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

LA Art Show opens at LA Convention Center

The 2010 LA Art Show opened Wednesday night. (KPCC is a media sponsor.)

We spotted Eli Broad when we arrived, but didn’t have time to chat. We also spotted (or checked) a theme: houndstooth.

I know the guy on the left is more of a plaid, but it makes for a good picture. Yes, that’s an ascot. I was trying to be arty.

It was also good to see that my brother-in-law Larry DeBoever was not fibbing when he said there’s a famous artist in the family …

… the decadent Jan Frans DeBoever. Just look how decadent he is, pinching his own cheek!

Jan Frans DeBoever is from Ghent, and pronounced it dih-BOOV. Larry lives in Dallas with my sister Clare and says dih-BOH-ver. Which is no worse, I guess, than the way we treat the name Rabe.

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

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Thursday update: More Rabe rain photos from the Arroyo-River confluence


With another downpour on the way, I stopped off at about 8 this morning at the LA River accessway off San Fernando Road to take a few more photos. The LA River doesn’t seem much higher than it was Monday. And the Arroyo has definitely diminished…

If you’re like the 99% of us for whom these storms are just an inconvenience, here’s a little perspective. Here’s where that homeless man is apparently living.

Finally, under the Avenue 19 bridge, a little advice to thespians … and a warning to slumming taggers that this is real gang territory. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t here Monday.

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

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Views of LA’s flooded history, courtesy LA Public Library photo archive

A Martian could take one look at our infrastructure and know Los Angeles has historically had big flooding problems. “Hmm, they paved over the river. It must flood here. But I wonder why they have so many flat roofs?”

Here are some shots of flooding in various parts of Southern California through history, culled from the Los Angeles Public Library’s excellent online photo archive, with the captions as they appear online.

For titillation purposes, I saved the beefcake shot for the end.

Downey, 1954: View of the high flood waters which covered the sidewalk and street in this shopping area of Downey. A motorist is seen driving carefully through the flooded street. (LAPL-Herald-Examiner collection)

Downtown LA, 1952: Photo shows cars driving through the floodwaters at the intersection of Fifth and Flower Streets. A traffic officer (arrow) stands in swirling waters to carry out unenviable duties. (LAPL-Herald-Examiner collection)

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Rabe spots USNS Mercy in drydock in San Francisco. It’s a big boat.

We were driving to breakfast in San Francisco Sunday when I spotted a huge red cross on a huge ship.


I didn’t have time to do more investigation until today. Turns out, according to Sam Spade’s San Francisco, it’s the USNS Mercy, the sister ship of the USS Comfort, which is helping earthquake victims in Haiti.

USNS Mercy is the lead ship of her class of hospital ships in the United States Navy. In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, USNS Mercy and her crew do not carry any ordnance. Firing on the Mercy is considered a war crime. The Mercy class hospital ships are the third largest ships in the U.S. Navy Fleet by length, surpassed only by the nuclear powered Enterprise and Nimitz-class Supercarriers. Mercy is out by the drydocks at Mission Bay. Her homeport is San Diego and she is in port for a little maintenance.

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Rain Update: Tuesday Scenes from the Arroyo and LA River

A nice break today (at blogtime) from the rain, and a chance to update the arroyo and river photos without getting my shoes wet.

Here’s the Arroyo at about 8:30 this morning, taken from the new Avenue 19 bridge.

And the LA River from the bridge over North Broadway – as two (!) trains go by.

And – nothing to do with rain – a little homeless outpost along Avenue 19. Will the charcoal still light?

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

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