Circus of Books is a compelling documentary directed by Rachel Mason. With a runtime of 92 minutes, the documentary was available for streaming on Netflix from April 22, 2020. Circus of Books intimately portrays the journey of Karen and Barry Mason, a straight, middle-class couple from California who had embarked on a journey in the United States to establish themselves as the largest distributor of hardcore gay porn.
Circus of Books, a vital institution for the gay community of West Hollywood, California, was a bookstore and gay pornography shop, which closed down in February 2019, 37 years after the Mason couple took over it.
Rachel Mason, the artist, musician, and filmmaker daughter of this Jewish couple who had run the bookstore that was the gay epicenter in LA, documents their life and the times. The documentary, Circus of Books, gives an insight into the brief history of the LGBTQ community, tracing the impact of the Grindr style hookups and online porn on the present-day gay cruising culture.
Cast of Circus of Books
The documentary offers a first-person account and features Karen Mason, Barry Mason, Micah Mason, and Jeff Stryker among others in the cast of Circus of Books.
Plot of Circus of Books
Circus of Books has an IMDB rating of 7/10. Rachel Mason guides the viewers to witness one of the remarkable pop businesses in Los Angeles, the iconic adult bookstore run by her parents, which had proved to be a landmark gay cruising spot. With home-movie footages having a vintage touch and interviews with the owner of the store, the Circus of Books offers a complex view of the history of the store, how the couple had kept it a secret, and the unprecedented HIV/AIDS epidemic which had downplayed the business. The documentary has been nominated for a number of awards including the Dorian Award (LGBTQ Documentary of the Year).