Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Designer Nick Verreos boosts Rabe’s ego like a pair of padded shoulders, at FIDM Oscar costume shindig.

We attended the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising Oscar costume party last weekend, and met top designer Nick Verreos, of Project Runway fame, and discovered his secret.

(2-6-2010: Nick Verreos, Julian Bermudez, and John Rabe at FIDM. Photo courtesy FIDM.)

Nick turned to talk with my husband Julian. I, of course, continued talking. Suddenly Nick turned to me and said, “Now I know where I know you! I didn’t recognize your face but I knew your voice!” Turns out, Verreos not only listens to KPCC, but he’s a big fan of Off-Ramp.

I was pleased as punch.

For more photos of FIDM’s exhibit of costumes from the 2009 crop of movies, check out Nick’s blog.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)


Yet another beautiful rainbow shot – with a difference.

My friend Scott Johnston looked out the window of his home in Los Feliz yesterday afternoon and was transfixed by the brilliant (double) rainbow that captivated much of Los Angeles. “It was the brightest rainbow I've seen,” he wrote.

Being short of cash (because of the recession), I immediately drove to Glendale to find the end of the rainbow, and snapped my own photo of what I found there:

I will, however, be donating 10% of the net profit -- after state bullion taxes and the cost of a corned beef sandwich (for the leprechaun) at Billy’s deli -- to KPCC to support the upcoming membership drive.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)


FOO (Friend of Off-Ramp) Michael Sigman working to connect you and me in new community building project

I got an e-mail from my friend Michael Sigman, the former LA Weekly Publisher, announcing he’s starting a series blogs on a "Creating Community In Los Angeles" project he’s working on in conjunction with HuffPost.

“Alienation and rootlessness are so deeply ingrained in Angelenos' psyches -- partly because so many of us are transplants -- as to be almost a badge of honor. … But there's nothing cool about the isolating ripple effects of massive unemployment and the shuttering of hundreds of community-oriented government programs and non-profits. … Throw in long-term trends -- like ever-increasing traffic congestion; technologies like Facebook, Twitter and texting that discourage actual human contact and allow people to work at home; and the conversion of locally-owned shops to one-size-fits-all chain franchises -- and you've got a city where finding community is tougher than ever.”


Rabe desk cleaning uncovers document handwritten by John Adams. No, not that John Adams.

We’re moving to a new building, so I’m cleaning out my office at KPCC’s downtown Los Angeles bureau.

Besides shoveling a year’s worth of paper off the desktop, I threw out six or seven trees worth of paper files – including the one I made for my 2001 interview with John Adams, the minimalist composer with the close relationship with the LA Philharmonic, who is also the world’s most-performed living composer.

Back then, he was in town to conduct “Nixon in China” and a new composition, the piano concerto “Century Rolls.” I had utterly forgotten that he voiced a promo for us for broadcast, but I’d also forgotten that he wrote the promo in his own hand! (I must have dictated it to him; I recognize my spare style.)

It says, in case you don’t read Composer:

“Hi, I’m J A. On the next All Things Considered on KPCC I’ll be talking about Los Angeles Phil featuring Nixon in China and my new piano concerto, “Century Rolls.”


Rabe v. Culture Protectors

Don't let this happen to you!

This week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine led to another in my long series of letters to the editor that will never be published … in the New York Times.

A bunch of people wrote in to the paper to respond to James Patterson Inc., an article about James Patterson, whose publisher has permanently assigned him an entire staff because he cranks out a lot of books that make a lot of money.

Some excerpts from the reaction:

-- Is this “literature”? No. (Joan Larsen, Park Forest, Ill.)
-- James Patterson may be many things … but he is not a writer. (Wheeler Winston Dixon, Film Studies Professor, University of Nebraska)
-- Calling James Patterson an author is like calling Fox News news. Technically true, but certainly disingenuous. (Scott Schilling, Fairfield, Conn.)