Tag: studio city

Review and Giveaway: “Studio City a Mile of Style” by Joann R. Deutch

Recently I was contacted to take a look at a new book, Studio City a Mile of Style-What’s History What’s Gossip” by Joann R. Deutch. As I read through the mountain of information sent over by her publicist, my interest began to grow. I have had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles twice in recent years, and I was looking forward to learning more about this star studded city. I readily agreed to take a look and they also agreed to provide a hardcopy to giveaway to one of my readers! See instructions below on how you can enter to win this fact filled book.

Studio City Book Cover

Their Summary

Author Joann Deutch – a Studio City based lawyer who served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for over 15 years as the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary – tracked down the many untold stories which have left their mark not only on her community, but as well on Hollywood. A riveting and fascinating book that reveals the untold story of a more than often under-exposed, under-valued city and its rich and influential contribution to the film industry.

Deutch throws a bright light into a corner of our film heritage that has been habitually, even sinfully, ignored. In “Studio City A Mile of Style – What’s History What’s Gossip” the whimsical and the unexpected accompany the serious history – like seeing John Wayne riding along Ventura Boulevard in an English saddle, or hitch hiking up Laurel Canyon and getting a lift from John Lennon.

Finally Studio City’s real history and true identity is assembled in one book!  Dozens of never-before seen lithographs, broadsides, archival materials and remembrances throw into relief the astonishing development of the Mile of Style as founded by Mack Sennett (a famous film director/producer in the early 1900s) on old-fashioned Progressive Era ideas –  “If you reach for a goal, you can achieve it.”

When we talk about the film industry we all immediately, mistakenly,  think “Hollywood”, but Studio Cityplays a huge and crucial role in the overall history of said “film industry”; not to mention the making of the film & TV studios. That Hollywood is more an idea and a dream rather than a place these days.
It was and still is Studio City with its backlots and open space that truly constitutes the heart of the film industry. Yet we keep defining that city by the one fact that has become common knowledge: the presence of the CBS/Radford lot, but Studio City is the real “Hollywood”.
This is where Joann Deutch comes in. 
Wanting to understand what drove Studio City residents to be so civically committed to the community and what made her city such a special place in a sea of satellite communities in Los Angeles, she took on the challenge of investigating and uncovering the real story, and breaking some of the word-of-mouth stereotypes attached to its history.   
No one thinks of Studio City as a suburb.  Why? Who would have expected that the phrase in America the Beautiful “ from sea to shining sea” would refer to the Battles fought in the Cahuenga Pass, which bought California into the United States? Who thinks about Cahuenga Pass’ role as a Free State as a part of the balancing act to avoid the Civil War? Who knew that Studio City was a petri dish experiment about the Progressive Movement?
Want to know where Jay Leno started his career? Want to see where the Beatles and Rolling Stones hung out in between gigs?  Want to know where Joni Mitchell and Errol Flynn lived?
This is your invitation to dive into the living dream!
My Summary
I was excited when the hardcopy give away came in the mail and my PDF copy was delivered via e-mail. I quickly loaded the PDF onto my nook and packed my bags to head to the most relaxing place to read, Hilton Head Island.
As I began reading I was surprised to find that Chapter One began with the early Native American settlers, and the closest village to modern day Studio City, the Cahuenga village. Before this point I didn’t realize Joann R. Deutch started her research at the very beginning, I expected her to pick up with the growth of the entertainment industry in the west. It was nice to see she started with the real roots of the town, and it was interesting to read about the Native American’s beliefs and traditions, but I quickly realized this was more like a textbook than a novel.
Perhaps I had the preconceived notion this would read more like a story or a novel because that is the style I typically read. However, I was still surprised when I found a book full of bullet points and short stories rather than a continuous storyline. In addition to the formatting I was also a little put off by the way Deutch chose to organize the information in the book.
Although the book does somewhat follow chronological order, Deutch tends to bounce around from year to year depending on what topic she is covering in her chapter. Each chapter reflects a different aspect of Studio City, for example Chapter 5 covers the early history of the city, Chapter 9 covers the music scene, and Chapter 11 covers areas that are named after people. Within the chapters are short stories or bulleted facts about “Studio City’s Architecture”, “Bits and Pieces of Local History”, or whatever other topic the chapter is focusing on.
As I hit Chapter 13-“Gossip, People, and Colorful History” I read interesting facts, funny stories, and learned information about stars I never knew. As much as I enjoyed all of the information provided, I again was put off by the way it was organized. While the overall book does carry a loose chronological order, it still maintains a somewhat chronological order. However, chapter 13 is instead organized alphabetically by celebrity last name. Each new section within the chapter starts off with the name of the celebrity, followed by bulleted information and paragraph style stories. It took me a minute to figure out why I was reading about a modern day star, then suddenly was transported back to silent film actors.
As I read through the first couple of chapters I enjoyed the information I was learning, but came to the conclusion that this is a better coffee table book than a read-through-novel. I would enjoy digesting this better by flipping through the pages, looking at the amazing pictures, and learning facts from time to time rather than sitting down and committing to reading it cover to cover.
I must give props to Joann Deutch for the amount of time, research, and information that was poured into this book. It is chock-full of interesting images, old lithographs, vintage posters, and snapshots of the amazing architecture, studio lots, and celebrities. I learned so much about this small section of Los Angeles and laughed out loud at stories. One of my favorite sections was a story about early filmmakers being attracted to the area for the close proximity to Mexico as an easy hideout to avoid Thomas Edison Patent Agents.
This book is obviously a labor of love, written by someone who appreciates Studio City for everything it is and has become due to its rich history. This book is perfect for any history, film, or Los Angeles enthusiast. It is a great guide for anyone planning a trip to Los Angeles and a visit to Studio City. The last chapter even hits on interesting places to visit nearby! I hope you pick this book up and add it to your coffee table collection!
To enter this giveaway and get your own hardcopy of Studio City a Mile of Style all you have to do is comment below and either link to the giveaway through your Facebook page or Twitter! Please include a link to your tweet or Facebook share in your comment. One week from now the winner will be randomly selected using the plugin And the winner is…
Thanks for reading today’s post and participating in the giveaway! Please help me spread the word by liking, subscribing, sharing, and commenting! Thanks for stopping by!

Coming Soon: Book Reviews and Giveaways!


As a blogger I am often approached to review products, publish guest posts, and advertise for companies. This is an added bonus to something I already enjoy, however in the process I do a lot of nay saying. I refuse to present unrelated information or poorly written posts to my subscribers, and the general web browsing public. However, if something peaks my interest I gladly do a little research and decide if it is worth my time to write about it, and your time to read about it.

All of this comes down to my newest endeavor as a book reviewer. In the past couple of months I have been approached by four separate authors and publishing companies about review upcoming books. If you are a frequenter of my blog you should know by now that I am an avid reader and very supportive of tying the literary and art world together in and out of the classroom. Because of this, it was a no brainer to jump on board and offer something new to my readers. After all art, reading, and writing, are part of the same creative spectrum.

My plan is to post at least one review a month over the summer, and provide you with an honost review of each book. I hope your interest is peaked and you decide to pick up a copy for yourself, after all there is no better way to spend the summer than reading in a hammock or on the beach. I am also pleased to announce that each author was willing and excited to give me an additional copy to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Along with each review I will set up a giveaway you can enter to win your own copy!

Here are excerpts sent to me by the authors and publishers of the books I have been asked to review. They have a wide range in content from children’s books, to research based, to quirky stories. I have never limited my reading to one genre, and I hope you are open to exploring a variety of books with me!

Cozy Classics presents Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables by Holman Wang and Jack Wang

“Designed as developmentally appropriate abridgements for the very youngest of learners, Cozy Classics retell the world’s most beloved literary works in just 12 simple, baby-friendly words. Complemented by photographs of lifelike, expressive and simply stunning needle-felted figures and objects, Cozy Classics inject a sense of narrative into the baby wordbook—and revitalize the genre for young and old alike. For while there are only so many years one can spend learning to count to ten or the colors of the rainbow, the pleasure that is to be found in the works of literature’s greats, as any adult knows, is forever!”

Now, in April 2013, the brothers Wang expand the Cozy Classics repertoire with their takes on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.

“From a very young age, children fall in love with characters: Barney, Dora, Cinderella,” says Holman Wang. “The Cozy Classics books foster a love of characters that will ultimately lead to the classics themselves. Unlike Barney and Dora, Les Misérables’s Jean Valjean and Pride & Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennett are characters that children will never outgrow.”

This will be the first of my book review series, and I am excited to discuss it with my friends and family who have children. I am very intrigued to see how such complex stories could be reduced to only 12 words. In addition I can’t wait to see the felt sculptures turned photographs used to illustrated the book and reinforce the idea behind the 12 words. Keep your eyes peeled for this review and giveaway at the end of May or beginning of June. To all you mommies out there, this could be a classic addition to your children’s library of educational books!

All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli

“How do you know when you’re supposed to stop what you’re doing and change course? I did everything they tell you to do: I went to college, got my degree, and landed a great job. I get wined and dined in the best restaurants New York City has to offer, I do the minimum amount of work that’s required, I take long lunches, I meet celebrities, and I negotiate multi-million dollar television ad deals hung over. If I continue on this path, I will become a wealthy corporate executive…and miserable. What they don’t prepare you for – in all of the canned speeches you hear about your future – is truth about what you’re getting yourself into. The truth is you will be dealing with disgruntled bosses, office politics, vindictive colleagues, and the crippling reality that you are going to spend the best years of your life chained to a desk doing work that will ultimately leave this world worse off than when you arrived. I’m Jamie Hayden, and that’s all about to change.”

This book will be my first novel review and read of the summer. This book sounds like an interesting perspective of the life and career attitude that is so prevalent in our society. When I read this excerpt I immediately begin to visualize a Wizard of Oz type scene, everything gray, black, and white, until Dorothy lands in Oz and everything turns to color. Similarly, this character seems stuck in a dreary world, a life he isn’t satisfied with, until he takes a stand against it. However, leaving me with the line “and that’s all about to change” keeps me in the dark, the black and white world, and I can’t wait to see where this character, Jamie Hayden, and the author, Paul Matarelli will take us. Look for the review and electronic giveaway (for your tablet, Nook, Kindle, or other electronic reading device) of this book in the middle or end of June.

Fun & Games By David Michael Slater

“The 1980’s: it’s the time of Dungeons & Dragons, banana clips, and Atari. Jonathan Schwartz is growing up in a family like no other. His sisters, Nadia, the dark genius, and Olivia, the gorgeous tease and temptress, manipulate Jon and his friends for their own entertainment.And his Holocaust survivor grandparents? Their coping techniques are beyond embarrassing. A disastrous visit to Jon’s class by his grandmother unhinges his famous father, setting off a chain of events that threatens to send the dysfunctional Schwartz clan up in flames once and for all. Fun & Games is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of faith, family secrets, betrayal, and loss—but it’s also a tale of friendship, love, and side-splitting shenanigans.”

This book peaks my interest in so many ways, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The quirky characters combined with interesting history is right down my ally. I love nothing more than a good character study, and this sounds like it is full of interesting characters. The book is set to be released July 20th, and I can’t wait to spend the remainder of June with my nose buried in this novel. Look out for my review and giveaway at the beginning to middle of July.

Studio City A Mile of Style by Joann Deutch

“Impeccably researched, erudite, and filled with unforgettable stories and pictures, Deutch’s book is a MUST-READ for anyone working in the film/TV business, anyone considering a career in the entertainment industry, anyone simply in love with Hollywood, and/or anyone hoping to understand Los Angeles’ past, present and future. 

Author Joann Deutch – a Studio City based lawyer who served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for over 15 years as the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary – tracked down the many untold stories which have left their mark not only on her community, but as well on Hollywood. A riveting and fascinating book that reveals the untold story of a more than often under-exposed, under-valued city and its rich and influential contribution to the film industry.”
I currently have three close friends living in Los Angeles, trying to break into the movie industry. Taking advantage of having a free place to stay, I have been to LA twice to visit, and like many people, was mesmerized by the glamor of the city. I’m looking forward to delving into this book and learning more about the history and inner workings of the complex city and industry that LA is. Look for the review and giveaway of this book in August!
I hope you are as excited as I am about these new books, and will be coming back for a chance to win a free copy of each one! Thanks for stopping by and supporting my blog!