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

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.)


More free tv’s for a free LA.

I still don’t know what to make of the junked tv’s. (See previous blog entry.)

In my neighborhood, if something still works, people leave it gently by the curb, which discounts the theory that people are replacing their old tube tv’s with LCD or plasma models and tossing the old ones. The question remains: why so many broken tv’s?

This one (below) graces an already problem area - the old Cypress Park library, which has been boarded up for about ten years now:

This one is on the way to the Bilingual Center for the Arts on Avenue 19:

And my neighbor Oscar is pretty pissed about this one, on the verge fronting the lot he uses for a garden. This is just the latest junk others have dumped here:

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.


Blogger Bloom’s Basque Bistro Boggles

Wow! Just check out the dining room of La Villa Basque Restaurant in Vernon, highlighted by Ellen Bloom in her blog, LA Is My Beat.

There's a lot more photos and restaurant info at her blog, posted Wednesday, 2/3.

I guess I should not have been surprised, because LA Observed’s Kevin Roderick had already told me about the Valley’s Basque heritage, so why not in Vernon.

(Thanks to Suzette Smith for sending this along. Nice catch, and yes, we gotta try it. You get an Off-Ramp merit badge, but you might have to design and sew it yourself.)

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.


The LA Times’ new section – a drug or a fabric?

The LA Times recently introduced a new section. See, the Wall Street Journal is buying time on the Times’ presses, and that’s pushed back the usual deadline for Times reporters. The new section -- LATEXTRA -- is supposed to help with that problem. But … what does the name really mean?

Julian Bermudez and Marc Haefele, at Philippe's this morning, riffed on the name.

"Latextra," Julian says, "sounds like a pill that keeps you up all night.

Marc says it's a synthetic fabric that "stretches while you flex … and feels just like velvet."

Please vote below or nominate your own meaning.

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