Review: Erotic film festival brings good vibrations to the Castro

(left to right: Hugz Bunny, Lady Bear, Peaches Christ and Dr. Carol Queen). Drag Queen panel onstage at the Castro Theatre Sept. 22 during the Good Vibrations Annual Independent Erotic Film Festival in San Francisco. COURTESY OF GOOD VIBRATIONS

By Becca Hoekstra
The Guardsman

The final night of the 6th Annual Good Vibrations Independent Erotic Film Festival treated attendees to an arousing night of sensual revelry and sex on the big screen at the Castro Theater.

The festivities of Sept 22 kicked off with a pre-party in the mezzanine. The theme was the Barbary Coast, San Francisco’s old red-light district. Girls in tight corsets and fancy bustle skirts milled about while party-goers danced to a live band, enjoyed free food and drink, got their pictures taken at the “mustache booth”, or spun a wheel of fortune that blessed them with condoms, lube, porn DVDs or high-end vibrators.

A bevy of fabulously-outfitted drag personalities oversaw the main event, an international erotic short film competition. Film-aficionado Peaches Christ, the drunk and caustically callous Lady Bear, who stole all the laughs, and bearded and busty Hugz Bunny eased the social awkwardness of watching sex scenes while surrounded by strangers by interjecting their opinions after every screening. Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen rounded out the review panel.

Erotic cinema is becoming better received as an alternative to mainstream pornography, said Camilla Lombard, producer and events manager. The fully-packed seats of the Castro Theater that night can attest to that.

“[The festival] is about more than getting off. It’s about celebrating the spectrum of sexuality,” said Lombard.

The thirteen film finalists could not possibly be boxed into any one category – much like sexuality itself. The short films ranged from thoughtful and beautiful to awkward and amateur; animated and over-the-top or simply sensual. Some were cheesy, some were sleazy and some even managed to be sexy. Most movies were quicker to inspire laughs than arousal. Tennis apparently dominates as the new hip fad in sex entertainment, as it was featured in three of the final films.

The crowd erupted with exuberant screams and cheers to give the Audience Choice Award of $1,500 to Mexican film “La Putiza”, directed by Gerardo Delgado. The hilarious and perverted all-male film is thought to be one of only a handful of gay porno films circulating in Mexico today. A comic book-style spoof on Mexican wrestling — complete with gay orgies, lucha libre masks, giant sparkling phalluses, comical sound effects and enough semen to fill a bathtub — follows a down-and-out wrestler who battles a super villain, The Penetrator, in the process becoming a superhero, Aztec Dick.

Other audience favorites featured sexy shenanigans such as dangling dildo strap-ons, force-fed hamburgers, and important existential questions such as, “What would penis do?”

I guess you had to be there.

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