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

Getty mounts Minor White photography exhibit

Minor White/J. Paul Getty Museum

"Dodd Building,” Portland, Oregon, 1939, an early photo by Minor White.

Off-Ramp commentator Marc Haefele reviews "Minor White: Manifestations of the Spirit," a new photo exhibit at the Getty Center through Oct. 19.

“No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen.’’ —Minor White

Minor White (1908–1976) stands  inconspicuously at the center of 20th century photography. White contained several paradoxes: 

  • Self-taught in the art of taking pictures, he became a great teacher.
  • He stood equal to the most famous photographers of his time—such as Ansel Adams and Alfred Stiegletz—yet stayed out of the spotlight of fame.
  • Employed as an academic,  he took his camera into the wilderness of nature to create his greatest work—which edges over into a spiritual abstraction that became almost a religion to White.


Immigration news: Sketches of Murrieta and the undocumented migrants debate

Mike Sheehan

Scenes from the Murrieta immigration protest

Mike Sheehan

Scenes from the Murrieta immigration protest.

Mike Sheehan

Scenes from the Murrieta immigration protest

Mike Sheehan

Scenes from the Murrieta immigration protest

Mike Sheehan

Scenes from the Murrieta immigration protest

Off-Ramp sketch artist Mike Sheehan draws and writes from Murrieta, a flashpoint in America's undocumented migrant controversy.

Friday I went to the Murrieta immigration protest. I wanted to see it up close. When I got out of the car, I came to a little crossroads with a group of anti-immigration protestors yelling things at passing cars, like “The Obama administration is aiding and abetting the enemy!” or “Shame on the feds for letting the enemy get close to us!” 

It was kind of surreal.

Another weird thing is protesters would start talking to each other about normal things — like TV shows and their kids — right after the outburst, like it had never happened. Then someone would say something from a car and they’d go right back to shouting.

The road to the main demonstration was blocked to cars, and police had set up a little canopy on the corner across from the protesters. The police were really calm throughout this whole thing.


New 'Dr. Zhivago' backstory details Soviet repression, author's personal torment

Doctor Zhivago

Off-Ramp correspondent Marc Haefele reviews The Zhivago Affair by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee.

More than 55 years ago, something unique happened in the U.S.  literary world: two novels, each by a Russian-born writer, dueled for top place on the New York Times’ best seller list. Finally, Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” was trounced by #1 best seller “Dr. Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak, a poet few Americans had heard of. 

Suddenly, at the height of the Cold War, tens of thousands of citizens of the Land of the Free were imagining themselves on the Siberian Steppes, following Zhivago and his life-love Lara in their hopeless quest for a separate peace in the Russian Civil War. In colleges, students were enrolling in Russian courses and trying to read “Zhivago” in the original.

Nabokov’s enduring tragedy of pre-teen vixen Lolita is probably more popular today.


Tree climbing champs return to Griffith Park to defend their titles


International Society of Arboriculture

Jamilee Kempton (first on the left) and Chad Brey (third to the right) pose with fellow winners of the 2014 North American Tree Climbing Championship.

Yes, competitive tree climbing is a real-life thing. If you'd like to know more, take a listen here

Griffith Park once again hosts the Western Chapter ISA Tree Climbing Championship for 2014. The West's top professional tree climbers will gather for the chance to compete in the International Tree Climbing Championship in Milwaukee. 

2013 champions Jacob Claassen and Jamilee Kempton will climb to protect their champion titles. Kempton and Santa Barbara native Claassen both competed in the 2014 North American Tree Climbing Championship held in Pasadena. Kempton placed third in the Women's Master Challenge.

California climber Chad Brey will also compete for the Western Chapter title. He edged out fellow climbers to win the 2014 NATCC. Come August, he'll head to Milwaukee for the 2014 ITCC.  


Assemblyman Mike Gatto's vintage license plates are stamped out

DMV legacy license plate program

Mashup of images from California Department of Motor Vehicles

The California DMV is taking preorders for three different classic designs under the state's new legacy license plate program. Any plate that receives at least 7,500 preorders by Jan. 1, 2015, will be made available to motorists for $50 — it's the same cost for sequential and vanity plates.

We get letters:

I read an article of yours online about the new California vintage license plates in which you said that the letters and numbers on the new plates will be raised, not flat. I’ve seen contradictory information about this and am wondering if you know any more about it now that the yellow on black plates are being issued. If the letters and numbers are raised, does this include the “California” at the top or only the actual license number? Thanks so much for your help. — Jane R., Berkeley

And we get action ... from the license plate bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Mike Gatto:

-----Original Message-----
From: Gatto, Mike
To: Rabe, John

Stamped metal, using the original molds!

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