A weekly look at Southern California life covering news, arts and culture, and more. Hosted by John Rabe

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Downtown LA's Winery & Phil Spector's Agony and Ecstasy - Off-Ramp for 8/21/2010

Segments From This Episode

Phil Spector doc director Vikram Jayanti

The American Cinematheque shows the new documentary "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector" Thursday through next Wednesday (8/19-8/25). (FOR SHOWTIMES AND TICKETS, COME INSIDE).

Filmmaker Vikram Jayanti ("When We We Were Kings") talks with Off-Ramp host John Rabe about his approach: letting Phil Spector, his music, and the murder trial speak for itself.

These are the long and short versions of the interview; the short one will be broadcast this weekend on Off-Ramp.

Volunteers put on La Gioconda opera with heart

For 39 years now, volunteers have been putting on operas at the Casa Italiana Cultural Center next to St Peter's Italian Church, one of the last remnants of LA's Little Italy. This Sunday, the Casa Italiana Opera company does "La Gioconda," preceded by a five-course Italian feast. Off-Ramp's John Rabe talked with members of the company, including Phyllis Elliott, who is directing this production.

Call 1-800-595-4849 for tickets or come inside for a link to the company's website.

Above, cast and musicians rehearse the first act of the Amilcare Ponchielli opera, set in Venice. (Credit: John Rabe)

COME INSIDE for a "La Gioconda" trivia question.

Sit'n'Sleep's Shtick Switch Swings Sales

Why is this man (business writer Mark Lacter) smiling? He just got a good night's sleep and did an interview with Off-Ramp's John Rabe about Sit'n'Sleep. After a dip in revenue, the mattress store switched ad strategies, retiring longtime harried accountant Irwin.
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Steve Riboli tours Rabe through his family's San Antonio Winery, which has made it more than 90 years through wars, Prohibition, recessions and a Depression, not to mention the Great California Wine Revolution.
"100,000 years ago, someone made a humble sketch on a flat rock with a burnt stick. And the art of drawing — the parent of painting, architecture and sculpture -- was born. But it didn’t grow up until much more recently." Marc Haefele reviews the Getty exhibit, "From Line to Light: Renaissance Drawing in Florence and Venice."

Editor's note: Why does the Getty, with all its money, need to follow the crowd and put a colon in every exhibit title. I should hold a seminar called, "The Colon: its Use and Mis-Use in Academic Nomenclature." -- John

(Image: Vittore Carpaccio, c. 1500. Accession No. 91.GG.38. Getty Museum.)

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LA Record talks with latin rockers Chicano Batman

Local band Chicano Batman, yes that's their real name, formed just a couple years ago but have a sound that spans decades and continents: Brazilian tropicalia, Mexican cumbia, Chilean funk, even American psychedelia.
Dinner Party Download with Brendan Newnam and Rico Gagliano, who are also "regular guys."

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