Kelly O

There is something so inexplicably beautiful about being jammed in a theater with a couple hundred strangers for the purpose of watching, together, an 8-foot-long cock squirt its 4-foot-wide load all over a 12-foot-tall screen. I mean, who does that? Seattle does. Over three thousand people did last weekend at the Stranger's fourth annual HUMP! amateur-porn festival; tickets sold out in record time, three more shows were added, those shows sold out, people were turned away.

"What's it LIKE?" ask friends who've never been or who couldn't get in. Um, it's fucking weird. It's sexy, funny, disturbing, and supremely enlightening weirdness. Since I'm one of the lucky folks who get to see all the films in both the jury stages and theater test-screenings, I get a little numb to the individual gems, all those shiny golden moments that each and every film has.

When I finally do see the films with the real live audience, I tend to forget to even look at The Great Big Squirting Cock and instead watch the crowd. I love-love-LOVE hearing and seeing people react to the scenes that I know are coming (heh)—love waiting for that shoe to drop, the crowd to gasp or laugh on cue; love the dimly lit voyeurism in trying to covertly see who the hell that drunk lady is who's laughing so loudly and uncomfortably through the entire hour and 45.... I try to find the straight boys who're groaning at everything and anything a-n-a-l. I feel a burning need to locate the guy who keeps uncontrollably snorting, and I can't stop staring at people as their emotions change when the jokes are suddenly replaced with real sex—when that authentic lesbian fisting was lighting up the screen, I watched the faces of the suddenly silent gay men sitting next to me. This year, I was also seated in front of one of the films' entire crew. I couldn't see them, but I could hear each and every word, every excited whisper, and one women's absolute and pure GLEE upon seeing her 8-foot-tall, uh, vah-jay-jay hit the screen.

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After HUMP!, everyone wants to go somewhere, anywhere, to talk about what they've just seen. The most post-porn- apropos place seemed to be the Mecca Cafe. Here I immediately overheard a couple critiquing a film for its "lack of taste." I asked them if they had ever made a film for HUMP! "No." Well, would they consider making one for next year? "No." I tried to explain how making the films is what the festival is really about, that's there's nothing quite like watching people squirm, laugh, even cheer for YOUR vah-jay-jay up on the screen, YOUR tattooed penis sliding into a Fleshlight™, YOUR broom from YOUR apartment with a vibrator strapped on the end of it. What if it had been YOUR idea to make balloon people with balloon boobies and balloon balls who actually have real balloon sex? Your idea—YOURS! They laughed in my face and ordered another drink. Well, okay: I'm guessing they will never-ever-never have the balls, even the balloon balls, to create anything as terrifyingly critiqueable as an amateur porn film. Never. So let's take the time, right here, right now, to give a thumbs waaay up to the brave souls who did, each and every one, EVERY submission. None of you have balloon balls. Nope. All your balls are big and round and made of shining gold. recommended

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