Ep 152 CIRCUS OF BOOKS with director Rachel Mason
What would you do if you found out your boring, conventional, conservative parents were America’s biggest distributors of gay porn?
Our guest made a documentary about it!
We’re very excited to have the director Rachel Mason on the show to talk about her debut documentary Circus of Books. Rachel’s parents, Barry and Karen, ran a gay bookstore (Circus of Books) and porn distribution company out of Los Angeles for over three decades, all while maintaining their tight-knit family. Our lively discussion ranges from why Rachel made this film, her time in art school (with a possible Pitch This Doc component!), learning more and more about her parent’s “secret” and even First Amendment rights and issues.
Circus of Books is surrounded by many events that seem on the surface to be contradictions but as we learn are universal themes. As a viewer we are asked to undo our expectations as this film constantly reveals new layers about Karen, Barry, the children and the community they live in. We get to see their humanity, which in turn challenges our own preconceptions. As a teenager, Rachel was surprised (even shocked) to learn the true nature of her seemingly “normal” parents’ business, which coincidentally intersected with the LGBTQ art scene where she found a sense of community.
Circus of Books is surprising, funny, and heartfelt and is available to stream on Netflix and was just nominated for an Outstanding Non Fiction Writing Emmy.
Rachel Mason is an artist, songwriter, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
It also has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
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