October 2015


Why I went to Denver when I went: Hump!

For family reasons I visit Denver once a year – the timing is always a bit in question – last year was October, this year also October – this year because Dan Savage brought the Hump! Tour to Denver.

Hump is, as he explained it, an accident: back in 2005, Dan Savage and a colleague put an advertisement seeking amateur porn films in the Stranger, Seattle’s alternative newspaper, as a joke. And it remained a joke until submissions arrived.

Ten years later, Hump! is a Seattle institution.

And there’s sufficient demand to take the films on tour, amusing audiences with amateur porn films across the States.

After becoming aware of the Hump! Tour and its dates, my dates for Denver were set.

Saturday night I went to the 8:30 showing of Hump!, where I got to see Dan Savage, in person, for the first time in my life – a personal hero of sorts, I would label him the single most important gay voice in America today. Best known for his relationship advice column, and now podcast, he’s important to me because he constantly advocates for progressive causes and rants against conservative assholes – rants that often spill over into major media and shape conversations. If not for Dan Savage, Rick Santorum’s last night might be associate with a respectable politician. Instead it is associate with the unwanted byproduct of anal lube and fecal matter – which pretty much describes Rick Santorum in general.

Enough about that: The Hump! Tour consists of 18 short films that have previously shown and been stars at the Hump festival in Seattle or Portland – in other words, the cream of the crop.

Strangely I’ve seen one of the 18 films before: Butthole Lickin’ – it was shown at the 2010 Bloomington Pride Film Festival – and it was so good I embedded it into the blog way back then. In case you missed it, here it is again:

As for the rest, there were some outstanding films and there were films that left me scratching my head as to what exactly they were about. But I guess that was the fun of it – the audience seemed to, in general, agree about the best ones: The Grocer, the Glory Hole, Anal Alley, and Beethoven’s Stiff.

And while there was plenty of nudity, some intercourse, and some climatic moments shown on screen, not one of the films meet the general definition of “porn” – if your definition of porn immediately imagines Hustler Magazine. (It might if your definition of porn includes Playboy, even before the recent announcement that Playboy is losing its nudity.)

Trying to describe the specific comic genius of these films would be, basically, impossible – and destroy the point of seeing the films.

So instead, a bit about the audience: incredibly mixed: ages, genders, ethnicities – in other words, Dan Savage has an incredibly diverse fan base that shows up. To me, it was a microcosm of America’s future – once the boring white conservatives die off. Or get converted.

If you have the opportunity to see Hump! – Do not hesitate.

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