Category Archives: Humour

Circus of Books

Circus of Books is a documentary (available on Netflix as of 2020) about a straight Jewish couple who ran the iconic LA book store, Circus of Books, a “place where people could peruse gay erotica or meet other gay people, hanging out in a place free from homophobia.”  Circus of Books sold gay pornography, but also “obscure novels from LGBTQ authors, as well as science fiction books, foreign newspapers, even Bibles.” (Branson-Potts)

While the documentary discusses a range of LGBTQ issues such as gay rights, the AIDS crisis, and coming out, as a documentary about a gay book store it also features a lot of gay publications, of all sorts.

Spotted on the shelves of Circus of Books were many titles that sit on our very own shelves in the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity.

Following is a list of just some of the publications that you can find in Circus of Books and the Neil Richards Collection. Follow the links to see their catalogue records. The images are screen captures from the documentary, and their time stamps are included.

Uncommon calling : a gay man’s struggle to serve the ChurchBeyond Acceptance is available in the main stacks of the Murray Library. The Neil Richards Collection also carries an extensive non-fiction selection on topics such as religion, history, politics, art, self-help, health, and more.

Curious Wine: A novel by Katherine V. Forrest   (8:00)The Neil Richards Collection is also home to a wide variety of fiction  – from classics, to contemporary, erotic and non-erotic, popular fiction, pulp fiction, and everything in between – as long it is has ties to LGBTQ issues, whether in it’s themes, characters, or authorship.

Physique Pictorial and Drum   (8:18)Physique magazines were the precursor to modern gay magazines, popular around 1940-1960. Styled as magazines about bodybuilding, health, and fitness, they were a way to try to get around censorship and the cultural taboo of homosexuality.

The Neil Richards Collection has more examples of this type of magazine which has been collected into a kit. Examples of titles include Grecian Guild Pictorial, Male Figure Studies, Iron Boys, and Stallion.

Blueboy (21:30)“Blueboy was one of the first really successful gay publications that was not underground” says Larry Flynt (interviewed in the documentary). Flynt was the publisher of Hustler Magazine, who also took on the distribution of gay publications such as Blueboy, Honcho, and Mandate.

Mandate and Honcho (21:35)


All these and many more books, magazines, and movies are available for viewing in the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity.


Branson-Potts, Hailey. “These grandparents sold gay porn for decades and almost went to prison. Now, they are calling it quits.” Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2019. Accessed June 2, 2020.

Screen captures from Circus of Books, Netflix, accessed May 2020.

The 12 Days of Archives

One of my favourite times of year has come again! That time of year when we get to dig through our new arrivals and old favourite and showcase some of the neat things we have in these archives of ours. Everyone take a deep breath and sing along…

On the 12th Day of Christmas my Archives gave to me…

12 LGBT Buttons

Neil Richard Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity,  HQ76.96 B88


11 Ceramic Ashtrays

Duff Spafford fonds, MG 281


10 Sask Artist Greeting Cards

Mac and Beth Hone fonds, MG 183


9 Vintage Matchbooks

Don Kerr fonds, MG 169


8 Sledders Sledding (poorly)

Pamphlet Collection, Postcards, Views of Canadian Sports, LXXVII-134


7 U of S Patches

Sylvia Fedoruk fonds, MG 435


6  Frosh Week Students

University Photograph Collection, A-2976


5 Beer Labels

R.L. Sweet fonds, MG 401


4 Chilean Birds

C.S. Houston fonds, MG 164


3 Antique Keys

Allan Cushon fonds, MG 545 & Artifacts Collections, RG 2000


2 Charging Caribou

                                             Zepp/Varga Collection, PV1014.                                                        Jacob Irkok (1937-2009), Arviat Charging Caribou, antler.


1 Explorer’s Letter

Stuart Houston fonds, MG164.


If you would like to experience the 12 Days of Archives in real-time next year, follow us on twitter and facebook! And if you want to see what we featured in our previous years, check out these posts from 2016, 2015, and 2014!

Archival Playlist

Ever feel like working to a beat? Well, have we got the album for you. This is our Songs of the Archives playlist, featuring all the hits that speak to archivists and their day to day struggles and joys. We promise after listening to this playlist, you will find your self humming along to your day-to-day tasks!

Who Are You?

Classic song of the 70’s, now commonly associated with that TV hit, CSI (or is that just me?), but anyone who has ever tried to describe a photograph’s scope and contents can appreciate this song. Who among us hasn’t looked at an archival photo and muttered, “Who are you? Who, who? Who, who?”

Can’t Always Get What you Want

It’s hard to admit defeat, but sometimes a researcher comes in looking for something that you just don’t have in your archives. And as much as you want to find it for them, if its not there, its not there. Or they come in with a specific question, but after a reference interview you get to the real crux of their query and “well, you might find you get what you need.”

U Can’t Touch This

Everyone who has handled a research question in an archives and felt that sinking feeling when the item that that patron really wants to see has a big ol’ RESTRICTED label on it. And you have to turn to that patron and say, “I’m sorry, but due to privacy laws U Can’t Touch This”.

A Little Less Conversation

This particular ditty touches the hearts of everyone who works in a library setting. There are some areas that are designated as group study areas, but many libraries still have quiet zones. I’m sure there is not a library professional in the world who hasn’t had to, at one time or other, walk up to patron’s and say, with a stern look, “A Little Less Conversation” please.


You’ve conquered that chunk of backlog that’s been on your list for two years. You’ve found that obscure piece of information for your researcher, in that file that was labelled not-the-greatest. A new order of archival quality folders came in just in time to complete processing that collection for appraisal. Any win, big or small, is worthy of celebration!

We want to hear from you! What would you put on your Library or Archives playlist? Comment down below, or send us a tweet at @sask_uasc