Will Ryan, leader of the Cactus County Cowboys, calls their brand of music "Cowboy Skiffle." They entertained Mickey Rooney, Margaret O'Brien, Rose Marie, and the rest of the crowd at the Southern California Motion Picture Council's annual holiday banquet, but Off-Ramp host John Rabe got a special preview as they were warming up. In this iteration, Ryan -- the voice of Tigger for 16 years -- is joined by Westy Westenhofer, John "Presto" Reynolds, "Chaparall Katie" Cavera, "Buckaroo Benny" Brydern, and "Cactus Chloe" Feoranzo.
Margaret O'Brien -- "Journey for Margaret," "Meet Me in St Louis," "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" -- was one of the biggest stars of her time. But Hollywood didn't believe that a delightful, spunky, preternaturally talented child actor could make it as an adult. But O'Brien, who turns 75 on January 15, is still as smart, fun, and youthful (she wears diamonds in her nose piercing!) as she ever was. Off-Ramp host John Rabe spoke with her at the annual holiday banquet of the Southern California Motion Picture Council, one of O'Brien's favorite causes.
1/7/2012 UPDATE: The LA Zoo is celebrating Betty White's 90th birthday this month with a cake for the first 900 people through the gate and a special scavenger hunt. Betty won't be there; she's too busy! We taped this interview last summer. It's true, and when she's petting the tapir, she's thinking about the koala, and possibly the elephant. Betty White, America's sweetheart and author of the memoir "If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)," talks with KPCC's John Rabe about the LA Zoo (and its upcoming Beastly Ball fundraiser), acting in "Advise and Consent" under Otto Preminger, and about looking like a grandma.
UPDATE: The state of California may close Los Encinos State Historic Park, at Balboa and Ventura Blvd. in Encino, once "the hub of human habitation in the Southern San Fernando Valley," because it doesn't make enough money. No, it's not a moneymaker, but it's tranquil, fun, and rich in history. Off-Ramp talked with local historian Kevin Roderick about the park a few years ago.
When the alleged Hollywood arsonist was arrested this past Monday, the man responsible was reserve Sheriff’s deputy Shervin Lalezary. A Beverly Hills based lawyer by day who—for all his hard work for LA County, makes just one dollar a year in compensation. That got KPCC’s Kevin Ferguson wondering: how does that work?
Last October, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry delivered a bizarre speech in New Hampshire during which he bounced on his heels, giggled, and struggled to stay on point. Many people thought that he was drunk, and the claims became so widespread that Perry had to publicly deny them. But short of going back in time and taking a blood sample, there was no way to be sure. That is, until a team of researchers from USC came along.
Conceptual art is as much, or more, about the process of experiencing (making, looking at, thinking about, documenting) art as the art object itself. And SoCal, not weighed down by the strictures and structures of the art establishment, was a hotbed of conceptual art. It's the focus of the Orange County Museum of Art's Pacific Standard Time entry, State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970. Off-Ramp host John Rabe talked with artist Al Ruppersberg, a surprise guest, and OCMA's co-curator, Karen Moss. (The exhibit closes January 22d, so go see it now!)
“Dark Shadows” fans, cast, and crew are celebrating its 50th birthday next week in Hollywood. We mark the anniversary by bringing in one of the original stars, and one of the original fans. ... When LAPD officer Jorge Parra isn’t walking the beat in LA, he’s still thinking about the city’s streets and buildings. He’s spent years building a 72-square-foot model of LA, out of Legos, in his kitchen. ... We’ll tell you what researchers discovered about the best way to increase voter turnout: voters need to make a simple plan, tell someone about it, and then think what their neighbors will say if they don’t go to the polls.
John talks with 35-year old Chris Thile, who takes over as the new host of A Prairie Home Companion this weekend and hopes to bring in a younger audience, without scaring off older listeners. ... Anthony Hernandez: taking pictures for almost 50 years: Downtown LA in the ‘70s, Rodeo Drive in the ‘80s, the homeless in the ‘90s. ... For KPCC's Voter Game Plan, Meghan McCarty tells us how she’s helping voters understand the complex Measure R transportation tax. ... Meet an Armenian-Syrian college student from Damascus juggling a full time job, night school, and the torture of knowing what his family is going through back home.
KPCC photog Maya Sugarman lets a king snake slither around her neck, and John lets a reasonably friendly tarantula crawl up his arm ... It’s done by hand, is quite painful, and is very expensive. We'll take you to a Garden Grove shop that is one of the few places in the US approved by one of the ruling Samoan tattoo families ... John brings in pop culture experts to evaluate the new Godzilla reboot, "Shin Godzilla," which sets the Godzilla story in modern-day Japan .... The story of Bobbi Bratt, a punk rocker from Southern California whose life was cut short by cancer almost thirty years ago.
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