The 150th Wing: Cameron Lee

by Rea McNamara on April 29, 2016 The 150th Wing

Screen shot of @MarilynMansion (Cameron Lee) Instagram outfit selfie.

Screen shot of @MarilynMansion (Cameron Lee) Instagram outfit selfie.

What does a face found in a pile of glue, an umbrella that gives you the finger when opened, and a dancing butt have in common? Primarily, they’re all images we found on our Instagram feeds. But perhaps more importantly, they’re the kind of images you’d expect to find if you landed in 150th wing of the Internet and discovered a very strange party going on. They’re weird, they’re fun, and they’re very creative.

And as a part of the “weird internet” many people bemoan has been lost, they’re a bit hard to find. But they’re out there, and we’re here to find them. From now on, every Friday we’ll be posting highlights from a social media account of a member from this society.  

First up, @MarilynMansion, AKA Cameron Lee. The Toronto-based artist, curator and DJ promises, in his Instagram profile bio, “delicious deelites [sic] for your eyeballs.” Specifically, outfit selfies taken before he heads out the door to DJ one of his parties, which includes FEMINISTRY, a “Queer Femmes 2 The Front” monthly happening tomorrow night at Bloordale’s Holy Oak.

#4NonBlends #SiousxieTween

A photo posted by Cameron Lee (@marilynmansion) on

What makes Lee’s outfit selfies are the hashtagged captions, locating more precisely (as well as playfully) Lee’s mood board inspirations, even though the look is complicated by the dual meanings. Take the above selfie from August 2015. Both hashtags, in their initial play on band names, obviously reference opposite ends of feminist rock sounds: 1990s San Francisco alternative (Four Non-Blondes) versus 1980s goth (Siouxsie and the Banshees).

But does #4NonBlends allude to its era’s shapeless silhouette, or the equally period-specific platinum on black floppy curtain lid? And does #SiouxsieTween suggest a wacked-out Siouxsie Sioux black eye Youtube make-up tutorial, but the raglan sweater and iridescent shift evoke Hot Topic throwback. There’s a feigned earnest quality here in the failure to emulate idols correctly.

It’s like a burning sensation, but like, itchy…

A photo posted by Cameron Lee (@marilynmansion) on

The clashing pink and red monochromatic blend, the spider logo, the disco ball half-face masquerade mask. It’s Jean Gray Phoenix cosplay, but stuck in a K-Hole. Comments ping around Lee’s burning sensation: “itching”, “inflamed”. Whatever the case, this widow has bite.


A photo posted by Cameron Lee (@marilynmansion) on

In 2014, I saw Lee give the performance during the AGO’s First Thursday monthly event, coinciding with their Francis Bacon and Henry Moore show. Who is responsible? was a tour of the Henry Moore sculpture centre, and Lee weaved through the space covered in a white bed sheet, emulating the sinuous lines of Moore’s stones and bones, but also giving totally non-sequitur commentary that came from a snobby art purist in a seniors arts engagement program who lives and dies by their Liona Boyd records.

Anyways, this look reminds me of that performance, suggesting a continuity in Lee’s sly art historical poses.

#ReBaieByRebee #TFWitsTFW

A photo posted by Cameron Lee (@marilynmansion) on

I was a lifestyle editor for ARTINFO at that peak moment where labels were mounting collaborations with artists and pushing overload limited-run rebrands and capsule collections. So, when I look at the above photo, I see a lot of local and Canadian fashion references abound. Off the top, there’s the long white dress emblazoned with the old logo for the Bay, one of Canada’s oldest department stores. (It’s like Saks.) The tongue-in-cheek aspect of course, is using the French-Canadian (“Baie”), and by tweaking it as re-baie, it’s either a cross between rebrand or rebate. I also like how this outfit literally looks like a shopping bag.

A photo posted by Cameron Lee (@marilynmansion) on

This was Lee’s look from last weekend’s Hotnuts, a long-running Queer West drag party known for its dumpster trash pageantry. The theme was “Shlumpadinka Couture”, riffing on the Oprah-endorsed zen of letting go, and lounging on your couch in a snuggie. I love how Lee anthropomorphizes as a Paul Frank monkey in Paul Frank monkey-logo onesies pj’s, but with the tiered skirt and pink fun fur trimmed Birkenstocks. It looks like a socialite going to a furries convention for the first time.

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