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!)
Granted, the homeless make it hard to run a business near downtown LA’s Skid Row. But one man’s solution is raising eyebrows: spraying water on the sidewalk overnight. ... One of the local pianists in The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is already famous as the Video Game Pianist on YouTube. ... Richard Simmons has gone from being the most accessible celebrity in LA to gone. A new podcast “Missing Richard Simmons" asks what happened. ... And we visit Beth Goodnight -- self-proclaimed "mad scientist" of set building -- to see the last of her Oscar sets before they’re sent off for this weekend’s show.
Director Ava DuVernay on her new documentary about the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which banned slavery ... Backstage with La Santa Cecilia, a Grammy-winning L.A. band that tells modern stories with traditional music ... Frank Romero — interviewed by Cheech Marin — finally has his first major museum retrospective ... Another date that "lives in infamy:” when FDR ordered the imprisonment of 120-thousand Japanese-Americans 75 years ago this weekend ... Girl at the White Horse, a brand new cocktail bar at Sunset and Western, owned by the son of the Shah of Iran’s social secretary.
We spend a day with the California Wildlife Center in Malibu, which rescues all kinds of animals, but this time of year helps the growing number of sea lions that strand themselves on the beach ... Marc Haefele applauds a new program that has LACMA putting on exhibits in other museums around the Southland ... The Blue Whale, now one of Southern California’s hippest spots for live jazz ... How to celebrate Valentine’s Day without paying a fortune for a fixed-price meal.
The voice of Homer Simpson, Dan Castellaneta (RIGHT), is also a serious writer and his new play explores the inner life of one of the last century’s most intriguing talents: Oscar Levant. ... Off-Ramp commentator Dylan Brody has finally -- FINALLY -- sold one of his comedy specials. ... And we’ll take you to a tiny thrift store that’s been supporting the work of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic for almost 20 years.
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