Cinema professor’s book captivates readers

Vincent Brook, an Adjunct Instructor for Media Arts, poses for a photo on the Mall in Woodland Hills, Calif. Feb. 8, 2013. Brook's recently published his book, Land of Smoke and Mirrors: A Cultural History of Los Angeles.  Photo: Carolyn Arredondo
Vincent Brook, an Adjunct Instructor for Media Arts, poses for a photo on the Mall in Woodland Hills, Calif. Feb. 8, 2013. Brook’s recently published his book, Land of Smoke and Mirrors: A Cultural History of Los Angeles.
Photo: Carolyn Arredondo

 

 

With his signature Indiana Jones hat and knowledgeable persona, a Pierce College media arts instructor, Vincent Brooks, has ventured into the world of writing various anthologies, essays, and books throughout the years.

Brook has published his latest book, “Land of Smoke and Mirrors: A Cultural History of Los Angeles,” which was released recently.

Born in the San Fernando Valley and witnessing the Hollywood movie scene, Brook grew up with a love for cinema which led him into the career of screenwriting and film editing.

He later decided to become a media arts instructor for colleges around Los Angeles such as USC, California State University, Los Angeles and Pierce College, where he has taught for many years.

“Vincent is a very good teacher because he has actually worked in the industry and has taught for a while now,” said Robert O’ Neil, a media arts instructor and colleague of Brook.

While obtaining his Ph.D. at UCLA, Brook wrote about the Jewish community and their roles in television. He wrote “Something Ain’t Kosher Here: The Rise of the Jewish Sitcom” which talks about television shows such as “Seinfeld,” “The Nanny,” and “Friends.”

Another book he wrote was “Driven to Darkness: Jewish Emigre Directors and the Rise of Film Noir,” which talks about the dark era of Hollywood films after the rise of Hitler. Both of these literary works achieved good reviews.

However, Brook’s latest book has caught the eye of many people and has gained publicity quickly.

“It feels great to have one of my books as a required text for my class on the history of Los Angeles,” Brook said.

With his most recent book now being read and studied in college classes in Los Angeles and a recent book signing at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park, Brook’s book has gotten a great amount of interested readers.

“I was happy to see that more people than I expected attended the book signing,” said Brook.

Brook also said the museum was pleased to see how many people attended.

“This was a fabulous lecture,” said Patricia Murillo, a woman who attended the Autry Museum book signing. “He took a very unusual approach to describing the history of our city and captivated his audience.”

Brook shows the cultural history of L.A. by describing the cultural changes the city has been through throughout the years, which is now one of the most multi-cultural places in the United States, in his own personal way of writing and lecturing in his new book.

Brook’s book also received various positive reviews from other authors and professors.

“A compelling, well-researched story of Los Angeles’s deep and diverse roots and growth from indigenous settlements to the world’s most multicultural metropolis,” said Felix Gutierrez from the University of Southern California. “A must-read for anyone hoping to understand the city’s past, present and future.”

If students would like to learn more about their city’s cultural history and would like to support a Pierce College instructor the entire book can be found online or bought on Amazon.com.

Brook is also looking forward to an upcoming book signing in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, and is looking forward to writing a new book on Woody Allen.