a portrait of Waters he had painted with his genitalia (look, the New York Times reported this, not us), then asked Waters to sign it (and by it, we don’t mean the painting). “I can initial it,” Waters said, invoking a line from Truman Capote.
10) When it was over, Waters thought it all went swimmingly. “It’s like Jonestown,” he said, “but with a happy ending.”
Registration for Camp John Waters 2018, set for Sept. 14-16, opens at noon today at clubgetaway.com. Better hurry.