Bright Lights, Big City - Off-Ramp for May 21, 2011

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For more than a decade, the large sign over Highland Park’s only movie theater was hard to see at night. A ceremony recently shed light on the neighborhood’s resurgence.
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Colleen Bates hosts another episode of EatLA, checking out a Neapolitan pizza joint and talking with LA Magazine's (James Beard Award-winning) Patric Kuh about the top Chinese restaurants in LA. Plus, Jenn Garbee on the problem with "underground" restaurants.
Hard Times: Done Fighting The Fight

Hard Times: Monty Phillips and Kai Schmoll

Here's another installment of our Hard Times series, where Off-Ramp talks to everyday people and ask them how they're faring, since the recession ended, supposedly. This time, Kevin Ferguson talks with a Mt Washington couple whose plans have changed drastically: they've lost their jobs, possibly their house, but that might not be a bad thing.
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On December 17, a Tunisian street vendor set himself alight and sparked protests that engulfed the Middle East. Six months and six countries later, the Arab Spring has swept from Tunisia to Cairo. And to California. The majority of California's nearly quarter-million Arab Americans live in the Southland. That portion alone is more than in any other U.S. state. KPCC found out what it's like for them to watch a revolution from 8,000 miles away. It's our Arab Spring in the Southland project, check it out, and CLICK THROUGH to see a video.
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CyberFrequencies takes a highly skeptical look at Google’s Chrome Netbook, which saves your data remotely, and the company’s proposal for self-driving cars in Nevada.
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For the next month, psychiatrists will evaluate a 10-year-old Riverside boy accused of murdering his father. Authorities say the young boy confessed to the killing during an interview with detectives.
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UPDATE 5-20-2011: The Theatricum Botanicum, a 3-hundred seat outdoor amphitheater nestled in unspoiled Topanga Canyon, opens its season the first weekend of June with two Shakespeare plays - The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night's Dream. They'll be joined over the summer by four other plays in repertory. The Theatricum Botanicum was founded by noted actor and liberal Will Geer, and it's still run by his daughter Ellen Geer. The plays are just part of the story. Thousands of schoolkids also come to the compound every year on field trips, to learn about the stage and stagecraft. Here's a piece from the Off-Ramp archives.

Steve Julian Makes It Easy

As a journalist and host, it's my job to generalize from the specific, and often to generalize from the personally specific, so: Every time I go to a local theatre production, I say to myself, "Self, that was good! I need to do this more often." Then, it takes me months to get out again, and I repeat the whole process. Since I'm not an extrordinary person, I'm going to assume, like me, that a reasonable amount of you need a kick in the pants to see more local theatre.
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In 1900, in the last months of Queen Victoria's reign, a young man from Indiana published "Sister Carrie,” a book that blew away the Victorian literary era. The man was Theodore Dreiser. Off-Ramp literary commentator Marc Haefele says he was the greatest author ever to live in Los Angeles.
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