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

LA Times Squanders Another Chance

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Don't get me wrong, the LA Times' Bill Dwyre and Lance Pugmire do a great job covering Chris Arreola's loss to Vitali Klitschko last night. But why did the paper bury the story?

It was on the front page ... of the sports section. It deserved to be on the front page of the newspaper.


-- Arreola was vying to be the first Mexican-American champ.
-- Arreola was raised in East LA and lives in Riverside.
-- The fight, for the world heavyweight championship, happened in downtown LA at Staples.
-- Arreola is funny, charming, and candid (see the Off-Ramp interview).

But even more, and I don't care if you rank this first or last, the newspaper is dying for readership, and is perceived as a white liberal paper. Put the damn thing on the front page, where Mexican-Americans might see it and think, "Oh, a story I might want to read." And buy the paper. (Hell, it might also increase readership by Ukrainians.)


Joys of Adulthood - Part 1

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Why act like a poor college student if you don't have to?

In my book (and YouTube movie), throwing away nasty socks and stinky sponges is an affordable and gratifying luxury.

Please feel free to nominate others in the comments section below. Or excoriate me for forgetting the lessons of The Great Depression.


Point of Personal Privilege

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Huzzah for the birth of a dog!

She's Cara the Irish Terrier, aka Danu's Bright Eyed Cara Colleen, for her mother, Danu, and my grandfather Karl's dog, Shelia's Colleen.

Today we celebrate her fifth birthday.

Thanks to Linda and Alain for giving her to us, bringing us an amount of joy I used to think was overkill, in my jaded pre-dog days.

(Here she is at about 2.5 years, in Eaton Canyon.)


Moveable Music Feast Friday Night in LA

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As we sit and chat over pie and coffee at House of Pies, let me tell you about Friday night...

We started with the Ahmad Jamal concert at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in the Washington Boulevard District. Holden was there, still raising hell. Angela Basset was there, still raising men’s testosterone levels.

And Jamal was there in great form, with drummer Kenny Washington, who is good even if he doesn’t seem to have the same chemistry with Jamal that Idris Muhammad seems to; rock solid bassist James Cammack, now with Jamal for 26 years; and percussionist Manolo Badrena, who uses bird calls, whirling noisemakers, tiny Chinese chimes, and a light touch on the tambourine to create an exotic soundscape that adds to the whole kind of the same way the bass does. If you close your eyes, you might not hear everything Badrena does, but if he stopped, there’d be something vital missing.


Hidden Treasure - LA Public Library photo archive

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Just now, I asked my colleague Michael Roe to give me a random word. "Superpower," he replied, and that's how we got the picture above, an electrical experiment at the Cal Tech's High-Potential Laboratory in 1925.

It comes to you through one of LA's treasures, the huge searchable photo archive of the LA Public Library. Go to that site, click on "browse the photo collection," and you can travel back in time. Whether you're a tourist or looking for something specific, you'll always come across something you've never seen before, something that illuminates LA's long-ago past or even the near past.

The photos are gathered from all over. They include much of Gary Leonard's vast library, shots by now-City Councilman Tom LaBonge, and documentary and newspaper photographers back to the turn of the (other) century, and the extensive Herald-Examiner newspaper collection. We've used photos from the LAPL collection to make the Off-Ramp website shine since we started the show in 2006.