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!)
“No blue skies and no green grass” is animator Genndy Tartakovsky’s rule for "Samurai Jack." He tells us about bringing back the wandering samurai (right) for Adult Swim. ... Meet jazz singer Donna Fuller, a sultry contralto who made two albums that are now eBay gold. ... It would be enough if we went to the shop where they make custom limousines and hearses, but they also make custom hunting trucks Middle East potentates use when they hunt with their falcons.
The remarkable George Takei gets the whole hour. We get an exclusive preview of JANM's new George Takei exhibit, talk with George himself about his life and times and his new role in the Sondheim musical “Pacific Overtures,” hear from "To Be Takei's" director that George is NOT a performer at heart (WTF?!), and hear George and John Rabe sing. Maybe. If there's time.
Angels Flight to be back by Labor Day ... Back when cops weren’t supposed to smoke in uniform, and when a stolen car might be traced by the make of its battery or speedometer ... A Hammer show on an artist overshadowed by Pollack, De Kooning, and Rothko. (Photo: LA Public Library's Security Pacific National Bank Collection)
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