Film

Hump!

Let’s get it on
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Bellingham is, by and large, known as a pretty liberal place. Indeed, our liberal nature is referenced often when it comes to the political climate here, our building practices, our fashion sense and pretty much all aspects of what is often perceived as our free-and-easy lifestyle.

But for a supposedly liberal bastion, we aren’t exactly all that liberated.

For instance, while you’ll soon be able to buy marijuana in any number of locales around town and you can already purchase a stunning variety of things out of which to smoke it at several longstanding and respectable local businesses, if you’re looking to buy yourself a lap dance, you’re going to have to travel at least an hour either north or south to find a place to do so legally.

Not that I’m advocating for a strip club on every corner, mind you.

But strip away the flannel and the Carhartts and you’ll find not just a bleeding heart, but also a surprisingly spicy side to this City of So-Called Subdued Excitement. This racier element sneaks out at various burlesque shows, the monthly installments of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School and assorted other sexy events, but it will be on loud and proud display Sat., Nov. 9 at the Pickford Film Center, courtesy of Seattle’s most irreverently outspoken alternative newsweekly, the Stranger.

Since 2005, the Stranger and its sister publication the Portland Mercury have put on a yearly film festival in which amateur porn makes its way to the big screen—in a big way. Dubbed, appropriately, Hump!, the festival is a largely unvarnished and wholly enthusiastic look at how average people interpret sex in all its many cinematic forms.

Dreamed up by the fertile mind of Stranger Editor and all-around force of nature Dan Savage, the festival began as an offhand idea during a brainstorming session among Stranger staffers. Savage floated the notion of putting all Seattle’s kinks on display on the big screen, someone else on the staff mentioned Boston’s amateur erotic video contest You Oughta Be in Pictures, Savage issued a challenge to all of Seattle via the Stranger’s blog the Slog in which he referred to Boston as a “dull chowder town,” and Hump! was born.

With Savage as its founding father and the Stranger’s knack for all-out, in-your-face promotion behind it—not to mention the public’s inherent, insatiable curiosity concerning sex in all its many forms—the success of the fledgling festival was all but assured.

To be sure, since that auspicious beginning, which featured two showings at Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum, Savage’s big, sexy baby has grown into a multi-city film festival, one that, for the first time ever, will feature a showing at Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center.

While Hump! seems like little more than an onscreen lark (a lark that comes complete with hefty cash prizes for its winners, mind you), as with everything the outspoken Stranger editor does, there’s a method to Savage’s sexy madness. A tireless, incredibly effective advocate for creating a more sex-positive world, Savage, via the creation of Hump!, has engineered an event that not only entertains, but also helps celebrate sexuality in all its many types and forms. And if it happens to spur conversation—and spur audience members to create Hump! entries of their own—so much the better.

As for what you’ll find at this year’s incarnation of Hump!, here are just a few of the short film titles and descriptions provided courtesy of the Stranger (warning: explicit content ahead): “’Mouthpiece:’ A real-life marching band gets figuratively sexy;” “’Art Primo:’ Gorgeously stylized (plus hot and sweaty) sex between women;” “’Planet Girth:’ An animated short about horny rabbits;” “’Raiders of the Lost Arse:’ Sexy animated Disney Parody;” “’Japanese Catholic Lesbian School Girls in Love:’ Just what it says, and animated”—and those are just the ones tame enough to make it into print here.

At press time, it was unclear whether Savage himself will make his way to Bellingham to host our first foray into the world of Hump!, but if he’s not there in person, he’ll certainly be all over Pickford Film Center’s big screens—in spirit, anyway. And much like losing your actual virginity, when it comes to Hump!, you’ll never forget your first time.

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