Circus of Books Documentary to Screen at OUTFEST 2019

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The Circus of Books Documentary is coming to Outfest! The Los Angeles based non-profit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen announced its 2019 Achievement Award recipient, Nisha Ganatra, and its galas, including Opening and Closing Night. The 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, presented by HBO, will be held July 18-28, 2019.

The annual festival will open on the evening of Thursday, July 18th at the Orpheum Theater with Rachel Mason’s intimate and absorbing Circus of Books documentary about L.A.’s legendary gay pornography emporium run by her parents, Karen and Barry Mason. The film was recently picked up by Netflix.

“Circus of Books first opened in 1982, coincidentally the same year Outfest began. It’s thrilling that these queer Los Angeles institutions’ parallel histories will converge the same year that we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall at our festival. It will be undeniably powerful to pay tribute to these landmark events that paved the way for today’s generation of emerging queer talent to tell the type of diverse, risk-taking stories represented by our gala selections,” said Outfest Director of Festival Programs Mike Dougherty.

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.

The Circus of Books documentary 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.

Additional gala screenings at OUTFEST include: Adam (U.S. Centerpiece), Ariel Schrag’s YA novel adaptation of the same name directed by Outfest alum and “Transparent” producer Rhys Ernst; Hari Sama’s Sundance hit This Is Not Berlin (International Centerpiece), set in the 1980s Mexico City queer music scene; Michael Barnett’s Changing the Game (Documentary Centerpiece) which focuses on three resilient transgender high school athletes fighting to compete as their authentic gender amidst national scrutiny; and Straight Up (Breakthrough Centerpiece), a sharp and witty Los Angeles-set comedy written/directed by and starring newcomer James Sweeney.

The complete lineup for the 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival will be announced the first week of June.

To learn more, visit: https://www.outfest.org/

 

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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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