Hump! Fest and what it does for sex

Every year, Washingtonians gather in a small and dank theatre in Seattle’s downtown to witness history in the making. Hump! Fest, an amateur Northwest pornography festival, is a yearly celebration of that most carnal of pleasures, when a man and a woman, a man and three women, or a man and a man and a woman who was once a man get together to show the world that they’re sexy too.
The format is the same year after year, amateur and professional participants try to create the most cinematically pleasing porn they can muster, and then send it to contest judges. The judges then choose what will be shown at the theater, and the audience decides which movies deserve cash prizes worth thousands of dollars.
All submissions are anonymous and all extra copies are destroyed onstage after the show so as to assure ongoing anonymity. Their motto is “be a porn star for a day, not the rest of your life.”
The presentation of this event is an awkward arrangement when you and your group finds themselves in a sweaty theater filled with hundreds of other viewers, and then all of a sudden the screen brightens and some guy’s blowing a load onto the camera lens. Some members of the audience probably wanted 3-D glasses, but there were none.
It’s also very awkward to know that about a hundred of the people in the theater want to whip it out and follow suit with the man on the silver screen.
But there was something almost magical about what was being shown and done in that room. Despite the fact that the subject matter was profoundly adult, there was something demystifying about the whole ordeal. One’s sex life is generally considered something not to be shared with others, and porn is a quiet affair because of projected shame, but this event allows for something organic to happen. It’s animalistic in one sense but presented in a way that is uproariously human.
Take the chosen pieces for this year’s Hump! Tour, a tour carrying Hump! Fests greatest accomplishments. These are all insanely popular pieces, and it is quickly apparent that it’s in no way a collection of your granddad’s smut. Humor pieces, stop motion pieces, tragic pieces, even pieces brought to life by claymation, the show was a veritable rainbow of lewdness. Of the 13, only about three really relied on the sex to bring the story on, many relying upon plot, wordplay and cinematography to carry the story home, which is an exceedingly rare sight for pornography.
This event takes away the shame of gathering with people for a lewd entertainment purpose. Religious organizers often picket the event for being the devil’s work. Many of the adventurous movie goers would have said the devils work is exactly what those organizers were doing by suppressing a form of artistic expression (and again you don’t know artistic porn until you go to Hump!), but no one in the audience seemed in the least bit persuaded to picket their churches.
Ironic displacement of morals aside, the Hump! Fest and Hump! Tour events are something worth every cent, if only to prove to viewers that sex can be more than a matter of humping.