Chi Chi LaRue's Circus Formerly: Circus of Books

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The legendary store is reborn
Porn director Chi Chi LaRue's eponymous boutique takes over the space of the historic Circus of Books, which was L.A.'s premier adult gay bookstore for decades. Circus of Books was a leader in the fight for First Amendment rights, as the store's owners established the right to sell pornography (especially gay pornography) in the U.S., and defeated the idea that gay sex is somehow less moral than straight sex. Back in the West Hollywood heyday of the 80's, the alley behind Circus of Books was called Vaseline Alley because of all the lube that was used with guys having sex in the dark. It was also a community hub where friends would meet, even if just to be friends. The irony of Circus of Books was that it was run by a cute Jewish husband and wife, who loved their gay customers and friends. There is a documentary, "Circus of Books" on Netflix, all about their life history and how sad it was when the store closed after 40 years in business. This is why Chi Chi LaRue invested in reopening the store—as a tribute to the community, and the deliciously sordid history of the store itself.