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!)
It all happens in John's car: Tom Petty's keyboardist, Benmont Tench and his Casio get in the back seat to play a very Off-Rampy song ... Queena Kim conducts a creativity masterclass ... Food writer Russ Parsons brings pie ... Charles Phoenix & Chris Nichols on the joys of getting lost in SoCal ... And Mayor Garcetti challenges John to a backgammon game. (PHOTO: On old off-ramp from the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Credit: John Rabe)
On the second to last episode: an expert on relics, mummies, crypts, and the way we live with death ... KPCC's Matt Bloom looks at the fungal disease killing LA's ficus trees ... The amazing career of Ruth Batchelor: founder of the LA Film Critics Association and songwriter for Elvis ... Lou Adler on the 50th anniversary the Monterey Pop Music Festival ... And Off-Ramp's last producer remembers the first time ever he heard our show. (Image: John Rabe)
We sample astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson's talk last weekend at the Aero Theatre, including his top StarTalk guests ... For Trans Pride: punk singer Drew Arriola Sands, whose career took off after she transitioned ... The California African American Museum's "The Evanesced," inspired by a notorious South LA serial killer, celebrates black women's lives. ... Hank Rosenfeld's card to his late father. We'll hear a poignant Father's Day card from contributor Hank Rosenfeld. Hank plays tape of him and his late father – a World War Two vet and shoe store magnate - driving around their hometown, talking about life.
Brian Henson pays tribute to his dad Jim's bawdier side in "Puppet Up! Uncensored" ... the new book "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone" ... A restaurant where you're served by our robot overlords ... We talk with the dancing homeless Crenshaw Cowboy by his spaceship ... And rescuing The Formosa Cafe, a piece of Hollywood history. (Photo: Cypress Park, June 2017. John Rabe)
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