I'm saddened today. I just read that Circus of Books in West Hollywood is closing. I don't even live in New York, but the erosion of 8th Avenue in Chelsea upsets me, now I feel it happening where I live. It's been a little while since I shopped at the store, but I have popped in a few times to see if there was a book I couldn't wait for Amazon to deliver, or a naughty man calendar for the year, or an issue of Fangoria
edited by Bryan Fuller
or a spare Starrfucker
magazine I wanted to gift someone...
Even if I didn't go in every week, I felt its presence and constant reminder of a time when I first came to California, a new Gay, and feeling as if I had found the Mother Ship. My first time in there, I was amazed by the multitudes of magazines- there used to be so many! I bought my first (and later, probably my last) issue of Attitude there! There was Genre, Out, The Advocate, TeTu, Edge, Bent, In Touch, Frontiers... so many! I also bought general entertainment magazines there, too! And that was the non-porn list. I was delighted by the amazing choice of porn magazines, videos, toys and novelties to be had. I would often top of an unsuccessful bar night with a visit, just to see what was new or suddenly appealed to me. Heck, I even met delicious porn actors, Carlo Masi and Adam Champ there!
I guess its demise was inevitable, if not because print & porn are not prevalent enough to sustain the business, but because the gays don't need specialized places to find their stuff much anymore.
Even though it makes sense, it still makes me wonder how new Gays will ever know that feeling of walking into a new world where they suddenly feel like they finally belong.
As a Gay of A Certain Age, I know that experiencing that feeling has made me aware of a gratitude that I carry with me all my days and a sense of loss, because that landmark will no longer be there.