I imagine the religious right's idea of Portland looks a lot like the Hump film festival: a crowd of young, drunk liberals gathering to watch amateur porn.
The crowd for the Saturday midnight showing at Cinema 21 was loud and giddy, as usual. They funneled into the theater and swiftly threw their jackets over their seats so they could stand in the never-ending line for more beer, also as usual. This being an election year, however, the films were a little more political than they've been in the past. Hump, which started in 2005, is an annual showing of short amateur films submitted mostly by people in the Pacific Northwest. Itâs organized by Dan Savage of Seattleâs The Stranger and its sister publication The Portland Mercury.
This year the festival features 27 short films that audiences judged for best kink, best humor and best sex, as well as best in show. Among the kinky is Dinner Party, which features some culinary knife work that gets a little close to the genitals for comfort. In the humor category, stop-motion animation injects whimsy and magic into an otherwise ordinary sex night. The film Alice and Miles is a graphic yet beautifully made piece of erotica. Almost every film includes shots of packing peanuts, one of this yearâs âextra-credit propsâ (kudos to the stop-motion animation producers who substituted packing peanuts for semen).
Festivals like Hump, which is admittedly questionable in taste, are refreshing at a time when the country is divided ideologically. When some would infringe on the rights of othersâwhat they can do with their bodies, who they can marry, what they can do in the bedroomâa sex-positive celebration like Hump is an equally strong push in the other direction.
Some of the strongest political commentary came from Toeing the Line, in which a cute gay couple does raunchy gay things at Chik-fil-A and every other anti-gay business in recent memory. Another short features a power bottom who, after ravaging himself with his sex toys, puts on his Mormon name tag and leaves his apartment with a coy smirk.
Whatâs nice about Hump is you can see how the other side lives, sexually. Krutch, an eye-opening film about the sexuality of a handicapped woman, is likely to have echoes after the festival. A film featuring sex between two transgendered men had one audience member asking âWait, whereâd his penis go?â They say the closest your nearest neighbor, the more likely you are to be democrat. And you canât get any closer than the bedroom.
SEE IT: Hump 2012 is at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave, 223-4515. 4:30, 7, 9:30 and 11:59 pm Saturday, Nov. 10; 4:30, 7 and 9:30 pm Sunday, Nov. 11. $15. All screenings sold out.