Silver Lake’s Circus of Books is closing up shop

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Silver Lake’s Circus of Books, long a neon-lighted beacon of Sunset Junction’s offbeat personality, will close its doors today for the last time. The store’s owners revealed the end was near back in February, and they held an art exhibition soon after in celebration of its three-plus decades as an esteemed purveyor of smut and adult novelty products.

On July 27, the store officially confirmed August 8 as its closing date in a Facebook post. Karen Mason, who opened the store with her husband Barry in the 1980s says the gay porn business isn’t what it used to be. “The business model we’ve used for the past 30 years is just not sustainable anymore,” she tells Curbed.

For now, the store’s initial West Hollywood location will remain open, but Mason indicated to WeHoVille in March that even that location might not last much longer now that free porn can be easily accessed online and dating/hookup apps like Grindr have made the concept of a cruising spot somewhat irrelevant.

The familiar storefront in Silver Lake, generally adorned with vibrant street art murals, was painted a solid gray color with red trim earlier this year as the Masons searched for a new tenant for the building—which they own. Now, Mason says they’ve found one.

Those dreading the arrival of a new artisanal cheese shop or boutique hotel need not fret. The building’s lease will be taken up by a weed dispensary—apparently to be called “Mota,” which is slang for marijuana in Spanish and will also serve as an acronym for “Medicine of the Angels.” They’ll be moving in November 1.

As for the murals? Mason hints that they might be back. Though the new tenant will ultimately make that decision, she says that they have expressed interest in restoring the building’s colorful appearance. “I think you’ll see new murals in the not-too-distant future,” she says.

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