As we reported here earlier, Chi Chi LaRue’s is opening a second store in West Hollywood, with Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus, taking over the historical Circus of Books adult book store, located at 8230 Santa Monica Boulevard, on the corner of Santa Monica and La Jolla.
“I’ve been talking to them [Karen and Barry Mason, the owners of Circus of Books] about taking over that space for two years,” Rob Novinger, CEO of Channel 1 Releasing (C1R) and part owner of Chi Chi LaRue’s, told WEHO TIMES. “I’m going to try to keep as much of the history as possible, but obviously the store needs some changes, but I think it’s a perfect fit.”
Novinnger and Larry David Paciotti, aka Chi Chi LaRue have been business partners for well over 20 years.
The new Circus 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.
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.
“Both stores are getting a little lift, plus we are expanding our concept and looking at other manufacturers that mesh with our brands to do pop-ups or longterm store-in-a-store concepts.” Says Novinger.
Circus of Books opened in 1960 and was acquired by the Masons in 1982. It has mostly been a source of nostalgia in recent years in what 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. It has been on the verge of closing for well over a year. It had its official closing this past Saturday, February 9.
Mrs. Mason told WEHO TIMES that she approves of the changes coming to the iconic store.
“I’ve seen a drawing of the exterior, which looks the way it used to look when we got the store, but the colors are more vibrant,” She told WEHO TIMES. “We met with the city to talk about bringing back the big picture windows in the store. They want to put those back. They want to put circus stripes on the front. They really want it to look how it used to look… I think they are very strong operators. They run a much more upscale place, at least than we do. I think they’ll do a good job.”
Chi Chi LaRue’s Circus is set to open on May 1, 2019.
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 C1R companies include Chi Chi LaRue’s Rascal, All Worlds, Dirk Yates, legendary Catalina, Rascal and Boneyard novelties and Chi Chi LaRue’s retail stores.
C1R movies offer over 2,500 gay adult titles covering every genre and niche. The library boasts both variety and quality from legendary and iconic directors Chi Chi LaRue, William Higgins, Dirk Yates, Jerry Douglas, Doug Jeffries, Josh Eliot and more.
C1R novelty is comprised of the iconic gay brand Rascal and the edgy new Boneyard. Both lines pride themselves on quality and innovation.