A whole bunch of cultural theorists (most notably Susan Sonntag with her essay “Notes on ‘Camp’“ from 1964) has already tried to define what “camp” is, but the term has always remained ambiguous and like words such as trash or porn is usually used in very subjective ways. There also has never been a real “update” of what camp could mean today, in times in which it seems to happens less frequently that products of mass culture or practices of queer subculture such as drag appear to be naive and genuine enough to actually call them campy.
A new very promising sounding festival entitled “Camp/Anti-Camp: A Queer Guide to Everyday Life” at HAU theater Berlin will now try to revitalize the discourse around camp and ask for the relevance of the term, especially for contemporary queer culture. The 3 day-long event (April 19-21) curated by Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel is packed with queer highlights such as a performance of Warhol star Holly Woodlawn (picture on top), concerts of rock artists such as Jayne County and Kembra Pfahler (with her band “The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black”) and further stage appearances of performance artists such as the New York downtown legend Carmelita Tropicana, Brooklyn-based Narcissister and the Austrian artist-duo Jakob Lena Knebl/Hans Scheirl and others.
The shows will be accompanied by various lectures and presentations by theorists and artist such as Douglas Crimp, Diedrich Diederichsen, Elizabeth Lebovici, José Muñoz, Juliane Rebentisch, Bruce LaBruce and Richard Move. The daily line-up will be concluded daily with a Vaginal Davis‘ talk show performance “Speaking from the Diaphragm” and is complemented by a film program at Arsenal cinema.
The movie series will already start next week with film classics “Copacabana” (March 19) and “Salome” (March 23). For tickets and more (German) information check out HAU Online, for the “Camp/Anti-Camp” film series check out the Arsenal website.
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