At an erotica film festival that includes footage of a couple having sex while skydiving and a man inserting a stick of butter into himself, the nastiest, the filthiest, the most grotesque and offensive thing to appear onscreen are red "Make America Great Again" hats, and sadly, that prop shows up in almost all the films. Here's why:
HUMP!, as all but the most vanilla types likely know by now, is the 2005-founded independent film festival of amateur porn and porn-y, perv-y shorts. They're funny, artsy, sexy, and feature all kinds of bodies, genders, acts, kinks, and couplings (and triplings, and quadruplings, and so on). The festival's aim is to make porn great again, or rather, to celebrate the medium and the myriad tastes it can convey. Here's this year's promo:
In particular, HUMP! presents an opportunity for folks to make and submit movies anonymously and enjoy the thrill of being a porn star for a limited time only. At screenings of the festival, which began this week in San Francisco and will continue across the US and Canada this year, viewers are told, insistently, to turn off their phones: Recording the action is against the rules lest these actors become stars forever on the internet against their wishes.
HUMP!'s founder and curator is Dan Savage, the sex advice columnist and LGBTQ advocate behind such campaigns as "It Gets Better" and a movement to create a filthy neologism around anti-gay politician Rick Santorum's last name. Suffice it to say that Savage is no fan of republicans nor, particularly, of Donald Trump. Here's the problem there: As is customary for the festival, filmmakers were encouraged to include gag props in their films, sneaking them in as "watermarks" to indicate that the films had been made for HUMP!. This year, in a choice made during the presidential primary season, one prop was a red "Make America Great Again Hat," and the other, which was in fewer films, was an accordion.
Hearing that news at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco's Mission District last night, the crowd gasped loudly, and the announcer apologized, advertising his remarks, knowingly and with good humor, as a "trigger warning." At the Stranger, the Seattle alt-weekly where Savage is Editorial Director, he wrote an explanation.
Every year, when we do the call for submissions, we invite the filmmakers to include a couple of random props in their movies. HUMP! filmmakers have fun working the props into their films, HUMP! audiences have fun spotting them. This year's props: the accordion and "Make America Great Again" hats. In our defense: Again, we pick the props when we do the call for submissions and the call for submissions for HUMP! 2016 went out a year ago—back when no one thought Donald Trump could possibly win the GOP nomination, much less the fucking election.
While I was worried, initially, that this could legitimately destroy the fun of the evening, the hats actually offered some subversive laughs. Consider a "bro" wearing one backwards while blowing his "bro" (all while standing over a gimp), or another hat that acts as a receptacle for a used condom.
For those wondering, yes, there are some "watersports/golden showers" in this year's HUMP! but not, as far as I noticed, with MAGA hats involved. Sad!