Circus of Books

Rachel Mason

Rachel Mason



United States


Feature film




1 h 31 mins

Previous Festivals/Awards

Official Selection, 2019 Tribeca Film Festival




Gay, HIV/AIDS, Lesbian, RE:Focus


Kathryn Robson

Kathryn Robson

In 1976, Karen and Barry Mason fell on hard times and were looking for a way to support their three young children. An ad by Larry Flynt, who was seeking distributors for Hustler Magazine, became their unexpected saviour.

The Masons soon found themselves owners of Circus of Books, a popular Los Angeles queer bookstore. Their establishment eventually became the biggest distributor of gay porn in the United States, which led to federal obscenity charges during the Reagan era. This fascinating documentary, directed by their daughter Rebecca Mason, looks at her parents’ unlikely story: how they kept the details of their work from their children, the impact of the AIDS crisis, and how their involvement with the LGBT community didn’t fully prepare them for having a gay son.

Featured interviews include LGBT activist Alexei Romanoff, drag superstar Alaska (Justin Honard, a former employee), and porn legend Jeff Stryker.

Fri May 24, 6:45 pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
350 King Street West
Toronto ON

This screening is now on RUSH.

R Rating


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