By Jules Prosser
I went to Hump! Fest for the first time this year. Boy, was I excited! I knew it was going to be weird. I knew it was going to be delightfully uncomfortable. I knew it was going to be a sexy time. Being a fan of all of these, I was counting down the hours until 11 p.m., the second and final showing.
On the day of the show, I walked on the bus and sat down on the seat in front of a friend. We discovered that we would both be attending the same screening. I mentioned I was bringing a date, and we discussed the potential repercussions of doing so. The conclusion was, the reaction of your date will probably predict the trajectory of your relationship with them.
Everyone should go on a date to Hump! Fest. It’s a fun little experiment, I promise.
A little about Hump! for you headscratchers: The first festival was in 2005, in our very own little corner of the world. It was started by alt-newspaper The Stranger and spearheaded by editor and columnist Dan Savage, and was received excellently. The goal was to be alternative and all-inclusive, a celebration of kinky goodness and weirdness. An important thing to know about Hump! is its anonymous nature. The festival prohibits recording, and most of the films are unavailable to the public, as to avoid the whole embarrassing viral porn video phenomenon of this age. So basically, you can film yourself fucking a bunch of giant stuffed animals in party hats, and none of your friends or coworkers or exes will ever find out! That is, unless they were weirdos and went to Hump! as well.
I took my special friend there on a hot date. It was at the Capitol Theater. We were excited to watch girls make out with each other, and to make out while watching them make out (but that was mostly due to the fact that neither of us had ever made out in a movie theater, and we both figured Hump! would be a good place to start). However, the opportunity never presented itself.
I went to Hump! Fest hoping I would see less cisgendered heterosexual dudes doing their cisgendered heterosexual dude thing that I have come to fucking detest. I was disappointed. The festival was oversaturated with dicks and dudes. For the better part of two hours, I watched 10-foot dicks prance around in pussies, assholes, costumes, and green screens. I watched 10-foot dicks dance to fun songs and talk to one another. I watched 10-foot dicks getting dipped in whipped cream. I face-palmed often during these parts. I was embarrassed. I wanted to see literally anything else than dick humor.
However, I must admit, a lot of the phallic/comedic bits were pretty clever. There was one film, “The Collector”, about a very dweeby dude with a vast collection of cum. Cum from all sorts of folks–lots of celebrities–and in all sorts of containers. His girlfriend fucking hated it, and the film ends with a surprisingly lurid scene of her aggressively splashing the mailman with a huge bowl of the stuff. Everyone laughed. I groan-laughed. That scene was already done in Ted 2. Is once not enough?
“Film Bonoir” was another over-the-top short, about two guys role-playing with their dicks. One of the guys was really into acting out a private detective fantasy. For several minutes, we all watched as dicks in costumes made ridiculous puns in silly voices, in the style of black-and-white film noir (see what I mean?). I have mixed feelings about putting clothes on dicks. It is kind of awful, but kind of perversely cute at the same time. If that was the aim, then well done, filmmakers!
There were some nice, artsy hetero films with pretty hipsters fucking in nice lighting. One of them was even shot entirely with an iPhone. Can you fucking believe that?
Hump! definitely was not completely comprised of heterosex: queer representation was plentiful. While there was also inclusion of trans individuals and people of color, it seemed disproportionate to the amount of cisgendered white folks presented. There wasn’t any representation of disabled individuals, and most people were on the thinner side of the spectrum. In this way, Hump! was disappointing. As a platform for the potential empowerment and visibility of marginalized groups, who are the most flagrantly fetishized in mainstream porn, Hump! should embrace its rare ability to provide accurate and positive portrayals of these peoples’ sexualities to a large audience, while simultaneously giving them the agency they deserve. I think Hump! understands the necessity of visibility and inclusion, but not completely. Hump! can be much, much more than just raunchily comedic and Instagram-artsy.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I enjoyed myself. I loved when girls were pissing all over each other in the Katy Perry parody “I Fist a Grrrl” (it is exactly what it sounds like). Seeing 40-year old moms getting their pubes singed in “Unicorn in the Castle” was rad. I was on the lookout for stretch marks and zits, and I was not disappointed. Hump! is very human, which is its aim.
Is going to Hump! weird? A lot of people think so. To me, it was the most natural thing I could possibly do (kind of). Most of the people waiting in line outside were people I knew, and it wasn’t even that bad. I thought it was kind of neat to be surrounded by my peers in one room, all sexually aroused. So no, I don’t think it’s weird. I’d imagine a lot of people do, but I don’t talk to any of them.
All in all, it’s cool that Hump! exists. You should go to support fellow weirdos. You should go and feel horny and feel alright about it. You should bring a date there.
By the way, my date went swimmingly. Even though we didn’t make out.