Circus of Books
Dir. Rachel Mason, USA, 2019, 92 mins
NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO PRECAUTIONS RELATING TO COVID-19
“Very funny, very moving” –THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
For 35-plus years, the gay porn shop Circus of Books gave Los Angeles’ LGBT+ community a space to socialize and celebrate themselves without judgement. Unbeknownst to many customers, the store was cultivated by owners Karen and Barry Mason–a straight, mainstream couple with three children who went to religious school and were unaware of their parents’ business. The Masons long refused to disclose the nature of their business to friends or family. While maintaining the secret, they witnessed the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic firsthand, losing a generation of treasured employees. Still, during that time, they never identified as activists–just everyday entrepreneurs catering to a market, until the Internet destroyed it.
Executive produced by Ryan Murphy, CIRCUS OF BOOKS is the debut documentary from artist Rachel Mason, who finally asks the least radical people she knows–her parents –how they became America’s biggest distributors of gay porn, and why Karen reacted so negatively when her own son came out of the closet.
Q&A with director Rachel Mason to follow
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