Good Vibrations Wants You to Come ... to the Quickies Erotic Shorts Film Festival
|Fuckenstein, directed by and starring Joanna Angel|
San Francisco has so many film festivals, it's easy for them to all blur together. Not only do a lot of them overlap in what films they show, but there's little difference in presentation: You sit in a dark room with a lot of other people watching movies.
The Good Vibrations Quickies Short Erotic Film Competition, on the other hand, stands out for both style and content. Not only does its programming typically feature films about gay, Mexican wrestlers fucking or Barbie dolls having hot lesbo sex, but each short is discussed in a manner that co-host Peaches Christ describes as "The View on acid and in drag."
If you thought that watching The View was surreal enough without throwing in queerness and porn, there's a treat waiting for you at the Castro on Oct. 26. We talked to Peaches Christ about the upcoming festivities.
This is the Quickie Competition's seventh time around. Tell me a little about what it's been like over the years.
Well, it started as this experiment, really. I'm best known as a movie hostess, but traditionally my movie events are more about creating a scene and setting the stage for enjoying a cult film. With this festival, these are movies that people have never experienced before, and we're really interested in creating a unique movie-going experience on top of the fantastic ability to screen porn for a giant audience at the Castro. We're literally onstage as these movies screen. And we're hosting the entire festival live, so we don't interrupt the films themselves. It's about as Mystery Science Theater 3000 as you can get without actually disrupting the screenings. And the reason we can do this is because they're quickies, they're shorts. So a movie plays and then I and Dr. Carol Queen and Hugz Bunny and Lady Bear kind of have a conversation about it. And you're discussing the size of peoples' penises and vaginal secretions and how it all worked with the mise en scene. So it's a truly only in San Francisco type of movie-going experience.
What have been some of the richest sources of commentary over time?
I have to say that I try to be nice, because one thing that I know as a fellow filmmaker, it's a terrifying and nerve-wracking experience any time your movie screens just for an audience, let alone having a bunch of drag queens sit up onstage with microphones. I never make fun of the movies, I would say. Luckily, a lot of the films have a sense of humor to them inherently, or they have a unique fetish or take on sexuality that we can kind of put our own spin on. One of the films that I really couldn't believe was about a woman whose fetish was having burgers smushed in her face. She got off on these cheeseburgers being mashed in her face as this trans domme yelled at her, "It's burger time, bitch!" over and over again. Just our discussion of that afterwards was inherently hilarious. We're really not there to make fun of anything; we're there to enhance the celebration of these things.
John Waters once said that porn is meant to be watched at home, and I think that's true with your regular porn, but because these are erotic films with narrative and story and beautiful imagery, it's pornographic some of it, but it's also storytelling, and it's that weird combination that makes it such a unique experience.
Last year, there was this weird theme where four of these movies -- four of them -- prominently featured tennis. Either girls playing tennis in little skirts and then getting fucked, or there was one about a guy playing tennis, and one that was really cool that was just about the grunting noises people make when they're playing tennis and then juxtaposing that with a sex scene. So there was some weird tennis thing that was in the zeitgeist last year that all kind of ended up in the festival.
What's it say about our sexual culture that these films are being made and festivals like this are taking place?
|The Confession of Father John Thomas, directed by Elka Kerkhofs|
I think part of the reason it's of interest is because porn is now so readily accessible on the Internet. It's consumed the way you would consume junk food or anything you can get at any convenience store. And so, I think what makes this special is acknowledging that you can use erotica and sexuality in movies in a way that is artistic, that is more thoughtful, that is either narrative or experimental or genre, and that this is really, truly a curated group of films that you might have trouble finding on the Internet, because what's going to come up when you're looking for erotic films is a million versions of the same thing.
|Strange, dir. by Maxine Holloway and Arabelle Raphael|
And these are special, unique works of filmmaking. So I do think there is this really great value to it where we can go "Okay, you know what? People want to have experiences in groups. Especially in San Francisco, exhibition is still so important. If you come to my Showgirls event, it is a completely different experience than if you watched that movie at home on TV with a friend. It's a completely different experience seeing it with a thousand screaming queens in the Castro Theatre, and I think this is very similar. There's this sort of group dynamic to arousal and enjoyment of these films. Many of them are designed to be crowd-pleasers or challenging. Some of them have horror elements or noir elements. Watching alone, the way people watch porn now on their laptops at home, kinda secretly, privately, that's not what this is. These are movies, and they're meant to be seen with an audience.
Are you planning anything special for this year's Quickies?
I would say the more unusual part of this years' festival is because it's on the Friday before Halloween weekend, which could not be more important as far as a city-wide holiday goes. In the past, it's always been in September. But since it's on this particular Friday, I'm really hoping that the audience is full of people in costumes. That is going to make it one level weirder.
The 7th Annual Good Vibrations Erotic Shorts Competition starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 26 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $10.