Painted Lips and Lolly Licks 2015 7.75
eyelights: Tygrys. The Work Out.
eyesores: The White Chapter. The Wet Nurse.
In 2012, I discovered the local independent cinema’s yearly ‘Painted Lips and Lolly Licks‘ sexy short films festival for the first time. I had such a good time that eagerly awaited the 2013 edition. It didn’t take place. Thankfully, it returned in 2014. Again, I had a fun time out at the movies.
The 2015 edition rolled in and I was anxious to get tickets. I contacted the cinema to see if they would be available in advance; it was such a popular series that I was concerned I might not be able to get in. Sadly, tickets were only available the night of. I would just have to try my luck.
On February 14, 2015, I braved the weather to head out to The Mayfair. In complete honesty, by that point I was hesitant: it was bleeding cold out and I didn’t want to show up at the cinema just to find myself stuck out in the snow. But I pushed myself to go anyway and hoped for the best.
Here’s my motivation, beyond the obvious: the local cinema is a dying breed, hobbled as it is by the multiplexes, access to film prints, and the popularity of online streaming. We are allowing cultural diversity to fade away. The last thing I want is to see this independent cinema die.
So I went out on this freezing cold night in support of original programming and The Mayfair cinema.
I ran a bit late and resigned myself to missing out; tickets had been available for hours and I would be one of the last ones there. When I arrived, I lined up and was surprised to find that there was still room. Walking in, I was stunned to find the cinema barely full; I was able to get a seat in the fourth row with ease.
To say that this edition of ‘Painted Lips and Lolly Licks’ had spare attendance is an understatement. Was it the cold weather? Or had the cinema taken such a massive hit since last year? Most of the people there were the filmmakers and their friends (I recognized quite a few once the films started rolling).
The evening started promptly at 21:30 (give or take). In past years it was always a bit late to start, no doubt to allow everyone to get to their seats. I had half-expected it to start late to allow for more people to arrive, but there weren’t any delays. Unlike past years, the hall never filled up.
Well, that was everyone else’s loss. I was going to enjoy myself.
The evening’s MC introduced the evening and thanked partners Sensual Flicks (who put together gift bags for participating filmmakers) and Auntie Lou for the cookies at the snack counter. He told us that Miss Kacie Marie (the night’s judge) only made her decision 30 minutes before because she liked them all so much.
He then revealed the night’s winner (read on to find out which film won) and gave out prize packs.
He also gave out free sex toys to female members who faked an orgasm the loudest. I heard a woman in the row before me tell her guy friend that she wanted one of those toys (which I believe were finger vibrators). He wrapped it up by asking everyone to wipe their seats before leaving – to the laughs and groans of the audience.
…the first set of many over the course of the evening.
The screening began with a brief intro by Miss Kacie Marie. It was cute, but nothing particularly special. Then the opening credit for the 2015 edition of ‘Painted Lips and Lolly Licks’ rolled, featuring “I Want You” by :wumpscut:, a band that I rather enjoy. It was nice to hear an esoteric cut like that.
We were in for a good time!
(nota bene: to help you track down the shorts, I’ve included the names of the director in parentheses, along with the shorts’ titles)
1. A Spicy Dame (Peter Macular): This black and white short (which, with its jazz music, is meant to evoke film noir) is a humourous number about a mobster asking a girl to tell him the combination to a safe or else he’ll torture her boyfriend. She refuses, so he offers her a Spicy Pumpkin Latte in trade and she gives in. It was brief but amusing. 8.0
2. Michelle L’amour performs “Buttoven’s 5th Symphony” (n/a): This is a live recording of a bar-room performance by a lovely girl in a short jacket with cuffs, stockings, and a g-string who sits down on a stool and pumps her buttocks to the sounds of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – to the appreciative howls from the audience. She not only keeps the beat, she even turns the page on her sheet music for effect. The quality was terrible and it was all too brief, but it was hilarious. 8.0
3. Crème Caramel (Canada): Put together for NOWNESS for the #DefineBeauty series, this one’s interesting. It shows a young woman hanging about the house in next to nothing, perusing a picture book. There’s a narration about the many ways that a male figure loved her, the many things he likes about her. She texts back and forth with this person. She also does a sexy dance perched atop a chair in her apartment with sparkles lighting the darkened room. There is also syrup poured on some nipples and a buttock. Then she slurps up a crème caramel with a happy face on it. Random, but it was playful, delightful. 8.0
4. The Grand Sausage Pizza (Nacho Punch): In a spoof of Wes Anderson films, a pizza delivery boy with a large member is coaxed to give a girl who has been financially cut off by her parents a pizza in exchange for going into a tent she put up in her apartment. Naturally, there is some awkward innuendo. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen enough Anderson to get the references, but it was amusing nonetheless. Sadly, there was a lot of digital blocking during this one, distorting the picture and marring the experience. 7.75
5. Jenesaisquoi (Ray Besharah): Filmed locally, it’s about a girl who leaves her boyfriend after being cheated on. She takes up a hotel room where she finds a card on the side table with “Jenesaisquoi” and a phone number on it. She calls the number and a man shows up at her door. They have a good time together and she decides to have sex with him – only to be put off by him going “Pew Pew pew” throughout their lengthy and elaborate encounter. The look on her face was priceless, as was her decision to keep it going in spite of the weirdness. Hilarious. Loved the ending, too. 8.0
6. Fuck Bike #001 (Andrew H. Shirley): This one’s unusual. It’s a black and white film about a black and white couple. The man is bearded, tattooed and naked, riding his stationary bike, which is attached to a series of other wheels, chains and pedals. At the other end, there is a pumping mechanism that moves a dildo in and out of his lady friend, who is clearly in ecstasy. What was neat was the way the camera followed the action going from the man’s body, down the series of bike parts to the woman, all over her body and back to the man. 8.0
7. MANsturbation (Anthony Adams): Another local short, this one’s about a guy who’s been stood up and shows up at his buddy’s place with the roses and chocolate intended for his beloved. They hang out and start watching TV – until porn fills the screen, after which his buddy starts to masturbate. Slightly uncomfortable, our protagonist sits on the floor with a pillow between them… and promptly does the same. They have a grand old time – until they get a bit too sexy, that is, after which it gets awkward between them. Funny stuff. 7.75
8. Lovebutterlove (Imogen Heath): Like last years’ “Lussuria”, this was a triptych, with three related images side by side: the first, a shoulders-up shot of a girl on a bed looking at the camera; the second, a woman’s hands massaging a woman’s breasts with butter; and the third, another woman churning butter in a bowl. However, it wasn’t as artsy as the former was and the images didn’t exactly gel. To make matters worse, the soundtrack went from silent to a loud pounding (which presumably was an amplification of the butter churning). LOUD pounding. You could feel its oppressiveness kill the mood in the room. People were deathly silent afterwards. 3.0
9. Observer Effect (Andrew Alexander): Yet another local one, “Observer Effect” started with a couple sitting in a car at night, waiting for someone to drive up at a suburban home. Another couple gets out and goes into the home. Our female lead gets out of the car and goes to the house to take pictures of them. She hesitates as she watches them make out and eventually sneaks inside, leaving the other guy waiting outside. She eventually follows the couple from the living room to the bedroom and watches them before taking lots of pictures of the woman. The woman seemed to be aware of her presence all along, so I didn’t know if this was a set-up. I also didn’t get the characters’ motivations. It was annoying because it didn’t really make sense to me. 7.5
10. Tygrys (Jacob Chelkowski): By far my favourite of the evening, it’s essentially the story of a guy who hangs around the house with his cat – except that the part of his cat is played by Michalina Olszanska, a naturally-beautiful young woman. A woman acting cat-like is already quite alluring, but a whole 12 minutes of it was unbelievable. Olszanska was really good, too, making “Kitty Kat” super cute and endearing. It was funny to watch her react to things the way a cat does (the way she lapped milk, stretched out and laid about the house, groomed herself, cuddled next to the man, reacted to the visit of his lady friend, …etc.) and yet be in the form of a beautiful woman – and that only we saw her as such. This got a really good reaction from the crowd. 9.0
11. Trois (Cory Thibert): Another local one, and the night’s winner (as per Miss Kacie Marie) with most of the same actors as in “Observer Effect”, this one is vaguely similar to the end of ‘Chasing Amy‘, with a guy trying to set up his girlfriend and best friend because he thinks it’ll make them closer. The behaviour was partly bewildering because it was played up for comedic effect. But it had its moments, especially given the main guy’s enthusiasm for the match-up; he basically cheerleads them on. 7.5
12. He Took His Skin Off for Me (Ben Aston): This is the story of a woman who asks her husband to take his skin off for her. So he walks around skinless, leaving his old self on a hanger in the closet. The woman talks about how much she loves him this way, how intimate it is, and that all the additional washing she has to do is a small price to pay for this. It was amusing to see him leave red smears everywhere and then hear about the impact his new look has on his social life and work life. It wasn’t sexy, but it was certainly interesting. Coincidentally, a few women in the audience took this as a cue to go to the bathroom. 8.0
13. The Work Out (James Cook): This started with model Melena A doing stretches next to a stationary bike, wearing nothing but a short top, bottoms and leg warmers – all white. And a toque. She was devastatingly beautiful: natural and fit. Phenomenal, really. Then she got to riding her bike, and it gradually seemed sexual, as her pose and breathing changed. Eventually she pulled her clothes off and it was clear that she enjoyed the bike a great deal. It became rather explicit as she masturbated on it. I really liked this one: the camera totally caressed her and she was amazing to watch. But this was porn. Artsy porn. HOT porn. But porn. 8.25
14. Captive (Adam Coyle-Roach): Another local one, I didn’t really get what was going on here as the audio voice-over wasn’t entirely intelligible. It sounded like the guy’s girlfriend was admonishing him for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, he had someone tied to his balcony, someone chained in a locker room in the basement of his apartment complex and someone tied in his bedroom (they may have been the same person… not sure). He also got stuck between the doors of his apartment and spent a lot of angsty time in the bathroom contemplating suicide. Again, not hearing the voice-over clearly marred it a bit. But the bedroom scene was beautifully shot, with the woman covered in pearls and well-lit. And the graphic sex was nice. At one point the guy’s penis bounced a bit as he teased his partner and people laughed. I don’t know why. That scene was kind of sexy to me, not funny. Maybe it was nervousness. 8.0
15. Breaking and Entering (Erika Lust): A woman in a tight black jumpsuit breaks and enters into someone’s home, ties him down and then proceeds to have sex with him. It’s pretty graphic, as they end up in all sorts of positions. To me, this was just average porn. And I found the woman, who was hidden behind her catwoman/bondage mask and costume made up too heavily to be appealing. We’re talking drag queen levels of make-up here. Ick. 7.5
16. Wet Nurse Trilogy (Phil Showzen): This was actually kind of disturbing. It consisted of a trilogy of shorts called “Wet Nurse” (parts one through three) which showed a close-up of a woman’s bosoms being suckled by a creepy puppet head – to the sounds of weird audio effects. It was shot to look like old VHS footage and it had a dirty, vile quality to it. In the first part, the woman’s breasts (which, it must be noted, has unusual red splotches on them) started spraying milk and the puppet head vomited on them. In the second, the head bit a chunk out of the left breast and fetid stuff poured out. In the third, the breast turned into a small face and an arm crawled through. It felt German, it probably was, and I didn’t need to see this. It left a mark. It was grotesque, nightmarish stuff. 1.5
17. The White Chapter (Kim Sanders): This is an extreme fetish video, something I really didn’t need to see either (call me a prude if you must). It started with a white-donned dom with a black strap-on doing a guy who was sprawled out on a medical table, wearing a strange mask – looking like a bald drag queen. Weird. But I could handle that. However, I don’t find catheters, pins stuck in genitals, surgery and sewing sexy at all. Even if they hug at the end, to tell everyone that it was consensual and “okay”, I was put off by most of it. 4.0
The whole thing wrapped up after a little over two hours; we had had a whole evening’s worth of original programming.
Honestly, I was having a good time until the end. Granted, the opening salvos were mostly humourous, not sexy, but that’s okay – I like seeing different approaches around sexuality. But the creepy, violent and/or painful stuff provoked an intense enough reaction that this is all I remembered afterwards.
A real shame. I suppose that some people might enjoy that stuff (it takes all kinds), but my impression was that the reaction that night wasn’t entirely positive. It felt like people were mostly in shock and waiting for it to end. It could have been just around me. It could also be that I’m projecting. Not sure.
What was really interesting to me was that many of the women sniggered when they saw penises. Was it discomfort? Nervousness? Or was it actually funny to them. I suspect nervousness, but I can’t fathom why in this day and age. 20 years ago, maybe, but now? I mean, surely they’ve seen penises before…
I just hope that the performers who were in attendance didn’t take it personally.
I should note that, since the 2012 edition, the picture quality of the shorts has diminished considerably. I suspect that most of these films are not shot on professional cameras or they’re sent in by internet, which means they were sent in lower resolution to facilitate the transfer. This is grossly apparent on the big screen.
The poor audio quality was also a problem. Some of the shorts wavered so much that it was unpleasant, going from soft to loud in mere moments. Honestly, I wish that the filmmakers ensured that their films were mixed better. I wasn’t alone in hating this; many responded negatively to these shorts because of this.
But caveats aside, it was yet another interesting night out at the movies. I’m very pleased that there is still a local cinema that puts together original and unique programming. I don’t have to like all of it: I’m just glad that someone’s doing it. We need something other than the mass-marketed Hollywood stuff.
Don’t get me wrong: I like the Hollywood stuff too. But diversity is important. In diversity comes creativity, and it’s always inspiring to see creative forces at work. And it’s even better to know that there’s an outlet for those creative forces. I really hope that The Mayfair does this again.
I look forward to a 2016 edition. Should there be one, I’ll be there. And I hope that you will too.
Post scriptum: many thanks to Mel and Lee of The Mayfair for helping me with the name of the second short and the opening credit song (which I have, but couldn’t quite place).
Date of viewing: February 14, 2015