“Circus of Books” Is the Heartwarming Gay Porn Story We Need Right Now

The new Netflix doc tells the tale of a nice straight couple who became the "biggest distributors of hardcore gay films in the United States."

There are two things people cannot get enough of right now: feel-good stories and sex. And if Tiger King is any indication, gay sex. You can find both of these age-old diversions in the upcoming Netflix documentary Circus of Books, about the iconic Los Angeles gay porn store of the same name and the sweet straight couple behind it.

Barry and Karen Mason took over Circus of Books, which opened in 1960, in 1982 as a means to provide for their three children, but the business also served as an epicenter for queer life and, when the full brunt of the AIDS epidemic hit, a lifeline for the community.

“People would actually come into our store who were our customers and thank us for being there,” Barry Mason told NewNowNext last year at the film’s Outfest premiere. “I don’t go to a hardware store and thank people for having this hardware store. So I started getting the impression that it was more than we thought getting into it.”

Artist and first-time documentarian Rachel Mason grew up completely unaware of what her parents did for a living, but now she’s turned her lens on their colorful history to try to figure out how her nice Jewish folks became the “biggest distributors of hardcore gay films in the United States,” as Karen claims.

Ryan Murphy executive produced the doc, which premieres April 22 on Netflix. Check out the trailer, along with some gorgeous vintage gay porn, below.
 

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat