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

Off-Ramp host John Rabe plays with new iPhone app, warns of art prank to come

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days, but I’ve been busy exploring a new app on my iPhone. It’s the Hipstamatic, and it degrades the quality of the iPhone’s camera.

When any joker (like me) with a digital camera can take beautiful shots, the photos we used to make with old cheap cameras now have a certain charm. But now you don’t have to buy a funky Soviet-style camera at Urban Outfitters, and go to the trouble of having the film processed and printed, or search out an old Instamatic and film.

With the Hipstamatic and its interchangeable virtual lenses, films, flashes, and gels, you can take black-and-white photos with a fake date at the bottom:

And you can add a glow to color shots – making even the impossibly handsome Connor the Dog look better:

So equipped, my plan is to go around Los Angeles and take shots of old looking stuff, then post the results, claiming I found the photos in a box in an attic, or at a flea market. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. You, as savvy John Rabe blog readers, will know it’s a prank, and will perhaps think of ways to aid and abet my efforts. (This is an invitation.) Maybe we need a code word? Please try to work the word “Swordfish” into whatever you do, and that’ll tell everyone else you’re in on the joke.

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Recession antidote: EatLA contest winds up with more great shots of happy people

In this week’s Off-Ramp newsletter, we offered four brand new Eat LA guides to food and drink in Los Angeles. (On this week’s show, I interview the editor, and she gave us some books to give away.)

The contestants needed to send us a photo of themselves in some food- or drink-related setting. The first four in were Kelsey, Imelda, Robert, and Suzanne, and their books are in the mail. But we got more great pictures.

As far as I could tell, not one of these entrants needed to go out and take a new photo, which tells me that, even though food related photos are not always the most flattering by fashion standards (that is, Anna Wintour isn’t going to put Sonja Thinmodel on the cover munching a rib or a drumstick, with sauce on her chin), we like them and we take them. And guess what? People look happy when they’re around food and friends, which makes these photos about 900% better than the “beautiful” people’s shots. Anyway, that’s just me.

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California Governor’s Race in a Tie

On his campaign website, current state Attorney General and would-be Governor Jerry Brown touts his old record:

During Governor Brown’s tenure, California produced 25% of the nation's new jobs, significantly reduced taxes and built up the largest state surplus ever. His eight years in office are generally considered among the most innovative in California history.

But it fails to mention that he was also responsible for this, which I bought for $5 Saturday night at a second-hand store on Sunset Blvd.:

The “Jerry Brown for Governor” necktie is 100% polyester, which means it can only be tied in a four-in-hand, otherwise the knot would be as big as your head. It’s brown, of course; can’t fault him for that. It’s about 3 feet wide, which I believe was determined by taking the total width of the sportcoat lapels and dividing them by a factor of 2.54.

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A few almost-winners in the Off-Ramp EatLA contest!

In this week’s Off-Ramp newsletter, we offered four brand new Eat LA guides to food and drink in Los Angeles. (On this week’s show, I interview the editor, and she gave us some books to give away.)

The contestants needed to send us a photo of themselves in some food- or drink-related setting. The first four in were Kelsey, Imelda, Robert, and Suzanne, and their books are in the mail. But we got more great pictures.

Reva Smilkstein, at Fatty’s in Eagle Rock, apparently on June 17:

Heidi Seymour (on the right, I believe, with a friend):

And Tony Rodriguez, “with the Orochon Special #2 Spicy Ramen Challenge in Little Tokyo that I heard Queena Kim talk about a couple of years ago on Off Ramp!”

Thanks to everyone who entered. If you want to be in on these kinds of cool giveaways in the future, sign up for the Off-Ramp Newsletter.

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