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

If You're Going to Speculate about Tiger Woods, Chinese TV says "Go Big or Stay Home."

Thanks to my colleague Rob Schmitz, KQED’s LA bureau chief for passing along this video.

Attention: Bird, Musker! Animators here ought to be pushing for more ImagiNewsCast® sequences in American news broadcasts! The President won’t so a sit down? Now, ImagiNewsCast® how the interview might go, especially when you ask a personal question and he slaps you. During Sweeps Week, wouldn’t those stories about how “your dry cleaning can kill you” look better if you could see people actually dying, and public health workers stacking up the bodies like cordwood? And if your anchor is sick some day, just ImagiNewsCast® him or her!

Check out my blatant attempt to get Google hits on this week’s Off-Ramp.

(ImagiNewsCast® is a registered trademark of SCPR.)


Big Changes for the LA DWP Festival of Lights

Don’t expect to drive through the LA DWP Festival of Lights for a few more weeks. The DWP is stressing greenity this year, with a bike night preview and two weeks where NO vehicles will be allowed. You’ll have to walk, which is a good thing after Thanksgiving and before Christmas, right?

Here’s the DWP’s news release:

LOS ANGELES — It just wouldn’t be the holidays in Los Angeles without the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) annual Holiday Light Festival in Griffith Park. A beloved tradition that is free of charge and open to all, Angelenos from across the city are invited to come view more than one million energy-efficient LED lights in festive displays showcasing the uniqueness of the City of Los Angeles.

The schedule for the 14th annual Holiday Light Festival is as follows:


To: Media. Re: Tiger. "Stop It. It’s not news. Not yet. Maybe never."

Are you as disturbed as I am about the feeding frenzy over Tiger Woods’ car accident this weekend? The LA Times and the NY Times are both engaging in it, when they should leave it to the National Enquirer and TMZ.

Check out the LA Times:

But (Tiger’s) image, and with it one of the sporting world's premium brands, was under threat Sunday as the mystery surrounding his one-car accident, just a few steps from his Florida mansion on Friday, deepened and as he continued to refuse to talk to authorities.

“Under threat” from whom? From you! No sponsor is going to drop him for running over a hydrant and getting hurt, and that’s all we know about it so far. He’s a zillion dollar property, and they won’t drop him unless he steals the space shuttle. I can’t imagine which golf fan is going to stop loving Tiger because he ran over a hydrant. The only constituency he might have angered by doing that is firefighters.


El Secreto del Gringo Mariachi, Mateo Stoneman

Remember Mateo Stoneman, the white mariachi with the voice of an angel, who made his Off-Ramp debut back in March 2008?

Well, guess where he learned to sing so beautifully in Spanish and play guitar? In maximum security prison!

For her LA Times profile, which ran Sunday, reporter Nicole Santa Cruz did what I never even thought of doing: a criminal background check. (I usually only do that for candidates and politicians.)

I’ve reposted Mateo’s original Off-Ramp interview, along with a song he recorded for us, the original “Frenesi.” After he gets back from recording his album in Cuba, he’ll join us on the December 12 Off-Ramp to tell us what led him to prison.


Charles Phoenix and America’s Leftovers

Off-Ramp contributor Charles Phoenix is a treasure.

Somehow, Charles manages to promote kitsch without being kitschy; he is retro without being annoying; he loves local history without being whiney about progress. His schtick, if you think about it – showing other people’s slides, explaining the rituals of the 1950s-1970s – is to take leftovers (of culture) and turn them into delectable treats that don’t make you bilious.

Check out his webpage God Bless Americana, listen to him give Off-Ramp a tour of Whittier Blvd, or watch him in action with his new best friend, Martha Stewart, who finally seems to “get” Charles.

Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp!