Circus of Books Doc is Headed to Netflix after Tribeca Film Fest Premier

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The wait is over. At least for those living in the East Coast. The Circus of Books doc is finally getting its film debut with a scheduled premier at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend. Unfortunately, the Tribeca Film Festival is held in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. Screenings are set for April 26, 27 and 28. Tickets are sold out—however WeHoans will not have to wait too long. Variety reports that Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Circus of Books” ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“Even though it might not seem real… it IS!” writer and director Rachel Mason posted on the doc’s on Facebook and Instagram pages. “Netflix bought our movie and Ryan Murphy is our Champion Executive Producer.”

Writer, director and artist Rachel Mason and gay porn legend Jeff Stryker – Photo by Paulo Murillo

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 executive produced. Bob Hawk is a consulting producer.

WEHO TIMES has been following the closing of the historical Circus of Books in West Hollywood since we broke the story that it was on the verge of closing back in June 22, 2017. The last remaining porn shop finally closed on February 9, 2019, after standing on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Jolla Ave. since 1960.

The world famous adult bookstore which also stands in front of a what was once a cruisy gay men’s spot known as Vaseline Alley, had mostly been a source of nostalgia before it closed. It was once a pit stop for many gay men who used to flock past those infamous saloon doors in search 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 straight porn lovers and some famous faces as well.

(L-R) West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, Karen Mason, Jeff Stryker and Barry Mason. Photo by Paulo Murillo

The Circus of Books doc is set in the gay porn shops located in Silver Lake and West Hollywood where they were run by straight couple Karen and Barry Mason who first acquired the WeHo store in 1982. The movie offers an intimate portrait of the Masons and their journey to become one of the biggest distributors of hardcore gay porn in the United States while raising three children. Their story unfolds through the lens of their daughter, filmmaker and artist Rachel. The doc chronicles the AIDS epidemic in West Hollywood and how it affected the Masons. It explores the contradictions of growing up in an unconventional household where mom could be found volunteering at her synagogue or re-stocking issues of Hand Job Magazine. It’s an honest and engaging portrait of the legendary X-rated emporium and its unlikely proprietors. Stories are told through interviews.

WEHO TIMES also broke the story in February that Chi Chi LaRue’s is taking over Circus of Books. The owners plan to keep the spirit alive with Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus. It will marry the upscale and fun aspect of the existing Chi Chi LaRue’s and the history of Circus of Books. A new addition to both stores will be the exciting new Tom of Finland store-within-a-store, which will bring even more LGBTQ history and the unique shopping experience of Tom of Finland.

Circus of Books doc has come a long way since it held a special screening premier of a short trailer back in July 15. A Netflix buy is something to celebrate. We will keep posted on its streaming premier.

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Paulo Murillo
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings close to 20 years of experience in LGBT media and more than two decades as a West Hollywood resident. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. Murillo’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. He was a contributor to LGBT magazine IN Los Angeles. He is known for the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, in which he covered breaking news and local events in the City of West Hollywood. His recent work has been published in the Los Angeles Blade and his articles, essays and photographs can also be seen on the pages of THE FIGHT Magazine. He started “The Share” feature for THE FIGHT, which spotlights members of the Los Angeles recovery community who share about their sober journey. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com

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