Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Wrestlemania 31 weekend: Jim Ross continues an epic career of storytelling


Jerry "The King" Lawler with Jim Ross.


Jim Ross's first appearance at Wrestlemania at Caesars Palace, wearing a toga for the Roman theme.


Jerry "The King" Lawler with "Good Ol' JR" Jim Ross.


Paul Heyman with Jim Ross.


Jerry "The King" Lawler with Jim Ross.

Jim Ross is the most famous pro wrestling play-by play commentator of all time. He's a native Californian, but grew up in Oklahoma and took his trademark drawl into doing commentary. He's worked in wrestling for more than 40 years, calling matches on shows seen by millions of people around the world.

This weekend, he's in the Bay Area for Wrestlemania weekend (the first Wrestlemania in Northern California, and the first in California in 10 years). Ross no longer commentates for WWE, but he's still a storyteller, online and in person. He hosts regular live storytelling shows with stories from his decades-long career and a bit of comedy, along with a live guest, and he also has a huge online presence including a podcast that went to number one in sports its first week out.

Ross has been watching wrestling since he was a kid.


'Ready Player One' was written using cheat codes — here are our 11 favorites

Mark Ramsay/Flickr Creative Commons

A Nintendo Entertainment System.

There have been plenty of video game movies over the years, but there have been far fewer actually good ones. "Ready Player One," based on the 2011 video game-inspired novel, has the chance to be a great one thanks to the announcement that Steven Spielberg has signed on to direct.

That book was inspired by classic video games, and was written using classic video game cheats to play parts of classic games and write them into his book, author Ernest Cline said in a recent talk. That got us thinking about the classic video game cheats and secrets that stuck with us from our younger days playing classic video games — here's our top 11.

1. The Konami Code

Up up down down left right left right B A start! This code became such a part of video game culture that it got its own name. It was popularized in various games made by Konami, particularly Contra, leading to it also being known as the "Contra Code" for its ability to give you 30 lives in the game. Before the Internet, it was spread through gaming magazines and word of mouth — it was so influential that there are still developers who put it in their games. (There's even an entire Wikipedia page of games, both from Konami and others, that use the Konami Code. It's even been used on some websites.)


R-rated Power Rangers fan film pulled from YouTube, but you can watch it here

A still from "POWER/RANGERS," a highly-produced Power Rangers fan film starring James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff.

Update 2/28: The "POWER/RANGERS" film is back on YouTube and Vimeo. Watch the censored YouTube version with a new viewer discretion disclaimer here:


You can also watch the Vimeo version, featuring more adult content. The video's description emphasizes its lack of connection in any official way to the Power Rangers:

"Deboot of the Power Rangers. My take on the FAN FILM. Not a pilot, not a series, not for profit, strictly for exhibition. This is a bootleg experiment not affiliated or endorsed by Saban Entertainment or Lionsgate nor is it selling any product. I claim no rights to any of the characters (don't send me any money, not kickstarted, this film is free). This is the NSFW version. An alternate safe version is on youtube."

Director Joseph Kahn tells Deadline, "They put these disclaimers on so kids so don’t confuse our super-violent film with their Power Rangers brand. There are no hard feelings. We signed contracts. We can play it anywhere we want on all platforms. I think they realized that people just want to see it."


Oscars 2015: Printable Oscar ballots and bingo cards


Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Announcement cards and envelopes by designer Marc Friedland which are used by presenters at the Oscars to announce winners are on display at the food and decor preview Feb. 4, 2015 of this years Governors Ball, the post-Oscar celebration which follows the 87th Oscars ceremony on Feb. 22 in Hollywood.

Ready for your 2015 Oscars party? We've got printable Oscars ballots and the bingo cards you need to prove your superiority over your movie-loving friends during your Academy Awards viewing party. Here are the party printables you'll need to play along with Sunday's show, with TV coverage kicking off at 4 p.m. Pacific. (Get caught up on KPCC's 2015 Oscars coverage right here to have more fun and help make your picks!)

Printable official Oscars ballot


Los Angeles comedian, 'Parks & Recreation' writer Harris Wittels, 30, dies in possible drug overdose

Comedy Central's Primetime Emmy Awards Party

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

File: (L-R) "The Sarah Silverman Program" writer Harris Wittels, comedian Sarah Silverman, executive producer/head writer Dan Sterling and actress Laura Silverman, arrive at Comedy Central's Emmy Awards party at the STK restaurant Sept. 21, 2008 in Los Angeles.

12th Annual AFI Awards - Presentation

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images For AFI

File: Editors Alan Yang and Harris Wittels pose with their Year of Excellence Award for "Parks and Recreation" during the 12th Annual AFI Awards held at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on Jan. 13, 2012.

Harris Wittels, a comedy writer who worked on "Parks & Recreation," has died at 30, the Los Angeles Police Department's Jane Kim tells KPCC.

Wittels was discovered by his assistant around 12 p.m., Kim said, and was already dead. Kim said that Wittels' death was a possible overdose, but that the Coroner's Office would determine the cause of death. Wittels had attended drug rehab twice.

Comedy Central, where Wittels worked on "The Sarah Silverman Program" and "Secret Girlfriend," confirmed Wittels' death, as did the comedy show he appeared at Wednesday night.

Comedy Central tweet

Meltdown Show tweet

Wittels was also well known for his @Humblebrag Twitter account and later book, helping to popularize the idea online of the false modesty of bragging while trying not to look like you're bragging.