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

Reasons to be Cheerful, from Michael Sigman

My friend Michael Sigman honored us by asking for “best of Off-Ramp” nominations for his series of “Reasons to be Cheerful” on his Huffington Post Blog.

You’ll have to go there to read mine – if I even made the final cut -- but I loved that he included Off-Ramp star Mateo Stoneman.

Michael writes:

“This thirty-something blond white guy from New Hampshire -- nee Matthew Stoneman -- sings hundreds of classic mariachis and scores of his own tunes with the voice of an angel. His guitar playing is trance-like, and if there's a piano around he might play his trumpet with his right hand and the keyboard with his left. You can find him doing his troubadour thing all over L.A.'s East Side or hear him on his CD 12 Canciones, which has sold more than 40,000 copies on the web and in the streets and restaurants of L.A. and Havana, where Mateo records and plays with members of the Buena Vista Social Club and other stalwarts.”

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Watch AND listen to Shackleton documentaries


This week on Off-Ramp, we’re broadcasting my NPR documentary, “Walking Out of History,” which uses the voices of the survivors of Shackleton’s “Endurance” expedition, mixed with readings from crew memoirs and diaries, and interviews with modern day explorers Ann Bancroft and Will Steger.

There are also a number of good video versions. Here’s a good one, which appears to be unavailable elsewhere.

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Photo: Frank Hurley

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Big Scary Waves off the coast of France

As you can tell by this week's Off-Ramp, which tells the story of Shackleton's "Endurance" expedition, I like big weather. In the right conditions, I even like being in it. But THIS I prefer to view second-hand:

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Still looking for Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas? John Rabe asks the best chefs in LA.

I’ve begun an Off-Ramp web page featuring interviews with foodies like Providence owner/chef Michael Cimarusti and LA Times food editor Russ Parsons. They give us some great Thanksgiving food ideas, and reminisce about their best and worst Thanksgivings. Dinner Party Download also weighs in with memories and mischief.

I've also added a recipe for Pigtails and Sauerkraut, which is apparently big in Baltimore.

Check it out and add your own Thanksgiving thoughts, recipes, and memories.

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