By Victoria Powell
I had the chance to speak with Dan Savage: activist, love & sex columnist extraordinaire, and host of America’s “best and dirtiest” amateur porn film festival, Hump! Dan will be bringing the film festival to Philly on Saturday, February 21st, with the first showing starting at 6:00 pm, followed by showings at 8:15 pm and 10:30 pm. It is an 18+ event and tickets are still available. We’ll also be giving away tickets on air during Raha World and The Stardust Revue.
Victoria: What was your college major?
Savage: I went to University of Illinois in Champagne Urbana and I majored in Theater.
Victoria: How did you realize you wanted to be a love advice columnist? And how did you come up with the idea for Hump!?
Savage: Well, I sort of accidentally became a sex advice columnist. I met someone who was starting a newspaper and he was telling me about it, and I said oh you should have an advice column because everybody reads those. You see that Q & A format – you can’t not read it. And he said “that’s good advice… why don’t you write the advice column?”
Even when I started writing the advice column I wasn’t really an advice columnist yet, at first the whole thing was just a joke. I was a gay guy writing an advice column for straight people about straight sex – the idea was I would jokingly treat straight sex and straight relationships with the same contempt and revulsion that straight advice columnists had always treated gay sex and gay relationships. And so for the first six months to a year I was just horsing around and I started getting so many letters and it kind of, without my ever really asking, turned into a real advice column against my will! That’s how I got to be a relationship columnist, by accident.
Hump! was an idea of a friend of mine who started The Stranger where my column originated; a friend of mine and I – we just started joking that we should put an ad in the paper that we’re doing a call for submissions for an amateur porn festival, to see what we’d get in the mail, or whether we’d get anything. It took a long time to convince the publisher to let us do this because he didn’t think it would work. And we got tons of really great and funny and weird submissions and really humane submissions, like really good, humanizing porn. And then we had to go through with it and have the festival so we announced we were having a porn film festival. The question then became: would people come and sit in a dark movie theater next to strangers and watch porn the way their grandparents did? The answer was yes! Tons of people came to the theaters. Hump! has never been people masturbating in their seats sort of a porn screening. More of a celebratory, diversity sex, “we’re all in this together” festival. People came and loved it and a lot of people who were out there this year made films for the next year and Hump! just kept growing and getting bigger. We took it to Portland and started doing it simultaneously in Portland and Seattle and people in other cities kept saying they wanted it to come to them. And so for the first time last year we took Hump! out on the road and this year will be the second time.