Dressed in black-and-red-leather shorts, fishnet stockings, metal-studded white ankle boots, and a Warhol platinum wig framing her Kiss-like eye makeup, the year-old performance artist and filmmaker is fresh off a sound check for her opening set at a fundraiser for the Tom of Finland Foundation hosted by her lover, Buck Angel, a year-old transsexual porn star, author, and activist. Long before her parents got into the gay porn racket, they were two creatives pursuing respective careers in investigative journalism and special effects. When newspapers and sci-fi projects failed to pay the bills for their growing family, her mother answered an ad about distributing magazines for Larry Flynt, and her dad started a route with the family station wagon. They rearranged the words on the marquee and went on to make a killing producing films with stars like Jeff Stryker, but they also battled the Feds for years over obscenity charges. The Masons never moralized to their customers or employees, many of whom fell victim to the AIDS crisis.
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Karen and Barry Mason never talked to their three children about the family business. Rachel Mason performs a nice bit of misdirection with the film, starting with humorous juxtapositions of this nice, elderly Jewish couple running a gay porn shop and then moving toward a poignant story of acceptance. But their humanity shines through. Karen Mason began her professional career as a journalist, pushing boundaries by writing about controversial subjects such as Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt. Karen, pregnant with their first child, came across an ad in The Times from Flynt, looking for distributors.
Lynne will read along with three exceptional L. Brilliantly edited by Cori Bratby-Rudd, Under the Belly of the Beast is the first book to emerge from The After School at Beyond Baroque, a workshop and publishing initiative for self-identified queers and people of color. The After School began with the goal to develop writing projects that subvert or repurpose how literature is made and read. Read more about the project here. Purchase Under the Belly of the Beast here.