Hollywood is a land of sunshine dreams, glamorous red carpets, and the magic that happens when a great story is nurtured along by the right creative hands.

It’s also a place where brutal business decisions make and break careers — and where the bottom line can supersede artistic choices.

Since its beginnings in 1886, this singular neighborhood of Los Angeles has been defined by the push-pull between beauty and the bottom line. Even its founder, Harvey Henderson Wilcox, was seduced by the California sun, then used that affection to turn a profit.

Still, it’s hard to resist the spell of a place that’s so iconic. Hollywood landmarks are recognized around the world: Melrose Avenue, Sunset Boulevard, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Bowl, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame, Universal Studios. Tinseltown has become the gold standard for glamour and success around the globe.

our podcast

In this episode, we take a dip into Hollywood history, discuss the times the Oscars ceremony went (gloriously) off the rails, and recommend five books that transported us to the movie capital, including a primer on storytelling from a master screenwriter, a journalist’s view of why we’re drowning in superhero movies, and three novels with distinctly different looks at the lives and loves of film stars. (show notes / transcript)

recommended books

Valentino Will Die

buy | read review

Adventures in the Screen Trade

buy | read review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

buy | read review

The Big Picture

buy | read review

Plain Bad Heroines

buy | read review

Life Itself

buy | read review

featured posts

In this ep, we take a trip to the Golden Age of Hollywood, then jump to the present to try to understand just what's going on in modern Tinseltown. Let's get glamorous, darling, and go behind-the-scenes of the biz.
The smell of power and starlets' perfume wafted through the dining of The Brown Derby during the '30s and '40s. Everyone who was anyone ate there and brokered deals. And one night, they invented a timeless recipe.
We might sometimes get a bit belligerent and argue that 'the book is always better.' But if we're totally honest, we enjoy a bad adaptation as much as a good one. The coulda/shoulda/woulda talk is so much fun.
While we might argue that the book is almost always better, we also love movies — and we love to get the inside scoop on how creative people do their work. These Instagram accounts go behind-the-scenes of movie magic.

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