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It seems easy on first read to dismiss this book as a mere photo album until one realizes that Publisher Arcadia's Images of America series is intentional. Other past "albums" in the series of highlighting local history include Chinese in Milwaukee, New York's Chinatown, Filipinos in Stockton, etc. Author Montoya has compiled a memorable cache of rarely seen images. Whether the subjects posed for their pictures or were caught unaware by the camera, these images reflect what life must have been like among the Pinoys who eked out a living on the periphery of what became Tinseltown itself: Hollywood's back lot and backdrop with the commingling of make believe and what it took to make it believable. Who can argue against the undeniable resilience of the film industry from its waddling silent films era to the McCarthy red-baiting years when paranoia choked its growth and to the industry's current reign of headline-hugging celebrities?

The few and far between producers, actors, technicians and filmmakers known as being Filipino come towards the end of the book. What comprises the bulk of its pages are photographs of Pinoys tangentially connected with movies: those who served and waited, who "nurtured" the mainstays who ended their workday in watering holes made famous as landmarks in Hollywood. Pinoys earned their measure of success, laid back as they were, but they were pursued nonetheless for their talent in bar-tending. We learn that a Pinoy perfected the mixed cocktail drink! The book cover celebrates Pinoy Pride: that one shorty who passed the height standard for a film, while a horde of auditioning extras crane to see but could only imagine the beaming smile on this Pinoy's face.

Kudos to Carina Montoya and "Bottoms Up!" to Arcadia!

- RAG



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