Jun 28, 2023
Director Rachel Mason set out to make a documentary about her parents’ bookstores in the West Hollywood and Silver Lake neighborhoods of Los Angeles. For much of her childhood, Karen and Barry Mason kept the nature of their business a secret from Rachel and her brothers, but the children later learned that their mother and father’s stores were at the center of gay culture in L.A. In a true story that spans the struggle for gay rights, the porn industry, the AIDS crisis, the moral panic of the 1980s, and the effects of the internet on brick-and-mortar establishments. Along the way, Mason uncovered her mother’s connection to Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, her father’s near arrest on federal felony charges, her brother’s harrowing coming-out story, and the importance of her parents’ store to the development of gay life in L.A. Released on Netflix, Circus of Books is in award-winning look at a business, a community, and a family.
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