Photos: Sundance Team Captains: (from left) Mark Pipkin, Karl Zoric, Max Dick, Bob Hoffer, Ward Ellinger, Chris Beagle, Glen Pruitt, Laura Simon, and Cathin Bishop. Auction Co-chair Natalie Moss with a signed guitar from C.F. Martin and Company. (T-shirts available at CAMP.)
Behind the Scenes: The Love Dream
This Labor Day weekend will be the 27th Sundance!
Here at CAMP Rehoboth the excitement is palpable, and stacks of multicolored Sundance t-shirts and brightly colored posters line tables in the CAMP Rehoboth galleries. All over the building Sundance supplies are tucked into special places awaiting transport to the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in the days leading up to the big event. Lists have been made and remade and checked twice: mass quantities of cable ties, duct tape, gaffer’s tape, Velcro, fabric, flowers and foam core, have been ordered—not to mention, enough sound and lighting equipment to produce a Broadway play.
The countdown has begun!
For months, Sundance Team Captains have worked to make sure that come Labor Day weekend the biggest party of the summer is ready for a magical journey to Rainbow XXVII: The Love Dream — Return to Xanadu. Just recently, the Team Captains met for the final time before moving into the Convention Center on August 25. “Moving” is the right word, by the way: it takes a moving truck to load-in supplies from the Sundance storage unit—as well as assorted pick-up trucks, vans and SUVs—plus three more trucks for sound and lights.
Sure, it takes a lot of stuff to make Sundance happen, but it also takes the time, talents, and energy of a great many individuals—and that is what makes Sundance extraordinary to me. Just take a look at the numbers for this year’s event: 27 Sundance Team Captains overseeing several hundred volunteers—and all made possible by over 300 individual Sponsors, Supporters, and Hosts.
In 2014, Sundance has become our traditional way of ending the summer season. Back in 1988 when it started, it was a determined effort to not feel so helpless in the wake of the destruction that AIDS was having in our lives. I’ve often wondered since then, what our world would be like if there was no AIDS. The early years of the AIDS epidemic pushed the LGBT community to take our future into our own hands. It taught us how to overcome adversity; it created leaders; it gave us the confidence to know that we can change the world around us, and the courage to step into roles that others might have filled if they had survived. I’m certain, that CAMP Rehoboth would not be what it is today without the lessons we learned during the years when so many of our friends and loved ones died of AIDS.
For me, Sundance has a way of wrapping all those years—and the ones since—into a beautiful package of memories. Perhaps it is the fact that so many supporters and participants have been a part of the event for decades, but every time I step on the Sundance dance floor, I feel its history—and I feel the presence of all those who should still be dancing at my side and in my range of vision. That said, Sundance is never a sad occasion to me, and in truth, even the hard work of producing it inspires me, and gives me the energy I need in the coming months and years.
The center of this year’s Sundance graphic is a lotus flower design constructed from hearts. A quick look at the ancient symbolism of the lotus flower reveals cultural differences in interpretation: to the Egyptians it was a symbol of rebirth in the sun; in Buddhism it represents purity and spiritual awakening; in Hinduism it is beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality, and eternity. For us, it’s “the love dream,” which in a way is a kind of rebirth—the unfolding of a life lived out of love.
I’ve said it before in the pages of this magazine, but peel away all the layers of my soul, and I’m still a hippy at heart—I still believe in the power of love. More importantly, I know from experience now, love really does change the world. Part of the inspiration for this year’s Sundance comes from Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu,” and in that song is found these words: “And now, open your eyes and see, what we have made is real. We are in Xanadu.”
Just think about the changes that have happened in our lives since those “hippy” days. Just think about the changes our reaction to AIDS has wrought in our world. None of that would or could have happened without LGBT people coming out of the closet and making our love visible to the world around us. Within our lifetime, we have been reborn as a new people, filling a new place in the culture around us. Do we understand our role in the world? Outside of a few poets, artists, and visionaries, probably not—but we are getting there slowly.
I’ve talked about my nieces and nephews a lot these past few years—the gay and the straight ones. The youngest is now a sophomore in high school. For each and every one of them, I want “the love dream” to be real. I want them to know beyond any doubt that they can absolutely love a new world into existence.
In the end, Sundance is just a party. To me, however, it always was and always will be about more than just coming together to have a good time. The first Sundance was a 10th anniversary party for Steve and me, and it was built on our love, the love of our friends, and the love of a community working to make the world a better place.
We talk about it a lot, but CAMP Rehoboth’s “house and heart” logo and vision to be the “heart of the community,” is simply another version of the love dream.
Sundance is many things to many people. Some of us have never missed one; some are Sundance virgins. Whatever it is, please join us for the 27th Sundance this Labor Day weekend. Both nights of Sundance are awesome in their own way, but for me it is all about the dance—and the best way to enjoy it is to come early and stay late. DJ Mark Thomas and our wizard of a light man, Paul Turner, will create a beautiful journey best experienced from start to finish.
A place where nobody dared to go;
The love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu
Come on! Let’s dance!
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.