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Press Clips: A Look Inside "The Riv" - High-End Design Magazine Is MoJo Media's Latest Spin-Off

When Les Firestein set out to develop a new architecture and design magazine, he was determined to rise above the existing class of such publications - periodicals he laughingly calls "shelter porn."

Now comes "The Riv" -- shorthand for "Riviera" - a just-off-the-presses, high-end glossy that is the latest new product from the Montecito Journal Media Group LLC, the company led by Gwyn Lurie, the editor-in-chief of the Montecito Journal.

In this week's edition of "Newsmakers TV," Firestein, best known as a former Hollywood writer whose producing and writing credits include "In Living Color" and "The Drew Carey Show," and Lurie, who also happens to be married to him, drop in for a behind-the-pages peek at what went into putting together The Riv's prodigious, Montecito-focused, 292-page, fat-with-ads first book.

Among its lushly-photographed 20 feature stories are major spreads on several of Montecito's most extraordinary homes, including "Hill House," the futuristic palazzo, long-awaited by architects and real estate stans, undertaken by software pioneer Bruce Heavin, who forms a local power couple with Lynda Weinman of fame (and money), as well as the estate of TV luminaries David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik (think "Friends").

"Look, we love shelter porn as much as the next guy or gal," Les writes in an editor's note introducing the magazine, "but a lot of our stories are also wildly entertaining. So don't just look at the pictures!"

"People who could live anywhere are increasingly clamoring to live in our American Riviera. Seven figures over asking is not uncommon," he adds. "What our new magazine from the Montecito Journal is going to decode for you is how and why this is so. We're going to show you the supermodel that is Montecito but without her makeup. We have the secret knock to all the best homes in the Hedgerow. We're excited to show you around."

If, for Firestein, The Riv is the realization of a long-envisioned labor of love, for Lurie it represents another exploit in her brief tour as a media impresario, since taking over the Journal as head of a new local ownership group just over two years ago. After redesigning the paper and launching its new website, she's overseen the publication of a handsome quarterly magazine and launched "The Giving Book," an innovative new print product focused on the world of non-profits.

In our interview, the duo talk about the past, present and future of the new magazine, break down some of the dollars and cents calculations underpinning it and discuss some of the personalities who live in Montecito's most jaw-dropping estates.


It's all here, right now, in a new episode of Newsmakers TV. Check out the show via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.

You can also watch the show on TVSB, Cox Cable Channel 17, at the following days and times:

Saturdays: 10:00 pm Sundays: 10:30 am Mondays: 6:30 pm Tuesdays: 7:00 am Thursdays: 5:00 am Fridays: 8:00 pm

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