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!)
We talk with residents, eyewitnesses, about those dark days ... Journalist Joe Domanick tells us how decades of police brutality - including hundreds of police murders of blacks and Latinos - led to the LA Riots, and he assesses how far the LAPD has come ... How former Mayor James Hahn could have been Reginald Denny ... Why one yougn Latina who lived through the LA Riots is still happy to call South LA “home" ... and Peter Sagal tells Off-Ramp about his bizarre chance meeting with Chief Gates. And we hear in-depth from the man who was reluctantly at the center of the riots, the late Rodney King.
It’s an 8-foot chicken with the head of Big Boy, and it’s on San Fernando Road in Glassell Park … staring at you. We track down the artist. ... LA State Historic Park reopens this weekend; was it worth the 3-year wait? Maybe so ... We'll meet one of the people who brought Southwest Native Bird Singing creation stories back from the brink of extinction.
Ed Asner tells us what his autistic son and grandsons have taught him ... We to go Disney Hall and sample the sound during an actual concert from all the performers’ perspectives. Surprise: the people with the best seats … are in the audience. ... Meet Carol Downer of Eagle Rock, a pioneering abortion rights activist who championed a less invasive abortion procedure that could be performed at home, by the woman’s friends ... We hear a tribute to a man who had it made, and gave it all up: writer Roy Battocchio.
Local jazz legend Barbara Morrison celebrates the 100th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, and gives a master class in scatting ... The band That Dog influenced bands like Weezer, so how come you haven't heard of them? That Dog's “Retreat From the Sun” turns 20 this year. ... We’ll ride the elevator with LA’s last elevator operator, Ruben Pardo ... and we’ll visit Wondercon with KPCC’s Mike Roe to talk with one of the guys who did special effects for “Logan.”
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