Industry

Hilarious Tale of Iconic ‘Circus of Books’

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Outfest kicked-off on Thursday night with the hilarious and heartwarming documentary film “Circus of Books,” written and directed by Rachel Mason.

The film explores the story behind the unlikely owners of Circus of Books, an iconic gay porn bookstore that had locations in West Hollywood and Silver Lake.

The director, the daughter of longtime owners Karen and Barry Mason, takes us on a journey with her parents, documenting the story of how this clean-cut family ended up in the business of selling gay porn.

Producer Cynthia Childs, with partner Joanne Duray on Outfest opening night. (Photo by Jen Baers)

One turning point was getting their start in distribution working with Larry Flynt, a little side hustle that turned into a 30-year fight for free speech. It also became an inner journey for Karen, and the acceptance of her gay son.

“Circus of Books” is a courageous tale of a West Hollywood landmark
that in its heyday was a refuge and resource for its primarily gay clientele.

Mason also produced the film, along with Cynthia Childs, Kathryn Robson, Camilla Hall and Adam Baran; Ryan Murphy was executive producer. “Circus of Books” was acquired by Netflix earlier this year.

Outfest continues through July 28.

The Mason family on opening night, from left: Micah, Joshua, Rachel (the film’s writer-director), and parents Barry and Karen. (Photo Amanda Pedroza)

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