We reported here first that Chi Chi LaRue’s joined the Circus back back in February of this year. Almost a year later, Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus is having their Grand opening on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at a newly re-imagined Circus of Books location on 8230 Santa Monica Blvd. A big top grand opening event will take place from 7pm-midnight. The adult retail space was originally scheduled to open back in May, 2019.
Construction has already begun to bring the historical Circus of Books adult bookstore into a new decade. Rob Novinger, the CEO of Channel 1 Releasing (C1R) and part owner of Chi Chi LaRue’s in West Hollywood, told WEHO TIMES back in February, that he plans to “keep as much of the history as possible.” The most noticeable change will be the big picture windows that are being restored to reflect the building’s original facade. We can also report that the circus stripes are coming back, but in Chi Chi LaRue’s themed colors.
Channel 1 Releasing is the largest gay owned and operated adult entertainment company worldwide. Through its companies, C1R covers the entire gay adult arena with award winning movies, novelties, online products, direct-mail order and retail stores.
The Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus will marry the upscale and fun aspect of the existing Chi Chi LaRue’s in West Hollywood and the history of Circus of Books. An additional element to both stores will be a new Tom of Finland store-within-a-store, which will bring even more LGBTQ history and the unique shopping experience of Tom of Finland.
Touko Laaksonen (1920 – 1991), aka Tom of Finland, is the creator of some of the most iconic and readily recognizable imagery of post-war gay culture and is regarded as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. He produced thousands of images beginning in the 1940s, robbing straight homophobic culture of its most virile and masculine archetypes (bikers, hoodlums, lumberjacks, cops, cowboys, and sailors) and recasting them through deft skill and imagination – unapologetic, self-aware, and boastfully proud enthusiasts of gay sex.
Circus of Books opened in 1960 and was acquired by Karen and David Mason in 1982. The adult book store was once a pit stop for connoisseurs of erotic movies, sex toys, lube, poppers or glass pipes throughout the 80s and 90s when the store’s popularity was at its peak. It also attracted a heterosexual clientele and some famous faces as well. It was on the verge of closing for well over a year. It had its official closing date was Saturday, February 9.
Mrs. Mason told WEHO TIMES that she approves of the changes coming to the Chi Chi LaRue’s store.
Daughter Karen Mason, is keeping the memory of Circus of Books alive with the Circus of Books Documentary, which has had much success in the film festival circuit. Mason produced the doc along with Kathryn Robson, Cynthia Childs, Camilla Hall and Adam Baron. Ryan Murphy, Josh Braun, John Battsek, Rhianon Jones and Gerald Herman are executive produces. It premiered at the Los Angeles Outfest film festival this past July. The film is coming soon to Netflix.
Don’t miss the grand opening of Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus January 11 from 7pm-midnight and see how the historical Circus of Book Store has been re-imagined.
Ha ha! Good luck with that! Don’t they know retail is dead?