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

Three ways the iPhone is a time machine to the past

The KPCC News team was recently assigned iPhones and I guardedly switched over from my trusty Blackberry. It makes sense because the iPhones can not only take pretty good pictures and video, but can also be used as a backup recorder with pretty high fidelity. So it’s a leap into the future. But not entirely. Two of my favorite iPhone apps actually turn the thing into a time machine to the past.

I’ve already blogged about the Hipstamatic app, which changes your pristine digital photos, with their deep focus and high detail, to leaky old Polaroids and Brownies.

I’ve been pondering why I like this so much, and I think it has to do with simplifying. There’s too much detail in a digital photo, too much distraction. The crappy old cameras only looked at one thing at a time, and rendered that one thing in a sort of Impressionistic way, engaging your mind more, or at least in a different way.


Doo Dah Parade releases details for Queen tryouts

The Doo Dahdery is ramping up. The folks who run the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade have released more details on – essentially – how you can be the next Queen of the Doo Dah.

You’ll remember we recently spoke with former Queen (and current judge) Michelle Mills about the life of the Queen and what it takes to win.

Here’s the press release:

Hey, Are You Ready????
Pasadena Doo Dah Parade
Queen Tryouts!
Are coming to YOUR neighborhood

The American Legion Bar
Saturday, February 13
179 N. Vinedo St. in Pasadena
Cross street is Colorado Blvd. (626) 792-9938

($5 cover to Legion’s charity; 1st 20 queen hopefuls to arrive are free)

2:00 pm – Doors Open to All
3:00 pm – Queen Tryouts!

Trying out? please call us at 626-590-1134 we will answer your questions and give you tips. Open to everyone and we mean it! All invited and all are encouraged to dress randomly. Each Queen Hopeful will have a few minutes to WOW the Judges. Microphone and boom box provided. Be ready to show us and tell us why YOU should be Queen!


KPCC Spouse and his "Calvin and Hobbes" documentary, “Dear Mr. Watterson”

The Kickstarter Blog has a nice interview with Joel Schroeder, husband of KPCC’s Lynne Schroeder, who shepherds many of our donors. Joel is working on a documentary project about "Calvin and Hobbes," Bill Watterson's late great comic strip.

Kickstarter: A lot of people identify with this project on a very sentimental level. I know that I do! What do you think makes Calvin & Hobbes so culturally significant to us?

Schroeder: That is exactly the question that we want to explore. How can a comic strip touch so many lives? What sets Calvin & Hobbes apart from every other strip you read? Why did I find it impossible to replace Calvin & Hobbes when Bill Watterson retired the strip so many years ago? Why do people feel so connected to Calvin & Hobbes in such a rare and unique way? Sorry to answer your question with a question…

My favorite Calvin and Hobbes is when Calvin’s cruel father tells Calvin that color was a recent invention, and that painters who used it were insane. I don't know what this says about me.


Providence Restaurant’s Michael Cimarusti gives Off-Ramp a personal travelogue of his chef’s fellowship to Japan

When Michael Cimarusti, the chef-owner of the 2-Michelin star Providence restaurant talked with us about his favorite Thanksgiving recipes and memories, he said he’d be out of the country for the holiday because he was going on a fellowship to Japan, to learn about their cuisine. And, he added, he wanted to talk with us about it when he got back.

When I met with Michael on his return, his excitement was palpable. The interview is featured on this week’s Off-Ramp, but I’ve also made a slideshow with Michael’s own photos from the trip.

It’s also posted on YouTube, if you’re using an iPhone.

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


Mt. Baldy commentator says, “Leave me my snow.” His wife says, “Take a picture; it’ll last longer.”

A couple years ago, KPCC board operator and Off-Ramp commentator Dale Hoppert filed a wonderful commentary about the way lowland Angelinos treat snow on the mountain. (They try to take it home with them.)

Give the piece a listen, and then check out these beautiful photos from Dale’s wife, Jill Coumoutso-Hoppert, snapped after the storms that dowsed us blanketed them in beautiful snow.

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.