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

Rain swells the LA River and Arroyo Seco – photos and movie from John Rabe

This was the scene at about 1pm this afternoon where the Arroyo Seco joins the LA River.

...a movie I took panning down the Arroyo Seco (note: it's San Fernando Road, not Avenue 26, as I say in movie):

... a still view from under the Avenue 19 bridge, looking out onto actual whitecaps on the LA River.

... and looking down the final yards of the Arroyo toward the river.

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


Supervisor Mike Antonovich: Don’t wait. Start prepping for the storm now.

The rains are coming, and the Supervisor says you should get to work now – if you haven’t already – if your home is in the path of possible mudslides. Here’s the release:

January 15, 2010
For Immediate Release


LOS ANGELES COUNTY – To prepare for forecasted winter storms that could produce up to 8 inches of rain next week in areas affected by recent fires, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich encourages residents in hillside communities and fire-impacted areas to take precautions now.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works’ 24-hour toll-free hotline, (800) 214-4020, provides homeowners with engineering advice and recommendations on how to prevent damage utilizing sandbags, k-rails, and deflection walls to protect individual properties. Sandbags are available at all Los Angeles County Fire Stations.


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.


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.