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Saturday, November 13, 2010
I wandered into line about 6:30 last night outside the Cinema 21. The show I had come for, the sixth annual HUMP! Amateur Porn Festival, had been sold out for days. Tickets went fast for all of this weekend's six screenings. I lucked out and managed to snag a rush ticket and was one of the last five "pervs" allowed into the theater. I managed to find a spot towards the back of the balcony and had to stand up the entire time.
I've been curious about the festival for a few years now. Given that HUMP! is sponsored by The Seattle Stranger and The Portland Mercury, I figured that the shorts would be closer in nature to a Suicide Girls spread than a RedTube video. And who comes to something like this? I figured the crowd would be comprised entirely of leering guys in trench-coats.
Actually, the audience was an even mix of men and women. An usher stood watch in a corner of the balcony, occasionally telling viewers not to sit in the aisles, but also watching to make sure no one got too "excited." A few times he ran over and a shined a light on people for reasons I don't really want to know about. He definitely kept a close eye on one couple that were sharing a seat.
The shorts themselves are mostly humorous. A film parodying Mad Men features a dead-on intro of a black silhouette tumbling from the Space Needle. Drained Balls involved a couple going at it on top of Robocop pinball machine. There's also The Coffee Boy, a send-up of porn cliches that also mocked Portland stereotypes. In this one, a delivery boy is seduced by a hipster girl in a studio apartment over near NW 23rd. In the middle of everything, she tears open a bag of ground coffee and flings it around the room. Another crowd favorite, The Nun and the Bum, involves a sister who takes who love for Jesus far past the point of piousness. And I should also mention "The Hotel Uranus," a Claymation film clogged with Play-Dough aliens merrily enjoying an orgy on an otherwise dull interstellar Saturday night.
Other selections fall flat. A short featuring a satanic baby is irritating and shocking for the sake of being shocking. "Attack of the Triple Ds" is incomprehensible and, worse yet, features 3-D that doesn't actually work. The festival's second short contains enough misogyny to fuel a entire Womens Studies thesis.
My favorite HUMP! short was the bittersweet "Hi, I'm Pon." It consisted of a series of snapshots set to an awesome, slow-build electronic soundtrack. What starts out as a series of sickly-sweet text messages and an ensuing Hallmark-esque relationship mutates into a tale of well-justified revenge after the protagonist discovers a lewd message on her boyfriend's phone. The last shot is perfect. Since you'll likely never get a chance to see this, I'll reveal it here. "Where's the cord for your digital camera?" "Why?" "Oh, there's some pictures I'd like to get off it."
I can see why tickets for the festival sold out quickly. Here's hoping next year's edition adds a few more screenings.
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