“Circus Of Books” Review – A Documentary On The Journey of An Iconic Adult Book Shop


“Circus Of Books” Review: Here is a documentary with a funny, catchy and unexpectedly complicated story to tell. As Rachel Mason offers a surprising take on the proprietors of an iconic adult bookstore and a well-known epicentre of LGBT people – which also happens to be her parents.

Artist and Filmmaker Rachel Mason has created an affectionate portrait of her ageing parents, Karen and Barry which can be seen through the film.


“Circus Of Books” Review


As such, it’s no great surprise that Rachel focuses on Karen and Barry Mason, the straight, middle-class California couple who established and operated the shop, rather than what such an establishment meant to L.A.’s gay population at the time.

About the Journalist

Karen a former journalist, and Barry a former special visual effects engineer found themselves in a tough financial spot in the early 1980s and took over Circus of Books, a gay porn bookstore in Los Angeles.

Here was a store that sold magazines and printed matter out front, but boasted a bigger “backroom” that customers could access via a pair of swinging doors, opening onto row upon row of hardcore gay videos, sex toys and so on.

“Circus Of Books” place for LGBT People


Their business boomed and became a well-known meeting place for LGBT people, while all the time, the Masons were a conventional family who kept their three children well away from the business.
But, in an honest review, she recounts how disappointed she was when she found out that one of her sons was gay.

In a country where pornography was harshly stigmatized — until the internet made it ubiquitous — why would these two choose to make a career of it?

Circus of Books Very other detail


They had different careers, different professions but that didn’t work out well. But, their business evolved with the VHS revolution, and explicit videos soon replaced magazines as their most profitable merchandise.

Before long, the Masons began producing hardcore movies themselves, partnering with director Matt Sterling and gay porn star Jeff Stryker to create their content.

There are certain lot of things the film doesn’t talk about. Circus of Books portrays only male images and male consumers, and not really about gay women, and this is not discussed.
However, Circus of Books offers a rare glimpse into an untold chapter of queer history, the AIDS crisis and the impact of online porn and Grindr-style hookup apps on gay cruising culture with humour and tenderness.