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

Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl

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We listened to Dudamel’s Bowl performance at home on KUSC. It was transcendent. We felt connected with everyone in Los Angeles. I am dying to find out how many listeners they had last night -- a stat this is now knowable because of Arbitron’s new People Meters. If KUSC’s weekly total in SoCal is 850,000 (as announced 8/31/2009), and only a few thousand could make it to the Bowl last night, could 250,000 or 500,000 have tuned in last night? More? It’s the Big Thing for their core audience.

My only complaint about the broadcast was that the announcers should have followed Ernie Harwell’s lead. When the Tigers won the pennant in 1968, and the crowd at Tiger Stadium went crazy, the Hall of Fame announcer simply said, “Just listen to the Bedlam,” and let us listen to the roar for many seconds before coming back in and talking. But when the final note of the complete Ninth arrived, and the Bowl erupted, the hosts jumped in right away and talked over the noise. Better to let it ride, so we could all share in the joy. That said, huge kudos to Dennis Bartel for asking Maestro Dudamel, “What kind of beer is that?” in the postgame interview. A wonderful moment.

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David Letterman’s Confession

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…As we sit and talk late at night over pie at House of Pies …

Did you see David Letterman’s confession?

The first thing I thought as I watched it today (yes, it took me that long) was how much he was telling the story as if he were Garrison Keillor. The face, the asides, the pauses, the self-deprecation. And then he mentioned that he’s a “towering pile of guilt,” which motivates everything he does, and his Midwest Lutheran upbringing. Yikes! (I suppose this has occurred to other people already. Forgive me.)

Then, I started wondering again exactly why Letterman was doing this. Some have said he announced it himself as a sort of pre-emptive PR strike. If he gets it all out there first, he gets to control the story. But I think that explains only part of it.

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County: One Type of Swine Flu Vaccine Coming by End of Next Week

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The Public Health Department announces one version of the H1N1 vaccine should be here by the end of next week. Here’s the release …

LOS ANGELES - First supplies of the pandemic H1N1 flu vaccine are estimated to arrive around October 9th-10th in some Los Angeles County clinics and doctor's offices. The initial delivery of H1N1 vaccine is expected to be relatively small, and in FluMist® nasal spray form. Additional larger batches of vaccine, the majority of which will be in injection form, are scheduled to arrive every week. It is estimated that by the end of October, doctors and other healthcare providers who ordered H1N1 vaccine should have received some doses.

"While the FluMist nasal spray vaccine may not be appropriate for everyone, we do encourage those who can receive this form of the vaccine to get it," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "We especially encourage eligible, school-aged children to receive the FluMist H1N1 vaccine. We had expected to see an increase in flu cases once the school year started, and those predictions have come true. Most cases of the pandemic H1N1 flu continue to present mild to moderate symptoms, but some individuals have had serious complications."

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What to Eat While Listening to Dudamel's 9th?

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I've just posted an interview with LA Times classical music critic Mark Swed about managing our Gustavo Dudamel expectations. Not that he won't be great and fun, but he's not going to:

-- Make you into a classical pianist ("Doctor, will I be able to play the piano?").
-- Develop a car that runs on water and/or bring back the Red Cars.
-- Remove embarassing stains from contour sheets.

That said, we could have a great presence here for, oh, say, fifty years.

I plan to be listening to Saturday night's "Bienvenido Gustavo" concert of Beethonven's 9th at a small gathering with friends, al fresco ... the house we hold it at depending on who gets the better radio reception. Where will you be listening (KUSC at 7pm Saturday)? Let me know in the comments below, along with the planned menu and wine selection.

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USC Hit and Run

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Neon Tommy reports on the amount of alcohol Adianna Bachan had in her system when she was killed by hit and run driver March 29, and that defense attorneys may use it to win leniency for their clients.

The police report says Bachan and a friend were crossing the street with a green light very early in the morning on when Claudia Cabrera ran them down, killing Bachan and injuring Marcus Garfinkle.

The story includes a phrase that always rankles me:

Fluids drawn from Bachan's eye showed alcohol levels of .17, said Dan Anderson, the supervising criminalist who conducted the toxicology tests on the victim at the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Asked to describe Bachan's level of intoxication, he referred to the state law for drivers: "Double drunk. Not much to it other than that -- .08 is the legal limit."

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