Monday, December 10, 2018

Dan Savage’s Porn Fest Hits Austin

Dan Savage gets dirty in Austin with his amateur porn festival at the Marchesa Theater, September 5-6, 2014 with a curated selection of his favorite shorts all played on the big screen.

Most people either know Dan Savage for his relationship and sex advice column, Savage Love, or as the co-creator of the It Gets Better Project. What many people don’t know is that back in 2005 he challenged his Pacific NW readers to create good, old-fashion homemade porn. With no limits or stipulations, the winning shorts represented the full spectrum of titillation and fetishes — straight, gay, transgender, and more all. And just like that the HUMP! Festival was born.

“We bill HUMP! as an amateur porn festival. But it’s more than that,” says Savage. “It’s rare for people to watch porn that takes them outside their comfort zones—it’s rare for people to watch porn that, if they were home alone in front of the computer, they wouldn’t choose to click on and watch. At HUMP! straight people watch gay porn, vanilla people watch kinky porn, gay people watch lesbian porn. And people laugh, they gasp, sometimes they cover their eyes. But at the end of every film people clap and cheer. It’s moving and wonderful and newcomers don’t expect it. The whole festival is a celebration of sexual diversity.”

Nearly a decade later, Savage has taken 20 shorts of his personal favorites, mixed in with some of the most popular audience picks throughout the years, and taken it on the road, creating the HUMP! Tour. A collection of hilarious, thought-provoking, artistic, sometimes sad, and often outrageous films viewed together, in an audience, on the big screen.

Make no mistake, these aren’t cinematic masterpieces. This is porn. You get that right away from the opening animated piece, Rumpy Pumpy. The animated penises, vaginas and anuses are a giveaway. There’s a little bit of something to keep everyone engaged during the 90 minute screening.

Although there are a few shorts with some high production quality, like The Beat a short about the morning ritual of a Mormon missionary (and a cute one at that) and Ouroboros a circular story about a (very hot) hook-up told in reverse order … without any of that pesky mind-numbing dialogue. Not exactly high-quality, D4U is pretty cute with its story of interspecies love.

Some shorts were artistic in their simplicity. The Perfect Stranger and Music for 2 Humans were just that. Simple casual sex. While Magic Lover used a little simple stop-action to make a otherwise boring short, cute. One of the submissions was actually thought-provoking, as Krutch reminds us that people with disabilities get off too.

There are the mockumentaries. The Legend of Gabe Harding, a documentary about a renowned (and unlikely) fluffer on a porn set. Then there’s Mythical Proportions, the mock doc about three women and their fetish for centaurs, complete with stop-motion animation using crude puppets. There are your sci-fi entries with the time-traveling, got-to-save-the-world Go Fuck Yourself or the “Shut up and take it, space whore!” from E.T. 2: Dark Territory.

There are the typical porn, like Hot ‘n Saucy Pizza Boy, that is about as cliche as you can get with the whole gay pizza delivery set up, complete with cheesy dialogue. D&D Orgy where your co-ed game of Dungeon & Dragons gets all hot and steamy … and kinky. Then there is Tuff Titties, your not-so typical garage mechanic got-your-lube-job-right-here scene.

There are the shorts where people explore their limits, like Lauren Likes Candy where a tender evening together for two women ends up with a scene involving a chain-link fence, zip ties and clothes pins. Edged is about a college boy exploring edging and discovering that his only way out is by not getting off. Then there is Fun with Fire which involves flash paper and some woman’s vajayjay.

There always are those submissions that I just categorize in the WTF. Pie Sluts is right up there with that naked, pie-in-the-face action, that I apparently don’t get. Right after that is Go Ahead, Pee!, which involves a leotard and a trampoline … I’ll just leave it at that.

If Dan Savage accomplishes anything, it will be to have gotten straight people to sit through hot gay, lesbian and trans porn and for gays to sit through some rather tame straight porn. But, either way, it will be interesting to see a new generation see porn the “old-fashioned” way … in a theater, on the big screen, with others.

The HUMP! Tour is presented in Austin at the Marchesa Theate in partnership with the Austin Chronicle on September 5 at 7:30 and 9:30 PM, and September 6 at 7, 9, and 11 PM. Tickets are $20 and available online at www.humptour.com.

Dan Savage’s HUMP! Tour ticket giveaway