Last Wednesday night I sat with my girlfriend and enjoyed a very unique film festival at the Garneau theatre on 109st. The “Blue Revue” is a showcase of locally made pornographic films sponsored by the Vue Weekly newspaper. While I certainly had reservations about sitting in a room full of strangers and watching porn, the Blue Revue turned out to be easily the most fun I’ve had at the theatre in a long time.
When entering the cinema, classic 1930s silent porn was playing up on the screen as the porn staple “bawn chicka wow wow” serenaded the audience. The show began with the Capital City Burlesque dancers who were simply fantastic. Several numbers involving feather boas and fans (and the best one involving tear-away cheerleader costumes) resulted in many audience members giving a “standing ovation” while still remaining seated. As someone who has never seen a burlesque show I found it to be incredibly entertaining and sensual, while still maintaining an element of tastefulness.
The nest portion of the show was the film festival portion, hosted by local comedian John Mick and Vue Weekly’s Entertainment Editor Paul Blinov. The Laurel and Hardy-esque pair kept the jokes rolling all night long, and Mick even shared the winning film from last year “PBGJ”, which Mick had a signature role in. The element that humor played in making the evening go smoothly cannot be understated. Clearly, shoving a bunch of strangers into a theatre and having them watch some guy get blown while still wearing his converse is an awkward situation. Nothing cuts through that awkwardness more than the occasional dick joke, or witty banter. In fact the atmosphere was so light hearted that I even had a conversation with the guys sitting behind me about Nazi movies.
As for the content of the films themselves, the majority of the films were more satirical than actually pornographic. Granted a few of the films were downright porno-tastic, but most of them played off of traditional understandings of porn and sexual encounters. For example, the winning film was from a series called “Felt Up” which takes real life sexual experiences, and turns them into stories re-told using puppets. The evening was capped off by a ballot vote to determine the winner, and lastly a ceremonial shredding of the dvds of each of the films entered so that they may never see the light of day again. At the end of the night, a series of prizes were also handed out to the audience and of course the winning films.
While nothing makes watching porn with a group of strangers normal, the Blue Revue comes pretty damn close. It is course still awkward to walk into a porn film fest and recognize someone from one of your classes, or worse to recognize someone who’s acting in one of the cinematic masterpieces. So if you’re looking for something that’s more “out-there” than the Fringe, and has more tricks than the street-performers festival, I highly recommend that next September you check out the Blue Revue.