Off-Ramp for April 24, 2010

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Arrivederci, Maestro!

UPDATE 4-27-2010: Alan Rich, the dean of the classical music critics, died Friday in his sleep at the age of 85. He could be crusty and impatient, but he was always relevant and never boring, and I'm sorry he only appeared on Off-Ramp once: When I was looking for someone to put Esa-Peka Salonen into perspective last year, he was the perfect choice. He welcomed me into his house on the West Side, and was gracious and friendly -- even when my batteries died midway through the interview and we had to start again. RIP, Alan Rich, and thanks. -- John Rabe
As Esa-Pekka Salonen concludes his tenure as the music director of the LA Philharmonic, John Rabe talks to classical music critic Alan Rich about an end of an era.
Tom Hanks has been a big KPCC supporter for years, and gladly agreed to attend a KPCC donor event on the West Side this week to show his love of the station. He also agreed to let me interview him at the event. The only thing we kept off-limits -- in a wide ranging interview about World War Two, Abe Lincoln, "Philadelphia," and the extent to which KPCC invades his checkbook -- were the shooting locations for his upcoming movie, "Larry Crowne," starring Hanks and featuring another KPCC supporter, George Takei.
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This week, we talk about where kids are with technology and then where many of our public schools are. Check out the Tetris video and the skateboard-keyboard at CyberFrequencies.
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Friends and admirers of the late LAPD chief Daryl Gates may think I’m piling on by adding more negatives to the former chief’s history, but it’s not journalism’s job to be respectful. It’s our job to fill-in the picture when it matters. And what journalist David Cay Johnston has to say about Gates matters. Johnston -- no conspiracy blogger but a Pulitzer and Polk winner -- makes a convincing case that Gates ran a local and international spy organization that he used to prevent politicians and publishers from going after him or the department. COME INSIDE for a link to his article in LA Observed.
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80 years ago, the story of the Papin sisters took France by storm. They were white slaves to an upper class family, and it drove them to murder. Playwright Wendy Kesselman wrote “My Sister in This House,” a play based on the sisters’ story, in 1982. Now, with the help of director Michael Unger, she has adapted the script for a non-hearing audience at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood. KPCC’s Steve Julian met with Unger, the deaf actresses, and their speaking counterparts. COME INSIDE for details and a transcript of Steve's story.
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In 1983, KPCC Washington correspondent Kitty Felde was enrolled in a Santa Monica College sportscasting class (she was hoping to win a job at KABC). One assignment was to write to a sportscaster and ask for an interview. She wrote to Vin Scully, who by then had been broadcasting the Dodgers for more than 30 years. COME INSIDE for an unexpected picture of the Dodger great, and Kitty's notes to me on the interview.

Shirley Jahad Tests Mitsubishi's electric iMiev

A big part of the green revolution is the coming-of-age for the electric car. In the next couple of years, consumers will have several electric vehicles to choose from. KPCC’s Shirley Jahad is one of the first people in the country to drive a prototype Mitsubishi electric iMiev.
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