Documentary Review: Circus of Books (2019)

Release Date: April 26th, 2019 (Tribeca Film Festival)
Directed by: Rachel Mason
Written by: Rachel Mason, Kathryn Robson
Cast: Karen Mason, Barry Mason, Rachel Mason, various

Netflix, 92 Minutes

Review:

I saw this pop up on Netflix, so I figured I’d check it out, as I generally enjoy the documentaries they distribute through their streaming service.

I wasn’t disappointed, as this is a really interesting story about a religious Jewish family who opened up a gay porn store, which also became a gay porn film studio and distributor. The store rose to prominence within the Los Angeles gay scene in the ’80s and would also reach far beyond its home city.

This kind of hit close to home, as I’ve been around gay culture since my teen years. The scene in southern Florida is big and even though I’m straight, I’ve always had gay friends and also lived with a pretty legit drag queen for a bit. The era that the bulk of this story took place in just brought a lot of those great memories back.

Beyond the nostalgia, this is an intriguing story about really interesting, good people. It’s hard not to love the family that started this store and it’s just as much a love letter to them, as it is the store itself.

I especially liked how interesting the father was with his backstory and the road that life took him on, leading up to becoming a straight, religious, family man that owned a gay book store.

This also examines the impact that owning the store had on the family as a whole in an age when it was considered really taboo. I liked meeting the kids, getting their take on all of it and how they grew up with this “moral” cloud over their religious upbringing.

It was also really cool seeing people from the L.A. gay community talking about the store and what it meant to them during really difficult times in their lives.

This really hits you in the feels and it’s unfortunate that the store, during the filming of this documentary, was falling on real hard times due to the world evolving away from the old mediums of pornography thanks to the Internet.

While this documentary was made by someone within the family, it’s not in any way inauthentic or dishonest because of that. In fact, it made the experience more intimate and meaningful.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries about LGBTQ cultural history, porn and small business.

Vids I Dig 399: Whang!: Marilyn Manson Had His Ribs Removed to Blow Himself and Other Urban Legends

Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: Marilyn Manson is an artist that’s had a lot of strange rumors about him throughout the years, such as him being Paul from The Wonder Years or him having his ribs removed. Let’s take a look at the history of some of these rumors.

Retro Relapse: She’s Not Perfect; You’re Not Either – Get Over It

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2016.

One thing I’ve been coming across lately, as I am in my mid-thirties, is a lot of my male friends who seem baffled and befuddled over the pasts of their girlfriends.

In many cases, I’ve found myself in situations and discussions with guys who aren’t happy with their current girlfriend’s (or in some cases wife’s) sexual past. I had a similar mindset in my mid-to-late-twenties but have since realized the folly of it.

I was, at one time, very much like Ben Affleck’s Holden McNeil in Chasing Amy. I dated girls, I’d find out things that they did before me and I would find myself judging them on things that had nothing to do with me and happened way before I was in the picture.

In many instances, it ended relationships because I couldn’t fathom how this perfect flower I was with could have done something so un-flower-like. I deserved to have that shit come back on me negatively. Who the fuck was I to judge and truth be told, I’ve got a track record of being a slut. But the double standard eluded me at the time because I was a man and only girls could be sluts or something.

Ludacris said, “(he wants) a lady in the street but a freak in the bed.” That is the mentality of most men but for some reason, they don’t want a lady that was a freak before they showed up and wooed them. Of course, it doesn’t matter to the man what freaky shit he did in relationships (or one night stands) past.

The fucked up thing is that the man treats his past as if it is no one’s business and keeps his secrets buried away. Women seem to be more open about their past and kudos for that. But maybe being judged harshly for certain behavior is why they are more open about it. Maybe men need to accept it, deal with it and move the fuck on. Or maybe they should be judged just as harshly. But is it really that big of a deal at the end of the day when everyone is fucking and most do freaky shit? Additionally, who the fuck are you to judge? You’re not a perfect flower either. And if you are a perfect flower, you’ve been missing out.

As I’ve gotten older and been confronted on my bullshit, I’ve realized that I was an asshole. Ultimately, I like being a freak and I like women who like being freaks. And I would rather have a woman with some experience than a chick on her first rodeo, at least at my age. I guess this is why I find myself with the party girls and this is why my best relationships have been with the party girls who aren’t going to apologize for their past and who don’t really give a shit about mine. And when a chick has seen and done it all and she still chooses you, there’s something awesome in that.

It’s about enjoying each other in the now (and in the future). Who gives a shit what happened in her life or your life seven years prior. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, we all have regrets and we should all be fine with what we’ve done and what it has taught us about life, sex and people.

Or you could have totally loved your bad decisions and that’s cool too. I don’t have a problem with my bad decisions or my sexual past. I’m cool with it all and I also don’t care what anyone else thinks about me for it. And I’m certainly not going to come down on a significant other who doesn’t regret their sexual free-ness.

Maybe this is an American problem. The Europeans don’t seem to have a problem with being sexually liberated. They fuck and they fuck a lot and shit just isn’t that big of a deal. They also aren’t tied down by as much religious dogma and moral judgment. They embrace their nature, do what they do and have a much better time at it than we do.

The human body needs sexual gratification. For some reason, we try to fight that. And if someone says “fuck your stupid conventions”, especially a woman, it’s frowned upon. And it’s especially frowned upon by men.

I think in a lot of ways, men are taught that women are to behave a certain way to fit within societal norms. But it isn’t our place to tell them what to be just as it isn’t their place to tell us what to be. We’re all individuals and we are all free to live our lives the way we feel is best.

Many men who have these ideals just look really insecure about themselves when they express their distaste. Like there is some fear that their woman will leave them because they can’t live up to her exciting past. They don’t understand that she is there, with them. She chose to be there.

Being an idiot about who she is will eventually push her away. And if she does leave, that’s on her. There are no guarantees in life and certainly not in relationships.

So fucking enjoy each other while you have each other. Maybe it will turn into a lifelong relationship, maybe it won’t. But ride it out and be less of an insecure judgmental shithead. Women aren’t attracted to insecurity.

If you can’t look at your girlfriend and accept that she isn’t perfect, then you have a serious problem. No one is perfect. And perfection is subjective anyway. If you are going to have constant hang ups about someone, why the hell are you with them in the first place? You can’t fight reality and reality isn’t necessarily something to try and fight anyway. It is what it fucking is.

People aren’t going to become what you wish them to become. It’s about enjoying each other for your triumphs and your faults. We’re all human and it is a lot more fun if we’re all human together.

It’s also a lot more fun if we’re all fucking and honest about it.