If you haven't already heard of the legendary gay bookstore and sex shop Circus of Books — called "the centre of the gay universe" — buckle up. Netflix will be airing a documentary about the famous Los Angeles store and its longtime owners. And if the just-dropped trailer is any indication, it's going to be incredible.
For three decades, Circus of Books was the largest distributor of gay porn in the country. It shut down in 2019 due to the increase in popularity of online porn and dating apps like Grindr.
The documentary tells the story of Karen and Barry Mason, a straight, religious couple who ended up running the iconic gay sex shop in LA, ultimately becoming unlikely queer activists. In the trailer, a voiceover says: "They didn't set out to support the gay community, but they were not going to let other forces tell them what to do."
The documentary looks at how the pair tried to keep their risqué business a secret from their friends and their family and grappled with their religious identities, all while providing a safe space for the queer community during the LGBTQ+ rights movement and the AIDS epidemic.
"Circus of Books was my first glimpse into the fact that I wasn't alone as a gay person," one man says in the trailer. "This bookstore, it kept me out of harm's way," another says.
The Netflix documentary is directed by Rachel Mason, one of Karen and Barry's three children.
Watch the trailer below.
"Circus of Books" will be available to stream on Netflix starting 22nd April.