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Julian Edelman Extends Heartfelt Message to Eagles Wide Receiver Desean Jackson

There are a few rules to doing PR well. One of them is, don't quote Hitler! Desean Jackson, 33, has come under...
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    The stranger-than-fiction tale of Circus of Books: How a straight, married, suburban couple became accidental gay porn pioneers

    When Circus of Books, a legendary bookstore and porn shop in Los Angeles, opened in 1982, it became a haven for the city’s LGBTQ community. Both its original West Hollywood location and sister store in Silver Lake were more than just places for gay men to purchase X-rated VHS tapes, sex toys, and nudie magazines — Circus of Books was a safe, shame-free space for queer people congregate and be themselves, during a dark time when the Reagan administration was not only ignoring the growing AIDS crisis in America but also cracking down on the pornography industry.

    But few people would have guessed that the Circus of Books franchise was owned and operated by a heterosexual, Jewish, suburban, seemingly conservative married couple, Karen and Barry Mason. Even their three children, two of whom grew up to identify as queer themselves, didn’t know about the Masons’ secret business until they were teenagers. Now one of those children, musician/artist/filmmaker Rachel Mason, has directed the documentary Circus of Books, executive-produced by Ryan Murphy, about her parents’ double-life and reluctant role as LBGTQ-ally heroes.

    Karen, a journalist, and Barry, and a scientist and engineer, fell into this unlikely line of work when Karen interviewed Larry Flynt, and through that connection secured Barry a temporary side job selling and distributing Flynt titles like Hustler for some quick income. Seeing a gap in the market for Flynt’s more underground hardcore publications, they decided to take over a fledgling local bookstore — and within a decade, Circus of Books had surprisingly become one of the biggest distributors of gay porn in the United States. (It was actually the first retail location to Madonna’s controversial Sex book in 1992.) Barry had a go-with-the-flow attitude towards the store, even after Circus of Books was entangled in an FBI pornography sting and he was prosecuted and almost sent to prison. But Karen, a devoutly religious woman, struggled for years — and actually still struggles — to reconcile her profession with her beliefs, even when the couple briefly dabbled in the business of producing porn themselves. Rachel can be seen breaking the fourth wall throughout the Circus of Books film, arguing with Karen as she tries to get her strict, combative mother to cooperate with the interviewing and shooting process. “To this day, she feels like she’s been ‘outed,’” Rachel tells Yahoo Entertainment in an interview for Pride Month.

    This article was originally posted on yahoo.com/entertainment/.

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