Toronto
2 min

Lolita falls in love

She found a man wrapped up in plastic

JAMBOREE. Look at that hair; wigless Wednesday is a lie.

Wigless Wednesday sets the mood for the week.



The parade of trashy drag outfits down wooded camp trails is the first big social event at the Out And Out recreational club’s annual Jamboree.



Not a frequent visitor to the world of drag myself, I assumed the alter-ego of Lolita, complete with short-short baby-doll, ruby red accessories, heart-shaped sunglasses and lollipop. On my arm was one of the starring outfits – a guy wrapped in his plastic, movie star shower curtain from home. He looked fabulous.



But Jamboree is not all about glamour. The down-to-earth, grown up queer boys and girls tripped back to a Haliburton-area homo camp that is now in its tenth year.



Brit Lowes’s Timberlane is a camp for Jewish city kids the rest of the year, and so equipped with canoes, kayaks, windsurfers, sailboats, floating docks, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, volleyball court and more. It’s a queer jock’s wet dream – morning classes in Tai Chi, a pick-up game of baseball or an afternoon marathon swim across the lake – although the favoured activity is still sunning and swimming at the lazy main dock.



“Frank and I do a lot of traveling and go many places,” says Jamboree chair Joel Rotstein of he and his lover. “But this is my favourite week of the year. It’s incredibly affirming to be in an all gay environment all week long. It represents the opportunity to live one week of the year the way that straight people get to live all year and not having to look over his shoulder.”



Rotstein adds that he prefers Jamboree to more commercial all-gay vacations because the $270 cost for the week (this year, at the end of August) is a lot less exclusive. It’s 10 to a cabin, with crackling, plastic covered mattresses.



There’s plumbing, but hot water is only available in the central showers.



As with all Out And Out events (and the club is one of the gay community’s most active and successful, with hundreds of members and dozens of activities every month), Jamboree is volunteer driven. Participants offer their own workshops in everything from massage and how to navigate a non-monogamous relationship, through to ultimate Frisbee and solo canoeing.



Night times are filled with card games in the mess hall or partying at either of the late night cabins (nicknamed the Beejou and Studio 54) after the occasional organized dance. Or if you’re lucky, a make-out session out at the chapel (oh, it’s all so adolescent). Although with the shortage of private space, there’s a whole lot more sex that reaches the level of conversation than consummation.



This was Lolita’s first year at Jamboree – and I was filled with trepidations going in. I do better in groups of 15 – and not 300! I didn’t want to feel trapped and I didn’t want to be hit on all week long. I was familiar with all-gay and lesbian environments like the bars – and God knows, I didn’t want to live there for a whole week.



My concerns quickly dissolved in the casual environment that is Jamboree. I laughed a lot; I walked around naked a lot; I talked to some fascinating people; and I even managed to finish reading a novel. Sign me up early – Lolita will be back next year.


Out And Out, the outdoors and recreational club, can be reached at (416) 925-XTRA xt. 2800.